Arthroscopic management of osteochondral lesions of the talus: results of drilling and usefulness of magnetic resonance imaging before and after treatment.

Lahm A, Erggelet C, Steinwachs M, Reichelt A. Arthroscopy 2000 Apr;16(3):299-304.

Since the advent of operative ankle arthroscopy and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) specific treatment of osteochondritis dissecans of the talus has progressed rapidly. Drilling is still the treatment of choice in early stages of osteochondritis dissecans of the talus. Rear-entry guides and preoperative planning with MRI have led to better results with this kind of treatment. Within 5 years, 42 patients (26 male and 16 female) underwent arthroscopic treatment of osteochondritis dissecans of the talus, 22 underwent percutaneous drilling, 13 cancellous bone grafting, 4 refixation, and 3 curettage. The average age of the patients was 28 years (range, 11 to 53 years). A clinical score system was used in a clinical and MRI follow-up of 19 of the patients with K-wire drilling. Up to 100 points are given in the categories pain, stability/insecurity, efficiency/pain-free walking distance, gait, differences in circumference, range of motion, and power. There was a history of trauma in 31 of the 42 patients. The majority of lesions (24 cases) were localized at the lateral talus, and these patients all had trauma. In 11 of the 18 lesions at the medial talus, there was no evidence of trauma. The 19 patients in the follow-up achieved an average of 87 points. K-wire drilling represents the chief component of early stages with intact or partially fractured cartilage surface, whereas arthroscopically controlled cancellous bone grafts after curettage are used in grade II stages only. Results of K-wire drilling are not worse than those of cancellous bone grafts; this is attributable to a generous perforation of the sclerosis. This has contributed to an improved preoperative diagnosis with MRI.