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Osteochondral Autograft Transfer System (OATS)

Your body’s joints are lined with a smooth tissue known as hyaline cartilage, which acts as a shock absorber and allows the bones to move easily within the joint. Normal wear-and-tear or injury can cause defects in the cartilage, leaving irregular articular surfaces that limit movement. Patients with this condition often experience pain, swelling and even disability. 


Osteochondral autograft transfer system (OATS) is one of the two types of cartilage transfer procedures that orthopaedic surgeons use to correct this condition. This procedure is typically reserved for patients under the age of 50 and with minimal cartilage damage. Cartilage transfer procedures, like OATS, involve moving plugs of healthy cartilage and bone from a non-weight-bearing area of the knee to a damaged area of cartilage in the knee. During an OATS procedure, the surgeon moves one or two large plugs, in contrast to a mosaicplasty, the other type of cartilage transfer procedure, which involves multiple tiny plugs. The transfer of this new cartilage will then go on to promote new cartilage growth and healing in the knee. 

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