Abstract

Articular cartilage in adults has a poor ability to self-repair after a substantial injury; however, it is not known whether there is a cartilage resurfacing technique superior to the existing techniques. It is not satisfactory that at the beginning of the new millennium, there still is a lack of randomized studies comparing different cartilage repair techniques and there still is little knowledge of the natural course of a cartilaginous lesion. To date, various articular cartilage resurfacing techniques have the potential to improve the repair of cartilage defects and reduce the patient’s disability. One such cartilage repair technique is autologous chondrocyte transplantation combined with a periosteal graft. Since the first patient was operated on in 1987, much interest in cartilage repair and cell engineering has emerged. The experience with autologous chondrocyte transplantation during the past 13 years with in vitro chondrocyte expansion, cartilage harvest, and postoperative biopsy technique is discussed, and the latest followup of 213 consecutive patients in different subgroups with 2 to 10 years followup is presented. The technique gives stable long-term results with a high percentage of good to excellent results (84%-90%) in patients with different types of single femoral condyle lesions, whereas patients with other types of lesions have a lower degree of success (mean, 74%).

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