PurposeThe aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of Ringer's lactate (RL) solutions with different pH values on early histologic healing in a microfracture model in vivo. The null hypothesis of the presented study is that irrigation fluids with lower pH (6.4) have negative effects on fibrous cartilage healing.MethodsEighteen Wistar albino rats were randomly divided into three groups. Anterior midline incision was performed. Microfracture procedure was performed with a 1.2mm k-wire at the lateral femoral condyle of each knee. the skin was sutured and joints were irrigated for 30min with low pH (6.4) RL in Group 1, high pH (7.6) RL in Group 2 and no irrigation in Group 3. Three rats from each group were randomly selected and killed on the 3rd and 7th day. On the 3rd day, the healed chondral area was examined. On the 3rd and 7th day, the chondral depth and morphology were evaluated. On the 7th day, bone cellularity was assessed with osteoblast; osteoclast number and bone quality were evaluated with trabecular area and the number of trabeculae.ResultsChondral healing area on the 3rd day was significantly higher in Group 1 compared to other groups. Chondral morphology was also qualitatively superior in Group 1 compared to other groups on the 3rd and 7th day. There were no differences in chondral depths between the groups on the 3rd day; however, increased chondral depths were observed in Group 1on the 7th day. There were statistically significant increases in trabecular area and the number of trabeculae, as well as the number of osteoblasts and osteoclasts in Group 1on the 7th day.ConclusionsThe presented study revealed that low pH irrigation fluids have positive effects on the healing characteristics of intra-articular fibrous cartilage after microfracture procedure in vivo. In light of this study, we can assume that lower pH solutions could be safely used during microfracture procedures and it can also facilitate intra-articular fibrous cartilage formation and cartilage healing. Selection of irrigation solution is also important for intra-articular fibrous cartilage healing after microfracture procedure in vivo.