A current review on the biology and treatment of articular cartilage defects (part I & part II)

Craig Willers, David Wood, Ming Zheng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)


Osteochondral injury occurs predominantly in physically active young adult males. Injury to the articular cartilage and/or subchondral bone may not only cause acute joint disease resulting in osseous intracapsular (synovitis) or extracapsular pain, but may also act to spawn arthritic conditions in later life. Since the 18th century, such injury has proven difficult to treat clinically, and much therapy has been essentially palliative. Past treatments such as abrasion arthroplasty, drilling, microfracture and arthroscopic lavage have been useful in removing articular debris and promoting the formation of the fibrin clot used in most native repair mechanisms. However, the limitation of these techniques is their inability to restore the damaged cartilage and subchondral bone to their normal tissue architecture. Recent developments in tissue engineering have concentrated on the utilization of autologous chondrocyte implantation, biomaterials and growth factors to promote the regeneration of biomechanically superior hyaline articular cartilage. This paper reviews the etiology, repair biology and therapeutic techniques of cartilage and/or osteochondral injury over the previous decades, and attempts to provide insight into interesting new research directions which offer much potential for improved treatment of these troublesome lesions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)157-181
JournalJournal of Musculoskeletal Research
Issue number3/4
Publication statusPublished - 2003


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