Osteochondritis dissecans (OCD) of the knee can be difficult to treat. Cartilage restoration techniques are often indicated when the lesion or fragment cannot be salvaged and the patient remains symptomatic. Fresh osteochondral allograft (OCA) transplantation can restore both bone and cartilage defects characteristic of OCD.

We hypothesized that osteochondral allografting is a successful method for treating OCD of the knee.

Case series; Level of evidence, 4.

This study comprised 135 patients (149 knees) who underwent OCA for OCD of the knee (type III or IV) between 1997 and 2013 and had a minimum follow-up of 2 years. The median age was 21 years (range, 12-55 years) and 75.8% of the patients were male. The mean allograft size was 7.3 cm2 (range, 2.2-25 cm2). Evaluation included the following: frequency and type of reoperations; modified Merle d'Aubigné and Postel (18-point) scale; International Knee Documentation Committee (IKDC) pain, function, and total scores; and Knee Society function (KS-F) and knee (KS-K) scores. Clinical failure was defined as revision OCA or conversion to arthroplasty. Graft survivorship was determined.

The median follow-up time was 6.3 years (range, 1.9-16.8 years) and 62% of participants had more than 5-year follow-up. Thirty-four of 149 knees (23%) had reoperations, of which 12 (8%) were classified as allograft failures (7 OCA revisions, 3 unicompartmental knee arthroplasties, and 2 total knee arthroplasties). OCA survivorship was 95% at 5 years and 93% at 10 years. Of the 137 knees whose grafts were still in situ at the latest follow-up, the mean modified Merle d'Aubigné and Postel (18-point) score was 16.8; IKDC pain, function, and total scores were 2.1, 8.1, and 82.3; and KS-F and KS-K scores were 95.7 and 94.3, respectively. The majority of patients (95%) reported being satisfied with the outcome of their procedure.

OCA transplantation was an effective treatment for OCD of the knee, with a low rate of graft failure, significant improvement in pain and function scores, and high patient satisfaction.

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