Indexed on: 28 Apr '05Published on: 28 Apr '05Published in: The Journal of bone and joint surgery. British volume
Autologous chondrocyte implantation (ACI) is used widely as a treatment for symptomatic chondral and osteochondral defects of the knee. Variations of the original periosteum-cover technique include the use of porcine-derived type I/type III collagen as a cover (ACI-C) and matrix-induced autologous chondrocyte implantation (MACI) using a collagen bilayer seeded with chondrocytes. We have performed a prospective, randomised comparison of ACI-C and MACI for the treatment of symptomatic chondral defects of the knee in 91 patients, of whom 44 received ACI-C and 47 MACI grafts. Both treatments resulted in improvement of the clinical score after one year. The mean modified Cincinnati knee score increased by 17.6 in the ACI-C group and 19.6 in the MACI group (p = 0.32). Arthroscopic assessments performed after one year showed a good to excellent International Cartilage Repair Society score in 79.2% of ACI-C and 66.6% of MACI grafts. Hyaline-like cartilage or hyaline-like cartilage with fibrocartilage was found in the biopsies of 43.9% of the ACI-C and 36.4% of the MACI grafts after one year. The rate of hypertrophy of the graft was 9% (4 of 44) in the ACI-C group and 6% (3 of 47) in the MACI group. The frequency of re-operation was 9% in each group. We conclude that the clinical, arthroscopic and histological outcomes are comparable for both ACI-C and MACI. While MACI is technically attractive, further long-term studies are required before the technique is widely adopted.