Fresh Osteochondral Grafts Work BestSevere cartilage damage in the knee can be repaired with the use of donor tissue. Plugs of cartilage with attached bone can be harvested after a donor's death. The donor tissue is called an osteochondral allograft or OCA. These grafts have the best results when they are transplanted within 28 days.
Research at the Cartilage Restoration Center (Rush University Medical Center) has made the news. OCA was placed in 25 live patients with knee pain and problems from osteochondral damage. The results show an 84 percent satisfaction level among patients. Activity level and symptoms (including pain level) are best when the graft is implanted less than 28 days after removal from the donor.
Follow-up three years later showed 88 percent of the grafts were accepted and incorporated into the knee. The new cartilage and layer of bone had become a functional part of the knee joint. X-rays confirmed the results.
The results of this study match the results of other studies for grafts implanted within seven days of harvest. The scientists suggest surgeons pay attention to their recommended graft age of less than 28 days. Grafts older than that may give less than satisfactory results for patients.
Matt Hasson. Osteochondral Allograft Implants Work. In Orthopedics Today. March 2006. Vol. 26. No. 3. Pp. 10.
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