Athletes and highly active patients who received an osteochondral allograft (OCA) transplantation as treatment for a knee cartilage injury were able to return to sport or play after the surgery, a recent study notes.

The study, presented recently during the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine’s (AOSSM) Annual Meeting, notes also that the return to play or activity was frequently at a lower activity level.

“We examined the success of osteochondral allograft transplantation in 149 knees, and found 113, or 76% of those treated with the surgery, had returned to activity at an average follow-up of 6 years,” says William Bugbee, MD, the study’s lead author, in a media release from AOSSM.

“Patients who are highly active can be discouraged by these types of injuries, so we are happy to see the success of this treatment option,” adds Bugbee, from Scripps Clinic in La Jolla, Calif.

An OCA involves transplantation of donated osteochondral tissue to a defect in the recipient patient’s knee joint. In this study, the average age of the subjects was 31 years old, with 59% being male. While the study showed positive statistics relating to general return to activity, only 28% returned at the same level pre-injury, and 48% returned to one or more but not all of the same sports and activities, the release explains.

“We also saw an overall 90% survivorship of the transplanted grafts at a 6-year follow-up,” Bugbee notes. “This presents further evidence that the procedure, especially in those individuals who are highly active, can be positive for recovery and future athletic goals.”

[Source(s): American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine, Science Daily]