Ability to return to sports 5 years after matrix-associated autologous chondrocyte transplantation in an average population of active patients

Am J Sports Med. 2012 Dec;40(12):2815-21. doi: 10.1177/0363546512462382. Epub 2012 Oct 29.


Background: Cartilage injuries often occur during sports activities, and return to sports after cartilage surgery is an important outcome parameter for different treatment methods in the competitive as well as the recreationally active population.

Hypothesis: At the time of midterm follow-up after matrix-associated autologous chondrocyte transplantation (MACT), return to recreational sports at the preinjury level will be possible.

Study design: Case series; Level of evidence, 4.

Methods: Seventy patients (51 men, 19 women; age [mean ± standard deviation], 34.9 ± 8.6 y; range, 18-55 y) were clinically evaluated 5 years after MACT through subjective clinical scores such as the Knee Injury and Osteoarthritis Outcome Score (KOOS) sport and recreation subscales, the Tegner activity scale, and the Noyes sports activity rating scale. The level of sports participation was included in the investigation.

Results: The results 5 years after MACT showed mean values of 60.1 for the KOOS-sport, 67.4 for the Noyes, and 3.8 for the Tegner scores, meaning that regular sports activity such as cycling or running on flat ground, as well as medium-level manual labor, is possible. We noted that 74.3% of our patients returned to at least their preinjury sports level.

Conclusion: Midterm postoperative results after MACT show that in a moderately active population, participation in regular sports is possible for most patients, at least at their preinjury recreational level and intensity, and there is a good rate of return to sports.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Cartilage / injuries
  • Chondrocytes / transplantation*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Knee Injuries / surgery*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Recovery of Function*
  • Sports / statistics & numerical data*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult