Osteoarticular transfer system (OATS) surgery is a procedure that’s performed to replace damaged cartilage in the knee. OATS involves removing healthy cartilage from one area of the knee where there’s minimal need for it and implanting it in place of damaged cartilage to form a smooth layer of cartilage. Hyaline cartilage – the cartilage that lines the bones in the knee and other joints – is responsible for helping the joint glide smoothly, so any damage to this area can cause pain and loss of knee function. OATS can help reduce pain and restore the knee to normal function.
OATS is performed using these steps:
- A surgeon will typically first perform an arthroscopic investigation. This means they will look inside the joint using an arthroscope – a thin, lighted camera – to evaluate the extent of cartilage damage.
- Healthy cartilage will be taken from a non-weight-bearing section of the knee.
- The damaged cartilage within the knee joint will be removed.
- The graft – or grafts, if multiple are needed – of healthy cartilage will be implanted in place of the damaged cartilage, allowing healthy cartilage to grow there.
If you’re experiencing knee pain or loss of function due to cartilage damage, schedule an appointment with Dr. Ira Guttentag at Florida Medical Orthopaedics, Sports Medicine & Spine to see if you’re a good candidate for OATS surgery. Dr. Guttentag is highly experienced at performing OATS and other knee treatments, and he would be pleased to evaluate your knee and explain the treatment options that are available.