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7th Congress of the European Federation of National Associations of Orthopaedics and Traumatology, Lisbon - 4-7 June, 2005


Introduction Osteochondral lesions of the talus are a common occurrence especially in sports injuries. The biomechanical nature of the ankle joint makes it susceptible to sprains which can cause damage not only to the capsulo-ligamentous structures, but also to the joint cartilage and subchondral bone. As it is known, joint cartilage is a highly specialized and multitask tissue. Because joint cartilage has poor reparative capability, damage may be irreversible and as a consequence, can also lead to osteoarthritis. The purpose of this study is to review the results of a series of patients treated with autologous chondrocytes implantation (A.C.I.) and to describe the evolution in surgical technique that we have been implemented in the last 8 years.

Methods Thirty-nine patients with a mean age of 27 8 years affected by osteochondral lesions of the talus > 1.5 cm2, were treated by autologous chondrocyte implantation. All patients were checked clinically and by MRI up to 4 years follow-up. The first 9 patients received the ACI by open technique and the remaining 30, arthroscopically. In the last 10 patients the cartilage harvested from the detached osteochondral fragment was used for the colture. All patients were checked clinically (AOFAS score), radiographically and by MRI, before surgery, at 12 months and at follow-up. Eleven patients underwent a second arthroscopy with a bioptic cartilage harvest at 1 year follow-up. Samples were stained with Safranin-O and Alcian Blue. Immunohistochemical analysis for collagen type II was also performed

Results Before surgery the mean score was 48.4 17 points, at 12 months 90.9 12 (p< 0.0005), while at follow up was 93.8 8 (p< 0.0005) demonstrating an improvement over time. The histological and immunohistological analyses performed on the cartilage samples using Safranin-O, Alcian Blue staining and anti-human collagen type II antibody respectively showed a typical cartilage morphology, were positive for collagen type II and for proteoglycans expression.

Conclusions The clinical and histological results have confirmed the validity of the technique utilized, with laboratory data confirming the newly formed cartilage was of hyaline type for all the cases evaluated.

Theses abstracts were prepared by Professor Roger Lemaire. Correspondence should be addressed to EFORT Central Office, Freihofstrasse 22, CH-8700 Küsnacht, Switzerland.