Epidemiology of pediatric cartilage restoration procedures in the United States: insurance and geography play a role

Tyler B. Hall, Max J. Hyman, Neeraj M. Patel*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: The purpose of this study is to analyze the epidemiology of children and adolescents undergoing osteochondral autograft transplantation (OAT), osteochondral allograft transplantation (OCA), and autologous chondrocyte implantation (ACI) in the United States. Methods: The Pediatric Health Information System, a national database consisting of 49 children’s hospitals, was queried for all patients undergoing OAT, OCA, and ACI between 2012 and 2018. Demographic information was collected for each subject. United States Census guidelines were used to categorize hospitals geographically. Univariate analysis was followed by purposeful entry multivariate regression to adjust for confounding factors. Results: A total of 809 subjects with a mean age of 15.4 ± 2.4 years were included in the analysis. Of these, 48.6% underwent OCA, 41.9% underwent OAT, and 9.5% underwent ACI. After adjusting for confounders in a multivariate model, ACI was 3.6 times more likely to be performed in patients with private insurance than those that were publicly insured (95% CI 1.6–8.0, p = 0.002). Furthermore, a patient in the Northeast was 33.1 times more likely to undergo ACI than in the West (95% CI 4.5–246.1, p = 0.001). OAT was performed most frequently in the West and Midwest (52.4% and 51.8% of the time, respectively; p < 0.001). Conclusion: In the United States, there is substantial variation in the procedures performed for cartilage restoration in children and adolescents. Though ACI is the least commonly selected operation overall, it is significantly more likely to be performed on patients with private insurance and those in the Northeast.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)153-157
Number of pages5
JournalPhysician and Sportsmedicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2023


  • Osteochondritis dissecans
  • autologous chondrocyte implantation
  • osteochondral allograft transplantation
  • osteochondral autograft transplantation
  • pediatric cartilage defect

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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