Treatments for Osteochondral Defects
Articular cartilage has no blood supply and its ability to repair itself is poor. Studies have shown that these lesions tend to progress in size and severity, affecting the rest of the articular cartilage and predisposing you to suffer from an early onset of arthritis, Once an osteochondral defect occurs, it must be identified and treated accordingly.
Treatment depends upon the size of the osteochondral defect and the condition of the overlying cartilage. For small-sized defects with intact cartilage, our treatment of choice is Retrograde Drilling of the lesion and filling it with a special bone cement. This allows us to treat the bone defect without affecting the cartilage. Should the cartilage be disrupted, then microdrilling or micropicking of the surface of the bone is preferred, stimulating the formation of fibrocartilage to replace the original cartilage that has been lost.
Larger lesions do not heal as well with the above-mentioned procedures as small defects do. Thus, they require a different approach to replace the damaged cartilage in the form of an Osteochondral Autologous Transfer (OATS), by which a graft of bone and cartilage is taken from the knee and implanted into the site of the defect.