Patients with advanced lateral osteoarthritis can return to sports and work after distraction arthroplasty plus lateral meniscal allograft transplantation combined with cartilage repair

Knee Surg Sports Traumatol Arthrosc. 2022 Jun;30(6):1990-2002. doi: 10.1007/s00167-022-06864-0. Epub 2022 Feb 14.


Purpose: This study aimed to report return to sports (RTS) and return to work (RTW) outcomes after distraction arthroplasty (DA) plus lateral meniscal allograft transplantation (MAT) combined with cartilage repair in active patients with advanced osteoarthritis. It was hypothesised that DA combined with lateral MAT would improve clinical and radiological outcomes and enable RTS and RTW for most patients.

Methods: In total, 21 patients with advanced osteoarthritis (moderate to severe joint space narrowing at lateral edge on Rosenberg view and large cartilage defect of lateral femoral condyle) who underwent concomitant DA and MAT were retrospectively reviewed. Clinical outcomes were assessed using subjective knee scores [Lysholm score, International Knee Documentation Committee (IKDC) subjective knee score, and Tegner activity scale (TAS)] and functional tests (isokinetic extensor muscle strength test, single-leg vertical jump test, and single-leg hop for distance test). The rates of RTS, RTW, and satisfaction were evaluated. Radiological outcomes were assessed using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and X-ray (Rosenberg view).

Results: The mean age at surgery and mean follow-up duration were 37.2 ± 5.9 years and 37.1 ± 5.4 months, respectively. All improvements in subjective scores were statistically significant (p < 0.001). The Lysholm score improved from 58.3 ± 8.1 to 84.3 ± 8.2, the IKDC subjective score from 53.9 ± 10.4 to 78.0 ± 7.7, and the TAS from 4.0 ± 0.5 to 5.1 ± 0.8. The limb symmetry index (LSI) (%) of the extensor peak torque at an angular velocity of 60°/s improved from 67.3 ± 19.2 to 88.4 ± 20.3% (p = 0.001). The LSI of the single-leg vertical jump test and single-leg hop for distance test improved from 62.8 ± 21.3 to 87.7 ± 19.5% and from 63.9 ± 20.8 to 85.5 ± 18.1%, respectively (all, p < 0.001). All patients were able to return to any sports activity and work. However, 67% and 90.5% returned to their defined or desired level of sports activity and occupation intensity, respectively. Further, 76.2% were very satisfied or somewhat satisfied with the outcome at the last follow-up. The JSW increased by 0.8 ± 0.4 to 2.3 ± 0.6 mm (p = 0.005). In more than 90% of patients, > 50% of cartilage lesion was covered. The mean graft extrusion was 2.6 ± 1.0 mm.

Conclusion: All patients who underwent distraction arthroplasty plus lateral MAT combined with cartilage repair returned to any sports and work at the last follow-up. Significant improvements in clinical outcomes and the radiographic joint space width were observed. However, the activity ability was somewhat reduced compared with the best preoperative level. This one-stage joint salvage treatment is a promising option for young and active patients with advanced OA who wish to return to high levels of sports activity and occupation intensity (≥ Tegner activity scale 4).

Level of evidence: III.

Keywords: Cartilage repair; Joint distraction; Knee osteoarthritis; Meniscal allograft transplantation; Return to sports; Return to work.

MeSH terms

  • Allografts
  • Arthroplasty
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Knee Joint / surgery
  • Menisci, Tibial / surgery
  • Menisci, Tibial / transplantation
  • Osteoarthritis* / surgery
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Return to Sport*
  • Treatment Outcome