Arthroscopic autologous chondrocyte implantation in the ankle joint



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.


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.


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.


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.

Arthroscopic autologous chondrocyte implantation in the ankle joint – Online First – Springer.

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