Cook, Stephen D.; Salkeld, Samantha L.; Patron, Laura P.; Doughty, Elizabeth S.; Jones, Deryk G.
Background: Low-intensity pulsed ultrasound promotes the enchondral portion of fracture healing, which has a direct stimulatory effect on cartilage formation and maturation.; Hypothesis: Daily ultrasound treatment positively affects the repair and incorporation of modified autologous osteochondral plugs in a canine model.; Study Design: Controlled laboratory study. Methods: In 18 dogs, 2 autologous plugs separated from host cartilage by a 1.5-mm gap were created on the medial femoral condyle in both knees of each dog. One knee was treated daily with a clinically available ultrasound bone stimulator. Animals were sacrificed after 6 and 12 weeks of therapy and the articular surfaces evaluated grossly and histologically.; Results: Ultrasound-treated sites had significantly improved gross appearance at 6 weeks and histologic appearance at 6 and 12 weeks. The interface repair tissue of ultrasound-treated sites had a more normal translucent appearance than control sites. Ultrasound treatment improved the cell morphologic characteristics of the interface repair tissue and increased subchondral bone regeneration. Bonding of the interface repair tissue between plug and adjacent cartilage was significantly improved compared with control sites.; Conclusion: Low-intensity pulsed ultrasound improved interface cartilage repair of autologous osteochondral plugs compared with controls in a canine model.; Clinical Relevance: Improvements in the quality and rate of repair of autologous osteochondral plugs may reduce postoperative recovery time and improve functional outcome.