An overview of autologous chondrocyte implantation

J Bone Joint Surg Br. 2009 Aug;91(8):997-1006. doi: 10.1302/0301-620X.91B8.21824.


Chondral damage to the knee is common and, if left untreated, can proceed to degenerative osteoarthritis. In symptomatic patients established methods of management rely on the formation of fibrocartilage which has poor resistance to shear forces. The formation of hyaline or hyaline-like cartilage may be induced by implanting autologous, cultured chondrocytes into the chondral or osteochondral defect. Autologous chondrocyte implantation may be used for full-thickness chondral or osteochondral injuries which are painful and debilitating with the aim of replacing damaged cartilage with hyaline or hyaline-like cartilage, leading to improved function. The intermediate and long-term functional and clinical results are promising. We provide a review of autologous chondrocyte implantation and describe our experience with the technique at our institution with a mean follow-up of 32 months (1 to 9 years). The procedure is shown to offer statistically significant improvement with advantages over other methods of management of chondral defects.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Cartilage, Articular / surgery
  • Cartilage, Articular / transplantation*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Chondrocytes / physiology
  • Chondrocytes / transplantation*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Knee Injuries / rehabilitation*
  • Knee Injuries / surgery
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Tissue Engineering
  • Transplantation, Autologous
  • Young Adult