Analysis of Defect Size and Ratio to Condylar Size With Respect to Outcomes After Isolated Osteochondral Allograft Transplantation

Am J Sports Med. 2019 Jun;47(7):1601-1612. doi: 10.1177/0363546519841378. Epub 2019 May 9.


Background: Osteochondral allograft transplantation (OCA) is a successful knee joint preservation technique; however, the effects of defect size and defect size:condyle ratio (DSCR) are poorly understood.

Purpose: To quantify clinical outcomes of isolated OCA of the knee based on defect size and DSCR.

Study design: Cohort study; Level of evidence, 3.

Methods: Data from patients who underwent OCA of the knee without major concomitant procedures by a single surgeon were analyzed at a minimum follow-up of 2 years. Osteochondral defect size was measured intraoperatively, and femoral condyle size was measured with preoperative imaging. Patient-reported outcomes, reoperations, and survival rates were analyzed per defect size and DSCR, comparing males and females and patients <40 and ≥40 years old.

Results: Sixty-eight patients were included, of whom 57% were male (mean ± SD: age, 34.5 ± 10.3 years; follow-up, 5.2 ± 2.6 years). Mean osteochondral defect size and DSCR were 3.48 ± 1.72 cm2 and 0.2 ± 0.1, respectively. Defect size was larger among males as compared with females (3.97 ± 1.71 cm2 vs 2.81 ± 1.16 cm2, P = .005), while DSCRs were not significantly different between sexes ( P = .609). The cohort as a whole demonstrated improvements in the following scores: Lysholm, International Knee Documentation Committee, Knee injury and Osteoarthritis Outcome Score, Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index, and 12-Item Short Form Health Survey Physical ( P < .05). There were 27 reoperations (39.7%) at a mean of 2.5 ± 1.92 years and 8 failures (11.8%) at a mean of 2.62 ± 1.3 years. Mean DCSR was higher among patients with graft failure (0.26 ± 0.20 vs 0.19 ± 0.07, P = .049). After stratification by age, failures among patients ≥40 years old were associated with a larger defect size (mean 5.37 ± 3.50 cm2 vs 3.22 ± 1.32 cm2, P = .03) and higher DSCR (mean 0.30 ± 0.25 vs 0.19 ± 0.06, P = .05) when compared with nonfailures. Failures among patients <40 years old were not significantly associated with defect size or DSCR ( P > .05) as compared with nonfailures.

Conclusion: Patients undergoing isolated OCA transplantation demonstrated significant clinical improvements and a graft survival of 88.2% at 5.2 years. Failures overall were associated with a larger DSCR, and failures among patients ≥40 years old with a larger DSCR and larger defect size. Increasing defect size among males was positively correlated with some improved outcomes, although this was not maintained in analysis of the DSCR, suggesting similar prognosis after OCA regardless of sex.

Clinical relevance: Failed osteochondral allografts are associated with larger defect sizes and defect:condyle ratios in this study, providing additional information to surgeons for appropriate patient consultation.

Keywords: allografts; articular cartilage; knee; osteochondral defect.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Allografts
  • Bone Transplantation / methods*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Femur / diagnostic imaging
  • Femur / surgery
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Graft Survival
  • Humans
  • Knee Injuries / diagnostic imaging
  • Knee Injuries / pathology
  • Knee Injuries / surgery*
  • Knee Joint / surgery*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Reported Outcome Measures
  • Prognosis
  • Radiography
  • Reoperation / statistics & numerical data
  • Sex Factors
  • Transplantation, Homologous
  • Treatment Failure
  • Young Adult