The purpose of this study was to document outcomes following microfracture of articular cartilage lesions of the ankle. Our hypothesis was that patients who underwent ankle microfracture would have good to excellent outcomes.
This study was institutional review board approved. Patients older than 18 years who underwent ankle microfracture surgery for Outerbridge grade 3 or 4 articular cartilage lesions, by a single surgeon, were included. Detailed intraoperative findings were documented at surgery. Patients completed a questionnaire with Foot and Ankle Disability Index (FADI), Lysholm, Tegner, and patient satisfaction with outcome. All data were collected prospectively and stored in a data registry and retrospectively reviewed. Forty patients (21 males, 19 females, mean age = 42 years [range, 19-65 years]) were included in this study. Thirteen (33%) had previous ankle surgery. Follow-up was obtained for 94% of patients (n = 34). Mean follow-up time was 26 months (range, 12-48 months).
Mean talar defect size was 70 mm(2) (range, 4-300 mm(2)). Mean tibia defect size was 31 mm(2) (range, 8-54 mm(2)). Four patients (10.5%) required subsequent surgery following microfracture surgery. Mean time to second surgery was 17 months (range, 4-32 months). Mean Lysholm score was 74 (range, 31-96). Mean FADI Activities of Daily Living (ADL) was 81 (range, 33-99), FADI Sport was 62 (range, 13-100), and FADI total score was 77 (range, 28-98). Median Tegner was 4 (range, 0-10). Median patient satisfaction was 8 (range, 3-10). Patients who had previous ankle surgery had significantly lower outcome scores versus patients who did not have previous ankle surgery for FADI ADL (70 vs 81, P = .029) and FADI Total (51 vs 77, P = .028). Days from injury to surgery were correlated with age at surgery (r = .323, P = .042) and negatively correlated with FADI ADL (r = -.431, P = .014), FADI Sport (r = -.490, P = .004), FADI Total (r = -.429, P = .014), and Tegner (r = -.402, P = .023).
Patients who underwent microfracture for grade 3 or 4 ankle articular cartilage lesions had high patient satisfaction. Patients who had previous ankle surgery had lower postoperative ankle function; however, patient satisfaction remained high. This study supports microfracture for treatment of grade 3 and 4 ankle articular cartilage lesions.
Level of evidence:
Level IV, case series.