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Osteochondral Allograft Transfer

Osteochondral Allograft Transfer

Osteochondral allograft transfer, also known as the OATS procedure, is a surgical technique used to treat large cartilage defects in the knee. This procedure involves the transplantation of a plug of cartilage and underlying bone from a cadaver donor into the affected area of the patient's knee joint.



  • Large, symptomatic cartilage defects in the knee that have not responded to non-surgical treatments such as physical therapy or medication

  • Young, active patients who have a high demand for knee function

  • Patients with a single, well-defined cartilage defect in the knee joint


The OATS procedure is best suited for patients with a large, well-defined area of cartilage damage in the knee joint, which involve the underlying subchondral bone. Patients with multiple or diffuse areas of cartilage damage may not be good candidates for this procedure.




During the surgery, the damaged cartilage and underlying bone are removed from the patient's knee joint. A matching plug of cartilage and bone is then taken from a cadaver donor and transplanted into the defect in the patient's knee joint. The plug is secured in place using screws or pins, and the patient's knee is closed up.




Recovery from the OATS procedure typically involves several months of physical therapy and rehabilitation. Patients may need to use crutches or a brace for several weeks following surgery to protect the knee joint. Rehabilitation focuses on restoring range of motion, strength, and stability to the knee joint.


Patients are typically able to return to light activities such as walking and swimming within several weeks to a few months following surgery. However, return to high-impact activities such as running or jumping may take several months or more. It is important for patients to follow their surgeon's rehabilitation plan closely in order to achieve the best possible outcome.

Overall, the OATS procedure is a promising treatment option for patients with large, well-defined cartilage defects in the knee joint. With proper rehabilitation and recovery, many patients are able to achieve significant improvement in knee function and return to their previous level of activity.

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