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Clin Orthop Relat Res. 2011 Aug;469(8):2356-66. doi: 10.1007/s11999-011-1813-2. Epub 2011 Feb 19.

Does fresh osteochondral allograft transplantation of talar osteochondral defects improve function?

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  • 1Orthopedic Foot and Ankle Center, 300 Polaris Parkway, Suite 2000, Westerville, OH 43082, USA.



Fresh osteochondral allograft transplantation can be used to replace talar osteochondral defects (OCDs) with single bulk osteochondral graft. While limited studies report improvement of function, improvement in quality of life and radiographic durability is unknown.


We therefore determined if this technique improved function, increased quality of life, and provided durable graft stability radiographically and by MRI.


We prospectively followed 19 patients (19 OCDs). We excluded seven patients (four with insufficient followup, two who were lost to followup, and one with graft failure), leaving 12 patients with a minimum followup of 2 years (average, 3.3 years; range, 2.0-4.6 years). Functional and quality of life outcomes were quantified using the American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society (AOFAS) score and the SF-12 Health Survey. Graft incorporation and stability were assessed through radiographs and MRI.


Mean total AOFAS scores (61±9 to 79±6), pain subscores (17±8 versus 26±5), and function subscores (34±3 versus 42±4) improved from preoperatively to last followup. We observed no improvements of the physical and mental health components of the SF-12 Health Survey from preoperatively to last followup. At last followup, three of the 12 grafts had radiolucencies, four had edema, one failed to incorporate, and none had subsidence. One of the 19 patients in the overall series underwent graft revision.


Patients with talar OCDs can expect functional improvement after this technique. The majority will have stable grafts at least short term. Larger studies with longer followup are needed to determine if this procedure substantially improves quality of life, if graft radiolucencies and edema have any long-term implications, and whether the grafts are durable.


Level IV, therapeutic study. See Guidelines for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.

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