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The adverse effect of elevated body mass index on outcome after autologous chondrocyte implantation

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We analysed whether a high body mass index (BMI) had a deleterious effect on outcome following autologous chondrocyte implantation (ACI) or matrix-carried autologous chondrocyte implantation (MACI) for the treatment of full-thickness chondral defects of the knee from a subset of patients enrolled in the ACI vs MACI trial at The Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital.

The mean Modified Cincinnati scores (MCS) were significantly higher (p < 0.001) post-operatively in patients who had an ideal body weight (n = 53; 20 to 24.9 kg/m2) than in overweight (n = 63; 25 to 30 kg/m2) and obese patients (n = 22; > 30 kg/m2). At a follow-up of two years, obese patients demonstrated no sustained improvement in the MCS. Patients with an ideal weight experienced significant improvements as early as six months after surgery (p = 0.007). In total, 82% of patients (31 of 38) in the ideal group had a good or excellent result, compared with 49% (22 of 45) of the overweight and 5.5% (one of 18) in the obese group (p < 0.001). There was a significant negative relationship between BMI and the MCS 24 months after surgery (r = -0.4, p = 0.001).

This study demonstrates that obese patients have worse knee function before surgery and experience no sustained benefit from ACI or MACI at two years after surgery. There was a correlation between increasing BMI and a lower MCS according to a linear regression analysis. On the basis of our findings patient selection can be more appropriately targeted.

Correspondence should be sent to Mr P. K. Jaiswal; e-mail:

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