Surgical Information – Procedures

Fresh Osteoarticular Allograft Knee Cartilage Reconstruction

What is fresh osteoarticular allograft knee cartilage reconstruction?

Fresh osteoarticular allograft knee cartilage reconstruction is an effective treatment to replace large areas of articular cartilage deficiency and restore function in the knee. Articular cartilage, which lines the bony surface of the knee, can be damaged through injury or degeneration. These defects often fail to heal on their own, causing pain, loss of function, disability and potential long-term complications such as osteoarthritis.

In many scenarios this is a minimally invasive procedure. The surgeon makes several small incisions around the knee joint, inserts a narrow fiber optic scope (called an arthroscope) to see inside the joint and replaces the damaged cartilage with an allograft from a donor. The transplanted cartilage and bone fills the deficient area and helps restore the knee's ability to bear weight in day-to-day activities. In some cases, are larger incision may be necessary to place the cartilage plug. This is ultimately dictated by the size of the cartilage defect.

Allografts are an effective alternative to synthetic implants because they mimic the biology of native tissue and can be transplanted in a single procedure. They offer long-term repair for cartilage damaged by osteochondritis dissecans, osteoarthritis, avascular necrosis and traumatic injury.

Anatomy

Your knee is the largest joint in your body and one of the most complex. It consists of three bones: the femur (thighbone), tibia (shinbone) and patella (kneecap). The ends of the femur and tibia, and the back of the patella, are covered with articular cartilage, which cushions the bones and helps them glide smoothly across each other as you bend or straighten your leg.

When is surgery recommended?

If injury or disease has damaged or destroyed the articular cartilage in your knee, and the condition has not healed on its own, you may be a candidate for fresh osteoarticular allograft reconstruction. However, this procedure is not for everyone. It's important that you consult a qualified orthopedic surgeon who can evaluate your case and recommend the best course of action.

What is the recovery time?

Fresh osteoarticular allograft knee cartilage reconstruction typically requires extensive rehabilitation. Most patients will be on crutches for 8 to 12 weeks after surgery before they can successfully bear weight on the joint again. This is followed by a lengthy physical therapy program to restore range of motion and relieve pain and swelling. Long-term follow-up care is required to maintain results.