Return to Sport and Recreational Activity After Osteochondral Allograft Transplantation in the Knee

Purpose: To assess osteochondral allograft (OCA) survivorship in an athletic patient population as well as determine the level of sport patients are able to return to post-operatively.


  • Few studies have reported on the rate of return to sport after an OCA transplantation
  • 149 knees were included in this study – 45% were highly competitive athletes and 55% were considered well-trained and frequently sporting
  • 75.2% had returned to sport/recreational activity at a mean follow-up of 6 years
  • Those who did not return to sport were more likely to be female, have a larger graft size and were not injured during a sporting activity
  • Survivorship of the graft was 91% at 5 years and 89% at 10 years
  • Pain and function improved pre-operatively to latest follow-up on all measures

JRF Ortho Take Away: OCA transplantation can be a successful solution for cartilage injuries in athletes as it allows the majority of patients to resume their highly active lifestyles.

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Authors: E. Scott Nielsen, Julie C. McCauley, Pamela A. Pulido, William D. Bugbee

Published: The American Journal of Sports Medicine. 2017 Jun;45(7):1608-1614

Institution: Scripps Clinic

Level of Evidence: IV