The cause of a typical osteochondral lesion of the talus is traumatic; if symptomatic, several options exist. Because nonoperative treatment results in no more than 50% good to excellent results, the following types of surgery are in clinical use: (1) debridement and drilling, (2) osteochondral transfer, and (3) autologous chondrocyte transplantation. Reported good to excellent results are at least 80% in the short term.
We are still at the beginning of cartilage repair; it will take time before a certain type of lesion can be treated with the best modality because that requires comparative randomized prospective studies with a long follow-up. All modern cartilage repair techniques, that were initially investigated at the knee joint, are now in use for ankle osteochondral lesions. Reported short-term success rates are greater than 80%. Further improvements will depend on the understanding of the pathogenesis and the role of contributing factors (eg, instability).
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