Enhancement of healing in osteochondral defects by collagen sponge implants.


Speer DP , Chvapil M, Volz RG, Holmes MD




Clin Orthop


Implants of porous, highly cross-linked collagen sponge (CS) were tested for their capacity to enhance the healing of osteochondral defects in rabbits. Comparison was made to the healing of similar defects with polyvinyl alcohol sponge (PVAS) implants and with no implants (CONT). Evaluation was carried out up to 44 weeks following implantation and included observation of host cellular response, biodegradability of implant, gross appearance of restored joint surface, collagenous architecture of repair tissue, and properties of the junctions of implants and host articular cartilage, subchondral bone, and medullary bone. Collagen sponge proved most effective in promoting healing of osteochondral defects with fibrous and fibrocartilaginous tissue over restored subchondral bone. Collagen sponge showed many desirable properties as a potential material for biologic resurfacing of damaged joints. These properties included porosity, biodegradability, biocompatability, ability to mechanically protect cells and matrix while directing cell ingrowth, and an available chemical technology for modifying its biomechanical and biological properties. Comparative analysis of results of healing of CS, PVAS, and CONT osteochondral defects suggest rational design criteria for implant materials to improve their effectiveness in restoration of articular surfaces.