Use of Osteochondral Allograft Transplantation for Primary Treatment of Cartilage Lesions in Knee

Purpose:  Osteochondral allograft (OCA) transplantation is typically utilized as a salvage procedure after other more conservative methods have failed.  The purpose of this study was to evaluate OCA transplantation outcomes when the procedure is used as a primary treatment method for cartilage injuries in the knee.


  • 55 patients (61 knees) were included that had not undergone previous surgery on the affected knee
  • Lesions were generally large (mean = 9.6 cm2) and subchondral bone was involved
  • Pain and function scores improved from pre-operative evaluation to post-operative follow-up on all scales
  • 86% of patients were “extremely satisfied” or “satisfied”
  • Survivorship was 89.5% at 5 years and 74.7% at 10 years
  • Eighteen knees (29.5%) had further surgery
  • Characteristics distinguishing transplantation success versus failure included diagnosis, graft location, graft size and patient age.

Take Away: OCA transplantation is an acceptable primary treatment method for some defects of the knee and failure of a previous surgery should not have to be a prerequisite for transplantation.

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Authors: Dustin T. Briggs, Kamran N. Sadr, Pamela A. Pulido and William D. Bugbee

Published: Cartilage. 2015 Oct;6(4):203-7.

Study Design: Case Series