Several methods are used to treat focal chondral and osteochondral defects on the weightbearing surfaces of synovial joints. Autologous osteochondral grafting is 1 option used to replace hyaline cartilage in the defect.

Mosaicplasty is effective in returning elite athletes to participation in sports.

Case series; Level of evidence, 4.

In 3 institutes, 354 of 383 patients were followed from 2 to 17 years (average, 9.6 years). The results of mosaicplasty were prospectively evaluated at 6 weeks, 3 months, 6 months, and yearly with patient-reported outcomes measures and radiographs.

Slight or moderate degenerative changes (Fairbank grade I or II) were detected preoperatively in 27% of the cases and in 36% of the cases at follow-up. Fairbank grade III changes were observed in 5 cases. An average radiographic deterioration of 0.32 on the Fairbank scale was detected (preoperative, 0.34; postoperative, 0.66). Good to excellent results were found in 91% of femoral mosaicplasties, 86% of tibial, and 74% of patellofemoral; 92% of talar mosaicplasties had similar results (Hannover ankle scoring system). Patellofemoral pain related to graft harvest was observed in 5% of cases. Second-look arthroscopies revealed good, congruent, gliding surfaces of the transplants and acceptable fibrocartilage coverage of donor sites in 16 patients and degenerative changes of the transplants in 5 cases. Histological evaluation revealed good graft incorporation in all 11 cases. Two infections and 3 deep venous thromboses occurred.

Despite a higher rate of preoperative osteoarthritic changes in the athletic patients, clinical outcomes of mosaicplasty in this group demonstrated a success rate similar to that of less athletic patients. Higher motivation resulted in better subjective evaluation. Slight deterioration in results occurred during the 9.6-year follow-up; thus, autologous osteochondral mosaicplasty may be a useful alternative for the treatment of 1.0- to 4.0-cm(2) focal chondral and osteochondral lesions in competitive athletes.