Knee Surgery, Sports Traumatology, Arthroscopy

, Volume 26, Issue 12, pp 3560–3565 | Cite as

Favourable long-term functional and radiographical outcome after osteoautograft transplantation surgery of the knee: a minimum 10-year follow-up

  • Elina EkmanEmail author
  • Keijo Mäkelä
  • Ia Kohonen
  • Ari Hiltunen
  • Ari Itälä



The aim of this study was to assess the progression of radiological cartilage changes and to document the functional, long-term results during a follow-up of 10 years after osteoautograft transplantation (OAT) knee surgery.


The study was a retrospective analysis of all patients who underwent OAT at Turku University Hospital from 1999 to 2007. Pre- and postoperative cartilage changes were estimated based on standardised radiographs. The extent of osteoarthritis (OA) was graded according to the Kellgren–Lawrence scale. Clinical outcomes were evaluated with the Knee Injury and Osteoarthritis Outcome Score (KOOS) questionnaire.


A total of 60 patients (64 knees) with a median age of 30 years (range 14–62) were included. The median follow-up was 140 months (range 47–205). Of the 64 knees examined, 14 (22%) had a traumatic chondral lesion and 50 (78%) had osteochondritis dissecans (OCD). Preoperatively, 71% of the patients had Kellgren–Lawrence grades of 0–1; during the follow-up period, 50% of the patients showed radiographical progression of OA. OA progressed most significantly in patients with normal preoperative Kellgren–Lawrence grades (p = 0.0003). Patients with no progression in joint space narrowing had statistically significantly better overall KOOS (p = 0.02) than patients whose Kellgren–Lawrence grades worsened. Patients with defect sizes > 3.0 cm2 scored statistically significantly better in all subscales than patients with smaller defect sizes (p = 0.02). Patients with OCD had statistically significantly better KOOS than patients with chondral defects (p = 0.008).


OAT surgery for treating patients with cartilage defects of the knee had good clinical results after a mean follow-up of 11 years. Radiological analyses revealed a progression of cartilage degeneration in 50% of the operated knees. Patients with no progression of the degenerative changes scored statistically significantly better on the KOOS self-assessment test. These results indicate that OAT surgery appears to be a reasonable therapeutic option to restore knee function in patients with cartilage lesions.

Level of evidence



Osteoautograft transplantation Knee Cartilage Osteoarthritis 


Author contributions

AI designed and coordinated the study and helped to draft the manuscript. EE collected the data, drafted the manuscript and studied the patients’ X-rays. IK studied the patients’ X-rays and MRIs. KM, AH, AI and EE contributed to the interpretation of the data and results and to the preparation of the manuscript. All the authors read and approved the final manuscript.


This research received no specific grant from any funding agency in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Ethical approval

Regional Ethical Review Board approval was obtained from the Regional Ethical Review Board in Turku (Dnro TO1/003/14) prior to initiation of this study.


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Copyright information

© European Society of Sports Traumatology, Knee Surgery, Arthroscopy (ESSKA) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Turku University HospitalUniversity of TurkuTurkuFinland
  2. 2.Medical Imaging Centre of Southwest FinlandTurku University HospitalTurkuFinland
  3. 3.Department of OrthopaedicsTerveystalo-Pulssi HospitalTurkuFinland

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