Osman Aynacı1, Metehan Saraçoğlu1, İsmail Gedikli1, Ahmet Uğur Turhan1, Ümit Çobanoğlu2

1Karadeniz Technical University, Medical School, Dept. of Orthopedic Surgery, Farabi Hospital, Trabzon, Turkey
2Karadeniz Technical University, Medical School, Dept. of Pathology, Farabi Hospital, Trabzon, Turkey

Keywords: Osteochondral defect, osteochondral autograft, apophyseal graft, cartilage repair


Objective: Apophyseal grafts were used as an alternative autograft source to restore osteochondral defects.
Patients and methods: Eighteen knees of 9 New Zealand rabbits with an average age of 4 months follow-up were included into the study. Osteochondral defects were created in the weight-bearing areas of the rabbits’ medial femoral condyles. Six knees were repaired using 4 x 5 mm osteochondral autografts obtained from the minimal weight-bearing region of the femoral condyles at the level of the patellofemoral joint. Six knees were repaired using 4 x 5 mm apophyseal grafts obtained from the posterior part of the iliac-crest apophysis. Six knees with no treatment were used as the control group. At the end of week 12, the results were evaluated clinically, macroscopically and histologically.
Results: The defects filled by the grafts were smooth and glistening. A smooth hyaline cartilage-like tissue had formed. The untreated defect on the control group was incompletely filled with reparative tissue and levered below the articular surface. Statistical analysis presented that the osteochondral and apophyseal graft groups were significantly better than the control group in the surface area, cellular distribution, matrix composition and subchondral bone. There was no significant difference in the histological results between the two treatment groups.
Discussion: Apophyseal autografts could represent an alternative source to osteochondral autografts that were successfully employed for the treatment of osteochondral defects.