Tibial Plateau Cartilage Lesions: A Systematic Review of Techniques, Outcomes, and Complications

Heath P Melugin, Christopher D Bernard, Christopher L Camp, Michael J Stuart, Daniel B F Saris, Norimasa Nakamura, Aaron J Krych

Published: 01/01/2019


Objective: The purpose of this systematic review is to determine (1) current reported treatment options for isolated tibial plateau (TP) cartilage lesions, (2) patient reported outcomes following various treatments, and (3) complication rate and survivorship following various treatments.

Design: A literature search of PubMed, the Cochrane Library, and CINAHL was conducted adhering to PRISMA guidelines. Patients were included if they had TP cartilage lesions treated with surgery. Lesion characteristics, surgical procedure details, patient reported outcomes, complication, and failure rates were collected.

Results: Thirteen studies yielded 205 knees with TP cartilage lesions treated surgically. Ages ranged from 12 to 77 years. Surgical techniques included 138 treated with osteochondral allograft transplantation (OCA), 37 treated with osteochondral autograft transfer system (OATS), 11 treated with microfracture, 11 treated with an osteochondral scaffold, and 8 treated with autologous chondrocyte implantation (ACI). The patient-reported outcome measures were heterogeneous, but all reported improvements with the notable exception of one study evaluating microfracture. The rate of complications ranged from 0% to 4.6%. Failure rate ranged from 22% to 46% for OCA and 0% to 16% for OATS. No failures were reported for the additional techniques.

Conclusions: Various surgical techniques have been utilized for the treatment of TP cartilage lesions. Patient-reported outcome measures were heterogeneous, but improvements were reported following all surgical treatments except for microfracture, which resulted in decreased scores at mid-term follow-up. The complication rate was low for all techniques described. However, the failure rate was higher following unicondylar OCA for salvage treatment of posttraumatic deformities.

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