Osteochondral autologous transplantation for the treatment of full-thickness articular cartilage defects of the shoulder

J Bone Joint Surg Br. 2004 Sep;86(7):991-7. doi: 10.1302/0301-620x.86b7.14941.


We performed eight osteochondral autologous transplantations from the knee joint to the shoulder. All patients (six men, two women; mean age 43.1 years) were documented prospectively. In each patient the stage of the osteochondral lesion was Outerbridge grade IV with a mean size of the affected area of 150 mm2. All patients were assessed by using the Constant score for the shoulder and the Lysholm score for the knee. Standard radiographs, magnetic resonance imaging and second-look arthroscopy were used to assess the presence of glenohumeral osteoarthritis and the integrity of the grafts. After a mean of 32.6 months (8 to 47), the mean Constant score increased significantly. Magnetic resonance imaging revealed good osseointegration of the osteochondral plugs and congruent articular cartilage at the transplantation site in all but one patient. Second-look arthroscopy performed in two cases revealed a macroscopically good integration of the autograft with an intact articular surface. Osteochondral autologous transplantation in the shoulder appears to offer good clinical results for treating full-thickness osteochondral lesions of the glenohumeral joint. However, our study suggests that the development of osteoarthritis and the progression of pre-existing osteoarthritic changes cannot be altered by this technique.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Arthroscopy
  • Bone Transplantation / methods*
  • Cartilage, Articular / surgery
  • Cartilage, Articular / transplantation*
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Graft Survival
  • Humans
  • Joint Instability / complications
  • Joint Instability / surgery*
  • Knee Joint / surgery
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Osteoarthritis / etiology
  • Osteoarthritis / prevention & control
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Shoulder Injuries
  • Shoulder Joint / surgery*
  • Treatment Outcome