Studies of Articular Cartilage Repair from 2009 to 2018: A Bibliometric Analysis of Articles.


Duan WP(1)(2), Huang LA(1)(2), Dong ZQ(1)(2), Li HQ(1)(2), Guo L(1)(2), Song WJ(1)(2), Yang YF(1)(2), Li PC(1)(2), Wei XC(1)(2).
Author information:
(1)Department of Orthopaedics, Second Hospital of Shanxi Medical University, Taiyuan, China.
(2)Shanxi Key Laboratory of Bone and Soft Tissue Injury Repair, Taiyuan, China.


OBJECTIVE: To perform a bibliometric analysis of research on articular cartilage repair published in Chinese and English over the past decade. Fundamental and clinical research topics of high interest were further comparatively analyzed. METHODS: Relevant studies published from 1 January 2009 to 31 December 2018 (10 years) were retrieved from the Wanfang database (Chinese articles) and six databases, including MEDLINE, WOS, INSPEC, SCIELO, KJD, and RSCI on the website "Web of Science" (English articles), using key words: "articular cartilage" AND "injury" AND "repair". The articles were categorized according to research focuses for a comparative analysis between those published in Chinese vs English, and further grouped according to publication date (before and after 2014). A comparative analysis was performed on research focus to characterize the variation in research trends between two 5-year time spans. Moreover, articles were classified as basic and clinical research studies. RESULTS: Overall, 5762 articles were retrieved, including 2748 in domestic Chinese journals and 3014 in international English journals. A total of 4937 articles focused on the top 10 research topics, with the top 3 being stem cells (32.1%), tissue-engineered scaffold (22.8%), and molecular mechanisms (16.4%). Differences between the numbers of Chinese and English papers were observed for 3 topics: chondrocyte implantation (104 vs 316), osteochondral allograft (27 vs 86), and microfracture (127 vs 293). The following topics gained more research interest in the second 5-year time span compared with the first: microfracture, osteochondral allograft, osteochondral autograft, stem cells, and tissue-engineered scaffold. Articles with a focus on three-dimensional-printing technology have shown the fastest increase in publication numbers. Among 5613 research articles, basic research studies accounted for the majority (4429), with clinical studies described in only 1184 articles. The top 7 research topics of clinical studies were: chondrocyte implantation (28.7%), stem cells (21.9%), microfracture (19.2%), tissue scaffold (10.6%), osteochondral autograft (10.5%), osteochondral allograft (6.3%), and periosteal transplantation (2.8%). CONCLUSION: Studies focused on stem cells and tissue-engineered scaffolds led the field of damaged articular cartilage repair. International researchers studied allograft-related implantation approaches more often than Chinese researchers. Traditional surgical techniques, such as microfracture and osteochondral transplantation, gained high research interest over the past decade.