Particulated Juvenile Articular Cartilage Allograft for Treatment of Chondral Defects of the Knee: Short-Term Survivorship with Functional Outcomes


While basic science research confirms the robust biological profile of juvenile chondrocytes, the clinical outcomes after particulated juvenile cartilage allograft transplantation are not well established. A retrospective analysis of active duty servicemembers undergoing surgical treatment with particulated juvenile articular cartilage allograft transplantation for chondral defects of the knee from two military treatment facilities was completed. Demographic variables, operative details, activity limitations, and medical discharges were obtained. A total of 29 patients with 36 treated chondral defects were isolated at an average follow-up of 16.2 months. The cohort was comprised of male service members in the Army with mean age of 33.1 years. Location of chondral lesion included the patellofemoral articulation (patella 39%, trochlea 31%, bipolar lesions 8%) and condyles (31%). Offloading or realignment osteotomy procedures were performed in 7 patients (23%). Of all patients, 14 servicemembers (48%) underwent knee-related medical discharge, and one patient underwent conversion to total knee arthroplasty. In this small patient cohort, particulated juvenile cartilage allograft transplantation for chondral defects of the knee did not reliably restore military servicemembers to full military function. At least one in two patients had persisting knee pain after chondral restoration procedure. (Journal of Surgical Orthopaedic Advances 30(1):010–013, 2021)

Key words: chondral defects, minced juvenile articular cartilage, cartilage transplantation, return to duty, knee pain

Brian R. Waterman, MD, MAJ MC USA; Scott M. Waterman, MD; Brendan McCriskin, MD, MAJ MC USA; Edward C. Beck, MD, MPH; and Richard M. Graves, MD