Viability and tissue quality of cartilage flaps from patients with femoroacetabular hip impingement

Francisco Rodriguez-Fontan, Karin A. Payne, Jorge Chahla, Omer Mei-Dan, Abigail Richards, Soshi Uchida, Cecilia Pascual-Garrido

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Background: Chondrolabral damage is commonly observed in patients with cam-type femoroacetabular impingement (FAI). Chondral flap reattachment has recently been proposed as a possible preservation technique. Purpose/Hypothesis: The purpose of this study was to determine the viability and tissue quality of chondral flaps from patients with FAI at the time of arthroscopy. It was hypothesized that chondral flaps from patients with cam lesions of the hip would exhibit less viability and greater tissue degeneration than would those of a matched control group. Study Design: Cohort study; Level of evidence, 2. Methods: Patients with cam-type FAI who were treated with hip arthroscopy between 2014 and 2016 were asked to participate in this study. The cartilage lesions were localized and classified intraoperatively according to Beck classification. A chondral flap (study group) and a cartilage sample (control group) were obtained from each patient for histologic evaluation. Cellular viability and tissue quality were examined and compared in both groups. Cellular viability was determined with live/dead staining, and tissue quality was evaluated using safranin O/fast green, hematoxylin and eosin (H&E) staining, and immunohistochemistry for collagen II. Osteoarthritis Research Society International (OARSI) grading was used for quality assessment, and Image J software was used to calculate the percentage of tissue viability and Col II stain. Results: A total of 10 male patients with a mean age of 38.4 years (range, 30-55 years) were enrolled. All chondral flaps were classified as Beck grade 4. The mean cellular viability of the chondral flaps was reduced (54.6% ± 25.6%), and they were found to be degenerated (OARSI grade, 4 ± 1.27). Control samples also had reduced viability (38.8% ± 30.3%) and were degenerative (OARSI grade, 3.5 ± 1.38). There was no statistically significant intergroup difference for viability (P 1/4 .203) or OARSI grade (P 1/4 .645), nor was there an intragroup correlation between viability and OARSI grade (P > .05). A significant negative correlation (r 1/4 -0.9, P 1/4 .035) was found between OARSI grade and collagen II percentage scale in 5 selected samples. Conclusion: Despite appearing normal macroscopically, the chondral flaps from patients with cam-type FAI displayed loss of viability and tissue degeneration. In addition, control samples obtained away from the injury area also displayed cartilage damage and degeneration. Careful consideration should be taken when attempting to reattach the chondral flap.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2325967117723608
JournalOrthopaedic Journal of Sports Medicine
Issue number8
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017


  • Degeneration
  • Femoroacetabular impingement
  • Flap
  • Reattachment
  • Viability


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