Purpose: There is no ideal treatment for younger patients with medial knee osteoarthritis (OA) and varus malalignment. We have investigated the first case series of combined neutralising high tibial osteotomy (HTO) and Matrix-induced Autologous Chondrocyte Implantation (MACI) with MRI. Treatment goals were clinical improvement and delay of arthroplasty.
Methods: Between 2002 and 2005 18 patients (Mean age 47 years) underwent surgery. Exclusion criteria were lateral compartment and advanced patellofemoral OA. The Knee Injury and Osteoarthritis Outcome Score (KOOS), six minute walk test (6MWT) and a validated MRI score were outcome measures.
Results: There were significant improvements (p<0.05) in all five KOOS domains. Four were significantly maintained to 5 years. The domain "symptoms" and results in the 6MWT dropped off at 5 years. MRI results were first significantly improved (24/12) but declined at 60 months. Good quality infill was found in 33% patients at the study endpoint (n=5/15). Histological investigation of one knee demonstrated full-thickness hyaline-like cartilage (20/12). After 2 early failures and one graft detachment graft fixation was changed (Smart nails instead of sutures in 14 cases). Graft hypertrophy requiring a chondroplasty occurred once. There were no other major complications. Specific minor complications included patellar tendinitis (n=8).
Conclusions: This combined procedure provides a safe treatment option for younger patients with medial knee OA and varus alignment with significant clinical improvement at 5 years. However, overall graft survival and cartilage infill were poor. Larger studies are needed to statistically verify predictors for longer term cartilage repair in these patients.
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