Treatment of deep cartilage defects of the patella with periosteal transplantation


Twenty-six consecutive patients (19 men and 7 women) with a mean age of 31.5 years (range 19–52 years) who suffered from an isolated full-thickness cartilage defect of the patella (area ranged from 0.75 to 20.0 cm2) and disabling knee pain were treated with autologous periosteal transplantation (without any chondrocytes). The duration of symptoms was 59 months (range 11–144 months). During the first 5 postoperative days all patients were treated with continuous passive motion (CPM). This was followed by active motion, slowly progressive strength training, and slowly progressive weight-bearing. After a mean follow-up of 42 months (range 24–76 months), 17 patients (65%) were graded as excellent (were painfree), 8 patients (31%) as good (had pain with strenous knee-loading activities), and 1 patient as poor (had pain at rest). Twenty-two patients (85%) had returned to their previous occupation. Twelve patients (46%) had resumed sports or recreational activities at their former level. Repeated magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) investigations showed progressive, and finally complete, filling of the articular defects. Biopsies taken in five randomly selected cases showed hyaline-like cartilage. Patients with full-thickness cartilage defects of the patella and disabling knee pain can be treated with autologous periosteal transplantation (without any chondrocytes), followed by CPM, and slowly progressive strength training and weight-bearing. We believe this is a good method to accomplish regeneration of articular cartilage and satisfactory clinical results.

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Received: 25 March 1998 Accepted: 14 April 1998

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Lorentzon, R., Alfredson, H. & Hildingsson, C. Treatment of deep cartilage defects of the patella with periosteal transplantation. Knee Surgery 6, 202–208 (1998).

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  • Key words Cartilage defect
  • Patella
  • Pain
  • Periosteum
  • Transplantation