To investigate the long-term clinical outcomes of cartilage repair in the knee with a hyaluronic acid-based scaffold embedded with bone marrow aspirate concentrate (HA-BMAC) for the treatment of full-thickness cartilage injury.
Study design: Case series; Level of evidence, 4.
Patients underwent treatment of full-thickness chondral injury in the knee with HA-BMAC and were followed prospectively for a minimum of 6 years. Clinical outcomes were examined with patient-reported scoring instruments that consisted of the Tegner Activity Scale, International Knee Documentation Committee (IKDC) subjective score, visual analog scale, and Knee injury and Osteoarthritis Outcome Score (KOOS). Comparative analysis of pre- and postoperative scores was performed, and the effects of patient age, body mass index, lesion size, number of treated lesions, and concurrent treatment with associated procedures were examined.
Twenty-three patients (mean age, 48.5 years) were followed prospectively for a mean 8 years (range, 6-10 years). Median cartilage lesion size was 6.5 cm2 (range, 2-27 cm2). At final follow-up, median Tegner, visual analog scale, and IKDC subjective scores were 4, 0.3, and 85, respectively. Final median KOOS subset scores were as follows: Pain, 94; Symptoms, 89; Activities of Daily Living, 99; Sports/Recreation, 85; and Quality of Life, 85. All scores were significantly increased at final follow-up ( P < .001). Comparable median outcome scores were demonstrated after categorization of patients by age, lesion size, treatment of multiple lesions, treatment of multiple knee compartments, and treatment by associated procedures. Rank correlation analysis demonstrated a negative correlation between patient age and final outcome scores of the IKDC, Tegner, and KOOS subsets of Pain, Activities of Daily Living, and Sports/Recreation. No associations were identified between body mass index or lesion size and outcome scores.
Repair of full-thickness cartilage injury in the knee with a HA-BMAC provides good to excellent clinical outcomes at long-term follow-up in the treatment of small to large lesions. Cartilage repair with HA-BMAC leads to comparatively successful long-term outcomes in the treatment of small or large lesions, single or multiple lesions, and lesions in 1 or 2 compartments, as well as in cases of associated lesion treatment. While good outcomes can be expected among treated patients >45 years of age, outcomes may be comparatively more successful in younger patients.
Keywords: articular cartilage; biologic scaffold; bone marrow aspirate concentrate; knee; platelet-rich plasma; stem cell therapy.