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Osteoarthritis Cartilage. 2006 Dec;14(12):1214-26. Epub 2006 Jul 3.

Repair of superficial osteochondral defects with an autologous scaffold-free cartilage construct in a caprine model: implantation method and short-term results.

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Equine Clinic, Department of Clinical Veterinary Medicine, University of Bern, Switzerland.



To compare four different implantation modalities for the repair of superficial osteochondral defects in a caprine model using autologous, scaffold-free, engineered cartilage constructs, and to describe the short-term outcome of successfully implanted constructs.


Scaffold-free, autologous cartilage constructs were implanted within superficial osteochondral defects created in the stifle joints of nine adult goats. The implants were distributed between four 6-mm-diameter superficial osteochondral defects created in the trochlea femoris and secured in the defect using a covering periosteal flap (PF) alone or in combination with adhesives (platelet-rich plasma (PRP) or fibrin), or using PRP alone. Eight weeks after implantation surgery, the animals were killed. The defect sites were excised and subjected to macroscopic and histopathologic analyses.


At 8 weeks, implants that had been held in place exclusively with a PF were well integrated both laterally and basally. The repair tissue manifested an architecture similar to that of hyaline articular cartilage. However, most of the implants that had been glued in place in the absence of a PF were lost during the initial 4-week phase of restricted joint movement. The use of human fibrin glue (FG) led to massive cell infiltration of the subchondral bone.


The implantation of autologous, scaffold-free, engineered cartilage constructs might best be performed beneath a PF without the use of tissue adhesives. Successfully implanted constructs showed hyaline-like characteristics in adult goats within 2 months. Long-term animal studies and pilot clinical trials are now needed to evaluate the efficacy of this treatment strategy.

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