2023 Albert Trillat Young Investigator's Award Winner

Lika Dzidzishvili MD, SPAIN

Presentation Title: Medial meniscus posterior root repair delays but not avoids histological progression of osteoarthritis: A randomized in vivo experimental study

The ISAKOS Congress in Boston was quite a unique experience for me. After two. years of hard work on my PhD project intercalated with the residency program, I received one of the most important recognitions—the Albert Trillat Young Investigator's Award. Dr. Trillat was a pioneer in knee surgery and sports traumatology. He was president and founder of the International Society of the Knee. This award provides recognition for a young researcher who has done outstanding clinical laboratory research contributing to the understanding, care, and prevention of injuries to the knee. It is an immense honor to have received this recognition from a very important society, and I'm highly encouraged to follow the path with further contributions to the field of knee surgery.

With investigation comes the opportunity to change things. The desire and need to keep improving as a resident has been my motto throughout the last few years. That also meant seeking out learning opportunities during my final years of the residency program that would prepare me to be a knowledgeable physician. This strong commitment to evidence-based medicine is one of the main missions of ISAKOS, which is advancing the worldwide dissemination of research and makes this society unique and youth-inspiring.

Over the past decades, there has been an increasing awareness of osteoarthritic progression in patients with meniscal root tears. Since the existing literature was limited to retrospective and small cohort studies, we conducted an in-vivo randomized study in a rabbit model with the main goal to describe and compare the histopathological changes after 3 different treatment options for meniscal root tears. The awarded paper was entitled ¨Medial meniscus posterior root repair delays but doesn´t avoid histological progression of osteoarthritis: A randomized in vivo experimental study.¨ The main purpose of this study was to answer the following questions: (1) “Does meniscal root repair avoids osteoarthritic progression?” and (2) “Is conservative treatment of a radial root tears associated with less osteoarthritic changes than partial meniscectomy?” The histopathological evidence showed that, in fact, meniscus root repair could not completely arrest the histopathological progression of knee osteoarthritis but lead to significantly less severe degenerative changes than partial meniscectomy and nonoperative treatment. Partial meniscectomy led to the most severe osteoarthritic progression, while stable radial tears left in situ presented lower progression compared to partial meniscectomy.

Histological assessment is an essential tool and metric for guiding and understanding osteoarthritic features, providing insight into the disease development and progression. The findings of the research would be the judicious way to use best evidence in decision-making about the care of our patients. The knowledge can help to develop and test the efficacy of future augmented techniques with the main goal: to obtain the maximum benefit for our patients.

This award was earned thanks to the surgeons and researchers from Hospital Universitario Fundación Jimenez Díaz (Madrid, Spain), especially, to my PhD advisors: Dr. Irene Isabel López-Torres and Dr. Emilio Calvo. The significant efforts put in by each researcher, from randomization to ensuring an accurate surgical technique are to be applauded. The human and financial resources that are required to perform an experimental study are enormous and this recognition of an ISAKOS is highly appreciated by our team.

The learning experience during the ISAKOS Congress was incredible, as usual. It clearly demonstrated that ISAKOS is an inclusive society that brings people together to generate global high-quality research, which carries tremendous value for advancing patient care. I was also personally thrilled to meet the excellent faculty and leaders in the fields of sports medicine and knee surgery who were highly motivated and inspired me when I was a junior.

Many thanks for organizing this very enjoyable and academically profitable meeting, in all possible respects. I enjoyed meeting so many people from so many different places. I do appreciate ISAKOS’s hard work with the organization and engagement of the conference, and needless to say, great hospitality!