Third-generation autologous chondrocyte implantation after failed bone marrow stimulation leads to inferior clinical results
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Third-generation autologous chondrocyte implantation (ACI) is an established and frequently used method and successful method for the treatment of full-thickness cartilage defects in the knee. There are also an increasing number of patients with autologous chondrocyte implantation as a second-line therapy that is used after failed bone marrow stimulation in the patient’s history. The purpose of this study is to investigate the effect of previous bone marrow stimulation on subsequent autologous chondrocyte implantation therapy. In this study, the clinical results after the matrix-based autologous chondrocyte implantation in the knee in a follow-up over 3 years postoperatively were analysed.
Forty patients were included in this study. A total of 20 patients with cartilage defects of the knee were treated with third-generation autologous chondrocyte implantation (Novocart® 3D) as first-line therapy. The mean defect size was 5.4 cm2 (SD 2.6). IKDC subjective score and VAS were used for clinical evaluation after 6, 12, 24 and 36 months postoperatively. The results of these patients were compared with 20 matched patients with autologous chondrocyte implantation as second-line therapy. Matched pair analysis was performed by numbers of treated defects, defect location, defect size, gender, age and BMI.
Both the first-line (Group I) and second-line group (Group II) showed significantly better clinical results in IKDC score and VAS score in the follow-up over 3 years compared with the preoperative findings. In addition, Group I showed significantly better results in the IKDC and VAS during the whole postoperative follow-up after 6, 12, 24 and 36 months compared to Group II with second-line autologous chondrocyte implantation (IKDC 6 months p = 0.015, 1 year p = 0.001, 2 years p = 0.001, 3 years p = 0.011). Additionally, we found a lower failure rate in Group I. No revision surgery was performed in Group I. The failure rate in the second-line Group II was 30%.
This study showed that third-generation autologous chondrocyte implantation is a suitable method for the treatment of full-thickness cartilage defects. Both, Group I and Group II showed significant improvement in our follow-up. However, in comparing the results of the two groups, autologous chondrocyte implantation after failed bone marrow stimulation leads to worse clinical results.
Level of evidence
KeywordsACI Second-line therapy Cartilage
The authors declared that they have no conflicts of interest in the authorship and publication of this contribution. Prof. Müller and David Gallik have contributed equally to this article and share the first authorship.
No external funding was used.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no competing interests.
All procedures were performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1864 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.
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