Abstract The objective of the study was to evaluate the tissue types filling 4-mm diameter defects in the canine trochlear groove 1.5, 3, and 6 months after autologous chondrocyte implantation (ACI). Untreated defects served as controls. Periosteum alone controls were also included at the 1.5-month time period. The results were compared with previously published findings obtained 12 and 18 months postoperative. After 3 months the ACI-treated defects contained significantly more reparative tissue than found in the untreated control group, including twice the amount of hyaline cartilage (HC). These findings, however, were the only significant effects of the ACI treatment when compared to the periosteum alone or empty control groups. The benefits of ACI found at 3 months did not persist to longer time periods. An evaluation of the inter-observer error associated with the histomorphometric method indicated that it was generally less than the inter-animal variation in the results.