The purpose of this study was to report the clinical outcomes of autologous chondrocyte implantation (ACI) procedures performed by a single orthopedic surgeon at a minimum of 7 years follow-up.
A retrospective review of prospectively collected data was performed on 29 patients who underwent ACI of the knee between the years of 1998 and 2003. Prospective data were collected to assess changes in standardized outcome measures preoperatively and 2, 4, and 7 years postoperatively. All patients enrolled in the study were also recruited to undergo physical examination when possible.
The final cohort consisted of 29 patients with a mean final follow-up time of 8.40 years (range = 7.14-10.88 years). Comparing preoperative scores to 7-year postoperative values, the mean International Knee Documentation Committee (IKDC) score improved from 39.80 to 59.24 (P < 0.001), mean Tegner-Lysholm score increased from 48.07 to 74.17 (P < 0.001), SF-12 physical score improved from 40.38 to 48.66 (P < 0.001), and SF-12 mental score improved from 44.14 to 48.98 (P < 0.05). Significant improvement occurred in Knee Injury and Osteoarthritis Outcome Score (KOOS) pain (56.03 to 80.36), symptoms (54.19 to 74.75), activities of daily living (72.01 to 85.90), sports (23.34 to 55.34), and quality of life (24.56 to 56.03) (P < 0.001). In addition, 7-year postoperative scores were at or near levels seen at 2 years (mean = 2.16; range = 0.94-4.03 years) and 4 years (mean = 4.43; range = 2.16-5.88 years) postoperatively, reflecting durable improvement. Subjectively, on a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being completely satisfied), the mean postoperative satisfaction rate was 8.14. Additionally, 88.9% of the patients would elect to have this surgery again if the same problem was to occur in the contralateral joint.
The results of ACI in patients who present with symptomatic, full-thickness chondral defects remain durable at a minimum of 7-year follow-up with persistent, high levels of patient satisfaction.