Cell therapy for cartilage defects of the hip

Muscles Ligaments Tendons J. 2016 Dec 21;6(3):361-366. doi: 10.11138/mltj/2016.6.3.361. eCollection 2016 Jul-Sep.


Background: Chondral injuries are commonly related to poor clinical outcome, but recent data showed some improvements in function and pain after hip arthroscopy. Cell-based therapies represent an appealing alternative strategy for cartilage regeneration, and interesting results have been recently reported after intra-articular injections of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs). The results of hip arthroscopy for femoroacetabular impingement (FAI) and intra-articular injections of autologous expanded bone marrow - MSCs (BM-MSCs) are reported in this retrospective study.

Materials and methods: Twenty patients (29 hips) received hip arthroscopy for FAI and focal cartilage injuries or mild to moderate osteoarthrosis (OA). Three intra-articular injections of 20×106 BM-MSCs were injected from 4 to 6 weeks postoperative. The modified Harris Hip score (mHHS), the WOMAC score, the VAIL score and VAS score were administered to all patients.

Results: The mean age of the patients was 51.8 years, and the mean follow-up was 24 months. The median preoperative mHHS, WOMAC and VAIL scores were 64.3, 73 and 56.5 respectively, and they increased to 91, 97 and 83 at final follow up (p<0.05). The VAS score also improved from a median of 6 to 2. Four patients received a THA (13% of the hips) at the median of 9 months post intervention (range 6-36 months). Six patients referred pain after the injection of MSCs, which improved with oral pain killers. No major complications were reported.

Conclusion: BM-MSCc injections in combination with hip arthroscopy may improve the quality of life and functional score in patient with FAI and cartilage injuries which are still not candidate to a THA.

Level of evidence: IV case series.

Keywords: cartilage injuries; femoroacetabular impingement; hip arthroscopy; mesenchymal stem cells; osteoarthrosis; stem cells therapy.