Mapping of split-line pattern and cartilage thickness of selected donor and recipient sites for autologous osteochondral transplantation in the canine stifle joint.
ABSTRACT To characterize donor and recipient sites for autologous osteochondral transplantation in the canine stifle joint with respect to split-line pattern and cartilage thickness.
In vitro study. Sample Population- Stifle joints (n=30) of dogs >20 kg.
Collagen network orientation of the hyaline cartilage coverage of the distal femur was assessed using split-line technique (n=10). Cartilage thickness was measured radiographically on osteochondral plugs harvested at the abaxial and axial surfaces of the femoropatellar joint (n=15), the most proximal abaxial aspect of the medial condyle (CO; n=5) and at both femoral condyles (n=15).
Cartilage within the femoropatellar joint and both femoral condyles had mostly transversely orientated pattern of split-lines. Abaxial to the femoropatellar joint split-lines were absent. All donor sites had significantly thinner cartilage than the medial condyle (CM). Only the distal trochlea had cartilage thickness comparable to the lateral condyle (CL). The thinnest cartilage was found abaxial to the femoropatellar joint followed by CO, which was approximately 2-3 times thinner than the cartilage at both condyles.
None of the investigated donor sites provided transplants of comparable cartilage thickness to CM. Transplants from within the femoropatellar joint should be harvested in priority as they reach cartilage morphology comparable to CL.
Adjusting for cartilage thickness and split-line pattern may improve long-term outcome after autologous osteochondral transplantation. But surface curvature and donor-site morbidity have to be considered as well when choosing the most suitable donor site.