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Retrograde cartilage transplantation on the proximal and distal tibia

Arthroscopy 20(1): 73-78

Retrograde cartilage transplantation on the proximal and distal tibia

The authors, with experience with more than 400 osteochondral autograft transplantation (OATS) cases since 1996, report a new technique of a retrograde osteochondral autograft transplantation for the treatment of isolated osteochondral lesions of the proximal and the distal tibia started in 1999. We treated 5 patients, 3 who presented with painful traumatic chondral defects in the central weight-bearing portion of the tibial plateau (1 in the medial and 2 in the lateral compartment), and 2 who presented with painful chondral lesions on the distal tibia. An anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) drill guide positioned in the center of the defect was used to accurately prepare the cartilage surface, in one case arthroscopically and in 4 cases through an open incision. A guide-wire was introduced and drilled through the tibia, and a cannulated reamer equal to the diameter of the defect was advanced. An osteochondral cylinder was harvested from the non-weight-bearing zone of the femoral trochlea at the angle that corresponded to the angle on the ACL drill guide. The autograft was inserted in a retrograde fashion from the cortical window into the tibial tunnel to be flush with the articular surface in press-fit technique. The remaining tunnel defect between the cortical window on the tibia and the distal aspect of the autograft was filled with a cancellous bony cylinder and secured with a diagonal bioabsorbable screw. A concomitant varus deformity with the lesion on the medial tibial plateau was corrected in the same surgery using a high tibial osteotomy to relieve stress on the graft. Patients were followed up for 6 to 35 months. A complete healing of the grafts was seen in control magnetic resonance images (MRIs). All patients were satisfied with the surgery. Control arthroscopies showed the osteochondral cylinders well integrated and flush with the articular surface.

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Accession: 012516272

PMID: 14716283

DOI: 10.1016/j.arthro.2003.11.016

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