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Niethammer, Thomas Richard; Holzgruber, Martin; Gülecyüz, Mehmet Fatih; Weber, Patrick; Pietschmann, Matthias Frank; Müller, Peter Ernst (2017): Matrix based autologous chondrocyte implantation in children and adolescents: a match paired analysis in a follow-up over three years post-operation. In: International Orthopaedics, Vol. 41, No. 2: pp. 343-350
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Purpose The aim of this study is the investigation of the clinical results after third generation autologous chondrocyte implantation in the knee in a follow-up over three years post-operation. Our primary focus is on the effects of this procedure on children and adolescent patients as there is a lack of knowledge regarding the clinical outcomes in children/adolescents in particular when compared with adults. Methods A total of 40 patients (43 defects) < 20 years with cartilage defects of the knee were treated with third generation ACI (NovocartA (R) 3D). These defects were caused by osteochondritis dissecans (n = 13), acute trauma (<12 months) (n = 9), old trauma (>12 months) (n = 5) or unknown pathology (n = 13). The mean defect size was 5.2 cm(2). IKDC subjective score and VAS (at rest and during activity) were used for clinical evaluation after 6, 12, 24 and 36 months post-operatively. The results of these patients were compared with 40 matched adult patients. Match paired analysis was performed by numbers of treated defects, defect location and defect size. All cartilage defects were arthroscopically classified with IKDC grade III-IV. All adult patients in the control group were treated with matrix based autologous chondrocyte implantation. Results All patients showed significantly better clinical results compared with the pre-operative findings in the follow-up over three years. We observed significantly better results in the IKDC score and VAS during the whole postoperative follow-up in children and adolescents after six, 12, 24 and 36 months compared with the adult control group. The IKDC score improved from 46.5 preoperative to 77.5 (+31) after three years in children and adolescents. Similarly, significantly lower stress pain after six months and one, two and three years was found in this group. Conclusion This study showed that third generation autologous chondrocyte implantation is a suitable method for the treatment of full cartilage defects in children and adolescents.