10-Year Prospective Clinical and Radiological Evaluation After Matrix-Induced Autologous Chondrocyte Implantation and Comparison of Tibiofemoral and Patellofemoral Graft Outcomes

Jay R. Ebert, Minghao Zheng, Michael Fallon, David J. Wood, Gregory C. Janes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Long-term outcomes in larger cohorts after matrix-induced autologous chondrocyte implantation (MACI) are required. Furthermore, little is known about the longer-term clinical and radiological outcomes of MACI performed in the tibiofemoral versus patellofemoral knee joint. Purpose: To present the 10-year clinical and radiological outcomes in patients after MACI and compare outcomes in patients undergoing tibiofemoral versus patellofemoral MACI. Study Design: Case series; Level of evidence, 4. Methods: Between September 2002 and December 2012, 204 patients who underwent MACI were prospectively registered into a research program and assessed preoperatively and at 2, 5, and 10 years postoperatively. Of these patients, 168 were available for clinical review at 10 years, with 151 (of a total of 182) grafts also assessed via magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Patients were evaluated using the Knee injury and Osteoarthritis Outcome Score, a visual analog scale for pain frequency and severity, satisfaction, and peak isokinetic knee extensor and flexor strength. Limb symmetry indices (LSIs) were calculated for strength measures. Grafts were scored on MRI scans via the MOCART (magnetic resonance observation of cartilage repair tissue) system, with a focus on tissue infill and an overall MRI graft composite score. Results: All patient-reported outcome measures improved (P <.0001) up to 2 years after surgery. Apart from the significant increase (P =.004) in the peak isokinetic knee extensor LSI, no other patient-reported outcome measure or clinical score had changed significantly from 2 to 10 years. At the final follow-up, 92% of patients were satisfied with MACI to provide knee pain relief, with 76% satisfied with their ability to participate in sports. From 2 to 10 years, no significant change was seen for any MRI-based MOCART variable nor the overall MRI composite score. Of the 151 grafts reviewed via MRI at 10 years, 14 (9.3%) had failed, defined by graft delamination or no graft tissue on MRI scan. Furthermore, of the 36 patients (of the prospectively recruited 204) who were not available for longer-term review, 7 had already proceeded to total knee arthroplasty, and 1 patient had undergone secondary MACI at the same medial femoral condylar site because of an earlier graft failure. Therefore, 22 patients (10.8%) essentially had graft failure over the period. At the final follow-up, patients who underwent MACI in the tibiofemoral (vs patellofemoral) joint reported significantly better Knee injury and Osteoarthritis Outcome Score subscale scores for Quality of Life (P =.010) and Sport and Recreation (P <.001), as well as a greater knee extensor strength LSI (P =.002). Even though the tibiofemoral group demonstrated better 10-year MOCART scores for tissue infill (P =.027), there were no other MRI-based differences (P >.05). Conclusion: This study reports the long-term review of a prospective series of patients undergoing MACI, demonstrating good clinical scores, high levels of patient satisfaction, and acceptable graft survivorship at 10 years. Patients undergoing tibiofemoral (vs patellofemoral) MACI reported better long-term clinical outcomes, despite largely similar MRI-based outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)977-986
Number of pages10
JournalAmerican Journal of Sports Medicine
Issue number4
Early online date21 Feb 2024
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2024


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