Evidence of cartilage flow in deep defects in articular cartilage
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Full thickness defects (core defects) violating subchondral bone were created in the weight-bearing area of articular cartilage lining the rabbit medial femoral condyle. The repair reaction that follows has two components: (1) a sliding and flowing of cartilage over the edge of the defect and (2) a filling of the defect by repair tissue arising from the marrow spaces. Past studies have paid little or no attention to cartilage flow but this first scanning electron microscopic study of deep defects shows that it is an important phenomenon which materially affects the changes that occur and also the outcome of such injuries.
Briefly, we have found that in most cases the cartilage flows downwards into the core defect. The repair tissue then grows along and over the ‘toed-in’ cartilage. In other cases the flowing cartilage rides over the repair tissue from the marrow spaces and as a result of load bearing and joint movement, becomes frayed and drawn out into long ribbons and rope-like structures.
KeywordsArticular Cartilage Repair Tissue Articular Surface Subchondral Bone Medial Femoral Condyle
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