Purpose: to verify the capability of scaffold-supported bone marrow-derived cells to be used in the repair of osteochondral lesions of the talus.
Methods: using a device to concentrate bone marrow-derived cells, a scaffold (collagen powder or hyaluronic acid membrane) for cell support and platelet gel, a one-step arthroscopic technique was developed for cartilage repair. In a prospective clinical study, we investigated the ability of this technique to repair talar osteochondral lesions in 64 patients. The mean follow-up was 53 months. Clinical results were evaluated using the American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society (AOFAS) scale score. We also considered the influence of scaffold type, lesion area, previous surgery, and lesion depth.
Results: the mean preoperative AOFAS scale score was 65.2 ± 13.9. The clinical results peaked at 24 months, before declining gradually to settle at a score of around 80 at the maximum follow-up of 72 months.
Conclusions: the use of bone marrow-derived cells supported by scaffolds to repair osteochondral lesions of the talus resulted in significant clinical improvement, which was maintained over time.
Level of evidence: level IV, therapeutic case series.
Keywords: bone marrow-derived cells; cartilage; osteochondral defect; repair; talus.