Patellofemoral Osteochondral Allograft Transplantation

Purpose: To describe the indications, surgical technique and rehabilitation for using a fresh osteochondral allograft (OCA) in patellofemoral reconstruction.


  • While patellofemoral cartilage defects are common, there are three main indications for using an OCA transplant:
    • Defects that have extensive damage to the subchondral bone
    • Defects that are due to severe trochlear dysplasia
    • Osteoarthritis in young patients who are not candidates for arthroplasty.
  • Depending on the size and severity of the defect, a dowel press-fit technique or a shell technique can be utilized.
  • The shell technique is a more challenging procedure and is often used in cases where the defect is very large, or when matching the curvature is more difficult.
  • Tissue banks can determine appropriate graft matches through the use of a patient’s magnetic resonance images.
  • Unless other concurrent procedures are being performed, patellofemoral resurfacing does not require prolonged weight bearing restrictions. Immediate ambulation with the knee locked in full extension is permitted as tolerated.
  • There is limited literature on outcomes but success has been described in more than 2/3 of patients.

JRF Ortho Take Away: The complex anatomy of the patellofemoral region makes resurfacing in this area a challenging procedure. However, successful outcomes with the press-fit and shell technique have been described.

Click here to access the abstract or full publication.

Authors: Andreas H. Gomoll, Jack Farr, Betina Hinckel

Published: Operative Techniques in Sports Medicine. Volume 23, Issue 2, June 2015, Pages 150-156

Institution: Brigham and Women’s Hospital