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Magnetic Resonance Imaging Evidence of Postoperative Cyst Formation Does Not Appear to Affect Clinical Outcomes After Autologous Osteochondral Transplantation of the Talus

      Purpose

      To identify potential cysts using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) after autologous osteochondral transplantation (AOT) for osteochondral lesions of the talus (OLTs) as well as to determine the effect of cysts on short-term clinical outcomes.

      Methods

      Eighty-nine MRI scans of 37 patients who had AOT for an OLT were evaluated. Radiographic variables examined included cyst presence, cyst location, bone edema, and cartilage integrity. Patient clinical variables recorded and examined for association with the presence of a cyst included gender, age, preoperative lesion size, size and number of osteochondral graft used, symptoms reported, and pre- and postoperative Foot and Ankle Outcome Score (FAOS) and Short Form-12 (SF-12) scores measured at final follow-up.

      Results

      Twenty-four patients (64.8%) had MRI evidence of cystic change after AOT for an OLT at a mean MRI follow-up time of 15 months after surgery (range 2-54). Patients with presence of a cyst after surgery were older (mean age, 42.7 years) than those without cysts (mean age, 32.7 years) (P = .041), and among patients with a cyst, older patients more often had involvement of the subchondral plate (57.3 v 36.7 years) (P < .001). No other variables associated with cyst formation had statistical significance. Mean patient FAOS scores increased from 50 (±19) preoperatively to 87 (±8) postoperatively. Mean SF-12 scores increased from 52 (±18) preoperatively to 85 (±6) postoperatively. Patients not identified as having a cyst had lower SF-12 (P = .028) and FAOS (P = .032) preoperative scores and more improvement in SF-12 (P = .006) and FAOS (P = .016) scores than patients with cysts.

      Conclusions

      Postoperative cyst formation on MRI was found to be a common occurrence after AOT for OLT. Although increasing age was related to increased cyst prevalence, the clinical impact of cyst formation was not found to be significant at short-term follow-up. Continued long-term longitudinal follow-up of postoperative cysts is needed.

      Level of Evidence

      Level IV, prognostic case series.
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