How is OATS Done?
Dr. Mazzara performs the OATS procedure in four steps:
- He begins with an arthroscopic inspection of the knee joint to find the area of cartilage damage that is suitable for a cartilage transfer. The arthroscope (small surgical camera) is then removed from the knee and an open incision is made.
- Step two – The area of damaged cartilage is prepared by using a coring tool to make perfectly round holes in the bone where there is damage. The small hole or holes are sized to fit the plug.
- Step three – Dr. Mazzara will harvest the plug of normal bone and cartilage from either the patient, or from the donor source.
- Step four – The plug is placed in the area of damage. The plug fits tightly and over time, the implanted bone and cartilage will incorporate into its new environment, healing the damaged area.
Why Would I Need a Cartilage Transfer?
Chondral lesions may be degenerative condition, often caused by osteoarthritis – a “wear and tear” problem. Tears can also be caused by an injury, such as falling on the knee or during sports by rapidly changing direction. Symptoms do not always occur at first, because there are no nerves in the cartilage. Over time, damage to the cartilage can cause joint pain, inflammation and limited mobility. The OATS procedure is ideal for patients with small areas of cartilage damage that can be easily repaired with a graft.
What is the Recovery Time After an OATS Procedure?
Osteochondral autograft transfer is highly successful when patients are appropriately selected for the procedure. After the OATS surgery, patients will need to be non-weight bearing on the joint for approximately 6 weeks and will need to use a continuous passive motion (CPM) device for 6-8 hours a day to maintain range of motion in the knee. After 6 weeks, patients may begin to put weight on the joint as tolerated. Patients are required to undergo an extensive physical therapy program designed to strengthen the surrounding joint muscles and keep the knee mobile. Overall pain free function should be achieved in 5 or 6 months.
If you are interested in learning more about osteochondral autograft transfer or osteochondral allograft transplant procedure known as OATS, please contact the orthopedic offices of Dr. James Mazzara, knee surgeon in Manchester, South Windsor, Enfield, Glastonbury and surrounding Hartford communities.