Cartilage injuries in the knee are common and can occur in isolation or in combination with limb malalignment, meniscus, ligament, and bone deficiencies. Each of these problems must be addressed to achieve a successful outcome for any cartilage restoration procedure. If nonsurgical management fails, surgical treatment is largely based on the size and location of the cartilage defect. Preservation of the patient's native cartilage is preferred if an osteochondral fragment can be salvaged. Chondroplasty and osteochondral autograft transfer are typically used to treat small (< 2 cm) cartilage defects. Microfracture has not been shown to be superior to chondroplasty alone and has potential adverse effects, including cyst and intralesional osteophyte formation. Osteochondral allograft transfer and matrix-induced autologous chondrocyte implantation are often used for larger cartilage defects. Particulated juvenile allograft cartilage is another treatment option for cartilage lesions that has good to excellent short-term results but long-term outcomes are lacking.

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