Treatment of Failed Articular Cartilage Reconstructive Procedures of the Knee: A Systematic Review

Joseph D. Lamplot, Kevin A. Schafer, Matthew J. Matava

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


Background: Symptomatic articular cartilage lesions of the knee are common and are being treated surgically with increasing frequency. While many studies have reported outcomes following a variety of cartilage restoration procedures, few have investigated outcomes of revision surgery after a failed attempt at cartilage repair or reconstruction. Purpose: To investigate outcomes of revision cartilage restoration procedures for symptomatic articular cartilage lesions of the knee following a previously failed cartilage reconstructive procedure. Study Design: Systematic review; Level of evidence, 4. Methods: A literature search was performed by use of the PubMed, EMBASE, and MEDLINE/Ovid databases for relevant articles published between 1975 and 2017 that evaluated patients undergoing revision cartilage restoration procedure(s) and reported outcomes using validated outcome measures. For studies meeting inclusion criteria, relevant information was extracted. Results: Ten studies met the inclusion criteria. Lesions most commonly occurred in the medial femoral condyle (MFC) (52.8%), with marrow stimulation techniques (MST) the index procedure most frequently performed (70.7%). Three studies demonstrated inferior outcomes of autologous chondrocyte implantation (ACI) following a previous failed cartilage procedure compared with primary ACI. One study comparing osteochondral allograft (OCA) transplant following failed microfracture (MFX) with primary OCA transplant demonstrated similar clinical outcomes and graft survival at midterm follow-up. No studies reported outcomes following osteochondral autograft transfer (OAT) or newer techniques. Conclusion: This systematic review of the literature reporting outcomes following revision articular cartilage restoration procedures (most commonly involving the MFC) demonstrated a high proportion of patients who underwent prior MST. Evidence is sufficient to suggest that caution should be taken in performing ACI in the setting of prior MST, likely secondary to subchondral bone compromise. OCA appears to be a good revision treatment option even if the subchondral bone has been violated from prior surgery or fracture.

Original languageEnglish
JournalOrthopaedic Journal of Sports Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 22 2018


  • autologous chondrocyte implantation
  • marrow stimulation techniques
  • microfracture
  • osteochondral allograft
  • osteochondral autograft
  • revision cartilage


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