Correlation between histopathologic and radiological changes in articular cartilage of the knee joint with degenerative joint disease

Hakan Cift, Ali Seker, Bulent Kilic, Murat Demiroglu, Asli Erdogan Cakir, Mehmet Isyar, Murat Bulbul, Mahir Mahirogullari


Background: Osteoarthritis (OA) of the knee is among the most common disabling diseases which may cause pain and decrease in functional status. It is the commonest form of arthritis and is most prevalent in the elderly, with 50% of adults aged 65-75 years and almost 70% of those 75+ years suffer from this disease. The aim of this study was to investigate consistency of radiologic findings with histomorphologic structure of bone in patients with severe gonarthrosis.

Methods: 62 knees of 57 patients over 60 years old who had stage 3-4 gonarthrosis according to Kellgren-Lawrence classification were included in the study. Patients were separated into two groups as having stage 3 or stage 4 gonarthrosis. All the patients underwent total knee replacement procedure. During the operation distal femoral medial/lateral condyle and proximal tibial medial/lateral plateau were removed and sent to histologic examination for the measurement of thickness of cartilage layer and subchondral bone, number and thickness of trabeculae, space between two trabeculae.

Results: Average thickness of subchondral bone was measured at stage 3 gonarthrosis and at stage 4 gonarthrosis. Only the difference between medial tibial condyle values of two groups was statistically significant. Average trabecula thickness was measured both at stage 3 and at stage 4 gonarthrosis. Only the difference between lateral tibial condyle values of two groups was statistically significant. Furthermore, as for the number of trabeculas and cavity between trabeculae, a significant difference couldn’t be found.

Conclusions: Despite having radiological differences two groups can be said to show similar histopathological characteristics.


Gonarthrosis, Kellgren-Lawrence classification, Subchondral bone

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