Arthroscopic autologous chondrocyte implantation in the ankle joint

Sandro Giannini, Roberto Buda, Alberto Ruffilli, Marco Cavallo, Gherardo Pagliazzi, Maria Chiara Bulzamini, Giovanna Desando, Deianira Luciani, Francesca Vannini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: Autologous chondrocyte implantation (ACI) is an established procedure in the ankle providing satisfactory results. The development of a completely arthroscopic ACI procedure in the ankle joint made the technique easier and reduced the morbidity. The purpose of this investigation was to report the clinical results of a series of patients who underwent arthroscopic ACI of the talus at a mean of 7 ± 1.2-year follow-up. Methods: Forty-six patients (mean age 31.4 ± 7.6) affected by osteochondral lesions of the talar dome (OLT) received arthroscopic ACI between 2001 and 2006. Patients were clinically evaluated using AOFAS score pre-operatively and at 12, 36 months and at final follow-up of 87.2 ± 14.5 months. Results: The mean pre-operative AOFAS score was 57.2 ± 14.3. At the 12-month follow-up, the mean AOFAS score was 86.8 ± 13.4 (p = 0.0005); at 36 months after surgery, the mean score was 89.5 ± 13.4 (p = 0.0005); whereas at final follow-up of 87.2 ± 14.5 months it was 92.0 ± 11.2 (p = 0.0005). There were three failures. Histological and immunohistochemical evaluations of specimens harvested from failed implants generally showed several aspects of a fibro-cartilaginous tissue associated with some aspects of cartilage tissue remodelling as indicated by the presence of type II collagen expression. Conclusion: This study confirmed the ability of arthroscopic ACI to repair osteochondral lesions in the ankle joint with satisfactory clinical results after mid-term follow-up. Level of evidence: IV, retrospective case series.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1311-1319
Number of pages9
JournalKnee Surgery, Sports Traumatology, Arthroscopy
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Ankle joint
  • Arthroscopy
  • Autologous chondrocyte implantation
  • Osteochondral lesion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Surgery


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