Total joint arthroplasty is the common treatment of severe cases of osteoarthritis. However, complications involving failure of the bone-prosthesis interface are significant, especially in ankle arthroplasty. To prevent this complication, we attempted a tissue engineering approach using the mesenchymal cells of the patient. We collected a small amount of fresh bone marrow cells from the patient's iliac crest and expanded the number of mesenchymal cells. We then applied the mesenchymal cells to a ceramic ankle prosthesis and cultured them to form an osteoblasts/bone matrix on the prosthesis. We used tissue engineered prostheses on three patients suffering from ankle arthritis and followed their progress for at least 2 years. Follow-up X-ray examinations revealed early radiodense appearance (bone formation) around the cell-seeded areas of the prostheses about 2 months after the operation after which a stable host bone-prosthesis interface was established. All patients showed high clinical scores after the operation and did not exhibit inflammatory reactions. These preliminary results indicate that the tissue engineering approach using autologous cultured marrow mesenchymal cells might prevent aseptic loosening of the total ankle arthroplasty. © 2004 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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