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Returning to Work After Articular Cartilage Repair Intervention: A Systematic Review

Artikel i vetenskaplig tidskrift
Författare Puwapong Nimkingratana
Mats Brittberg
Publicerad i Orthopaedic Journal of Sports Medicine
Volym 8
Nummer/häfte 3
ISSN 2325-9671
Publiceringsår 2020
Publicerad vid Institutionen för kliniska vetenskaper
Språk en
Länkar dx.doi.org/10.1177/2325967120905526
Ämnesord allograft, autologous chondrocyte implantation, cartilage, high tibial osteotomy, injury, PROCART-RTW score, repair, return to work
Ämneskategorier Klinisk medicin


Background: The process of returning to work after cartilage treatment has not been studied in depth, even though a better understanding of potential outcomes could lead to significant benefits for the general population. Purpose: To determine which surgical interventions are most effective in helping patients return to work after cartilage repair and to identify factors that affect the ability to return to work. Study Design: Systematic review; Level of evidence, 4. Methods: This systematic review followed PRISMA (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses) guidelines in analyzing reports on articular cartilage treatment and return to work published from January 1966 (when the first system of classifying articular cartilage injuries based on the mechanism of injuries and type of lesions was developed) to January 2019. General surgical information and available clinical scores were used to assess outcomes. Results: Only 5 studies describing 283 patients were found to be relevant to our objectives and were therefore included in the analysis. Autologous chondrocyte implantation (ACI) and osteochondral allografts were the only 2 procedures for which information was included regarding patient return to work rates. The mean (overall) return-to-work time after a cartilage repair operation was 4.80 ± 3.02 months. ACI was the most common procedure (3 studies; 227 patients). Return to work after ACI or ACI with high tibial osteotomy (HTO) occurred in almost 100% of cases, whereas the rate of return to work was 51.78% for patients who underwent osteochondral allograft (P <.01); further, patients who had ACI or ACI+HTO returned to work sooner compared with patients who underwent osteochondral allograft. The Knee injury and Osteoarthritis Outcome Score (KOOS) and Single Assessment Numerical Evaluation (SANE) scores were significantly higher in patients who fully returned to work. No significant difference was found in rates of return to work after ACI related to sex, area of the lesion, or size of the defect. Conclusion: The vast majority of published results on articular cartilage repair do not include data on return to work. Although available data on articular cartilage repair in the general population reveal a high rate of return to work, including those patients treated with ACI, the data do not stratify patients by the type and demand of work. No randomized studies have examined return-to-work rates. Hence, authors should include these data in future studies. A refined definition of work intensity, rather than just return to work, may provide a clearer picture of the relative effectiveness of different surgical interventions. To that end, the authors propose a return to work prognostic score called the Prognostic Cartilage Repair Return to Work Score, or PROCART-RTW score. © The Author(s) 2020.

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