Mechanical resistance of biological repair cartilage: Comparative in vivo tests of different surgical repair procedures

Bruno E. Gerber, D. Robinson, Z. Nevo, T. Brosh, H. Ash, A. Yayon, D. Aviezer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


The former common knowledge that cartilage lesions do not heal has been modified over the last few years due to new technologies. For repair of deeper circumscribed lesions osteochondral press-fit grafting and tissue engineering are used in clinical application. The histological data of the hyaline-like tissue obtained by engineering are just as satisfactory as the surviving grafted hyaline cartilage on top of osteochondral cylinders. But comparative studies are still lacking. To fill the gap and with a view to repairing larger osteoarthritic defects we have performed an in vivo study on 16 goats. Three months after the creation of a full thickness wide cartilage defect on the femoral condyle with harvesting of cartilage samples for tissue cultures we performed secondary cartilage repair procedures on the installed osteoarthritis areas: 1) grafting with autogenic osteochondral press-fit cylinders from the opposite knee, 2) autologous engineered chondrocyte grafting under periosteal flaps, 3) both in combination. The harvesting defects were either left as controls or filled with a hyaluronate fleece. After eight months the repaired areas and the harvesting defects were examined for cartilage stiffness as a novel comparative parameter. Compared to normal the cartilage on top of osteochondral grafts is considerably stiffer. Engineered cartilage is weaker than normal. Spontaneously ingrown fibrous cartilage is much weaker even with a carrier fleece. A combination of osteochondral press-fit grafts with engineered autologous cells restores biomechanical qualities to repaired larger degenerative cartilage defects.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1109-1115
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Artificial Organs
Issue number11
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2002


  • Biomechanical testing
  • Cartilage repair
  • Cartilage stiffness
  • Osteochondral grafting
  • Subchondral bone stiffness
  • Tissue engineering


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