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Osteochondral allograft transplantation

, : Osteochondral allograft transplantation. Clinics in Sports Medicine 18(1): 67-75

Experience with fresh osteochondral allografting for cartilage defects in the knee now extends two decades. Clinical outcomes and basic scientific investigations have supported the theoretic basis for this procedure. At the University of California, San Diego, our experience has encouraged us to continue to offer this procedure as a primary treatment for both large and small articular cartilage defects in the young knee. The success rate of fresh osteochondral allografting, particularly in isolated femoral condylar defects, compares favorably with other presently available cartilage repair and resurfacing techniques. In our second hundred cases, which we are currently evaluating, failure of monopolar allografts has been exceedingly rare in short-term follow-up. Fresh osteochondral allografting also appears to be effective in treating larger osteochondral lesions, where there are few other attractive alternatives. Fresh osteochondral allografts can thus be used to treat a wide spectrum of articular pathology. Technical refinements, and improvement in our understanding of graft-host interaction, as well as chondrocyte biology, should continue to improve clinical results. Disadvantages of fresh osteochondral allografting include the relative paucity of donor tissue, complexities in procurement and handling, and the possibility of disease transmission through the transplantation of fresh tissue. At present, only institutions that have overcome these obstacles seem capable of routinely performing this type of articular cartilage transplantation. In the future, as tissue banking and cartilage storage technology advance, fresh allograft tissue may become more available, allowing more widespread use of fresh osteochondral allografting in the treatment of articular cartilage lesions.


PMID: 10028117

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