Dale Says

November 4, 2006

Allograft OATS — Waiting for a Call

Filed under: Knee Surgery — Dale @ 1:06 pm

The phone’s not going to ring today.  It’s Saturday, and my doctor’s office is closed.  But each weekday I wait for the phone call that will tell me donor tissue has been received and I’m to report to the surgery center.

The cartilage is missing from the inside of my right knee.  It’s been a long-term process, involving several surgeries, lots of pain, and the realization that I need to take more drastic action to “fix” the problem.  Allograft OATS seems like the best solution for me.

Osteochrondal transplant (OATS procedure) is performed on knees that have suffered large areas of surface cartilage loss (grade IV chrondromalacia).  The procedure involves removing a cylinder-shaped dowel of bone from the knee and replacing it with a dowel of bone with good cartilage.  Both dowels are the same size so when they are switched there is a press fit and no hardware is need to secure it in place.

The replacement bone with good cartilage can come from a non-weight bearing area of the patient’s knee (autograft) or from a cadaver (allograft).  In my case, it will come from a cadaver.  That’s why I’m waiting for a phone call.  A tissue donor with good cartilage will die, my knee surgeon will receive the cartilage from the donor’s knee, and it will be transplanted into my knee.  It’s gruesome, but a remarkable alternative to knee replacement, which is not a good long-term solution for someone my age (55).  Knee replacements tend to last 10-15 years, then a second replacement needs to be performed.  The second one is much more difficult than the first, as less bone is available to work with.

So I’m waiting for the phone to ring …

24 Comments »

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