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Arthroscopic Subchondral Bone Plate Microfracture Technique Augments Healing of Large Chondral Defects in the Radial Carpal Bone and Medial Femoral Condyle of Horses

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To evaluate the effect of arthroscopic subchondral bone microfracture on healing of large chondral defects in horses. Study Design

Short- (4 months) and long-term (12 months) in vivo experimental chondral defect model. Animals

10 horses, aged 2 to 5 years. Methods

Each horse had a 1 cm2 full-thickness chondral defect created in both radial carpal bones and both medial femoral condyles. One carpus and one femoral condyle of each horse had the subchondral bone plate under the defect perforated using an orthopedic awl. All horses were exercised, five horses were evaluated after 4 months and five horses after 12 months. Gross, histologic, and histomorphometric examination of defect sites and repair tissues was performed, as was collagen typing of the repair tissue. Results

On gross observation a greater volume of repair tissue filled treated defects (74%) compared with control defects (45%). Histomorphometry confirmed more repair tissue filling treated defects, but no difference in the relative amounts of different tissue types was observed. There was an increased percentage of type II collagen in treated defects compared with control defects and evidence of earlier bone remodeling as documented by changes in porosity. Conclusions

In full-thickness chondral defects in exercised horses, treatment with subchondral bone microfracture increased the tissue volume in the defects and the percentage of type II collagen in the tissue filling the defects when compared to nontreated defects. Clinical Relevance

No negative effects of the microfracture technique were observed and some of the beneficial effects are the basis for recommending its use in patients cases with exposed subchondral bone.

©Copyright 1999 by The American College of Veterinary Surgeons

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: From the Equine Orthopedic Research Laboratory College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO.

Publication date: 1999-07-01

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