Biological Knee Reconstruction With Concomitant Autologous Chondrocyte Implantation and Meniscal Allograft Transplantation: Mid- to Long-term Outcomes

Orthop J Sports Med. 2016 Oct 19;4(10):2325967116668490. doi: 10.1177/2325967116668490. eCollection 2016 Oct.


Background: Treating articular cartilage defects and meniscal deficiency is challenging. Although some short- to mid-term follow-up studies report good clinical outcomes after concurrent autologous chondrocyte implantation (ACI) and meniscal allograft transplantation (MAT), longer follow-up is needed.

Purpose: To evaluate mid- to long-term outcomes after combined ACI with MAT.

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

Methods: We performed a retrospective review of prospectively gathered data from patients who had undergone ACI with MAT between 1999 and 2013. A single surgeon treated 18 patients for symptomatic full-thickness chondral defects with meniscal deficiency. One patient was lost to follow-up. Thus, 17 patients (18 knees; mean age, 31.7 years) were evaluated over a mean 7.9-year follow-up (range, 2-16 years). A mean 1.8 lesions per knee were treated over a total surface area of 7.6 cm2 (range, 2.3-21 cm2) per knee. Seventeen lateral and 1 medial MATs were performed. Survival was analyzed using the Kaplan-Meier method. The modified Cincinnati Knee Rating Scale, Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index, visual analog scale, and Short Form-36 were used to evaluate clinical outcomes. Patients also self-reported knee function and satisfaction. Standard radiographs were scored for Kellgren-Lawrence (K-L) grade.

Results: Both 5- and 10-year survival rates were 75%. Outcomes for 6 knees were considered failures. Of the 6 failures, 4 knees were converted to arthroplasty and the other 2 knees underwent biological revision surgery. Of the 12 successfully operated knees, all clinical measures significantly improved postoperatively. Ten patients representing 11 of the 12 knees rated outcomes for their knees as good or excellent, and 1 rated their outcome as fair. Eight patients representing 9 of the 12 knees were satisfied with the procedure. There was no significant osteoarthritis progression based on K-L grading from preoperatively to a mean 5.9 years after surgery. Seven of the 12 knees (58%) required subsequent surgical procedures (5 arthroscopic alone, 2 both arthroscopic and open).

Conclusion: Combined ACI with MAT provided significant improvement in 65% of the operated knees over a mid- to long-term follow-up. This procedure can allow patients to retain their biological knees, delay or prevent rapid degeneration to osteoarthritis, and could be recognized as a bridge procedure before artificial knee replacement. However, careful discussion between the patient and surgeon is necessary before surgery to ensure realistic expectations.

Keywords: autologous chondrocyte implantation; biological knee; cartilage; meniscus; meniscus allograft transplant.