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Knee. 2006 Jan;13(1):32-5. Epub 2005 Aug 26.

Autologous osteochondral transplantation for the treatment of chondral defects of the knee.

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  • 1Royal Orthopaedic Hospital, Bristol Road South, Birmingham B31 2AP, UK.


Full-thickness chondral defects of weight-bearing articular surfaces of the knee are a difficult condition to treat. Our aim is to evaluate the mid- and long-term functional outcome of the treatment of osteochondral defects of the knee with autologous osteochondral transplantation with the OATS technique. Thirty-six patients (37 procedures) were included in this study. Twenty-three patients were male and thirteen were female with a mean age of 31.9 years (range: 18-48 years). The cause of the defect was OCD in 10 cases, AVN in 2, lateral patellar maltracking in 7, while in the remaining 17 patients the defect was post-traumatic. The lesion was located on the femoral condyles in 26 cases and the patellofemoral joint in the remaining 11. The average area covered was 2.73 cm(2) (range: 0.8-12 cm(2)) and patients were followed for an average of 36.9 months (range: 18-73 months). The average score in their Tegner Activity Scale was 3.76 (range: 1-8), while their score in Activities of Daily Living Scale of the Knee Outcome Survey ranged from 18 to 98 with an average of 72.3. Thirty-two out of 37 patients (86.5%) reported improvement of their pre-operative symptoms. All but 5 patients returned to their previous occupation while 18 went back to sports. No correlation was found between patient age at operation, the size or site of the chondral lesion and the functional outcome. We believe that autologous osteochondral grafting with the OATS technique is a safe and successful treatment option for focal osteochondral defects of the knee. It offers a very satisfactory functional outcome and does not compromise the patient's future options.

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