About The OATS Procedure
The OATS procedure known in full as the Osteo Articular Transfer System is used to treat cartilage defects. This procedure which is also referred to as the mosaic system or mosaicplasty was developed with the aim of encouraging natural cartilage damage repair. The procedure involves transplanting healthy cartilage into the damaged area.
Small cartilage plugs are removed from areas of the knee joint that do not need cartilage and transplanted into the joint’s damaged area. It’s important to note that OATS is useful in treating focal cartilage damage only and cannot be used to treat cartilage damage that has been brought about by conditions such as osteoarthritis.
OATS is reserved for small cartilage damage areas of about 10 to 20 mm. Such cartilage damage is mostly seen in patients under the age of 50 and is mostly brought about by joint trauma.
During the procedure, the area with the defect is removed before being replaced by healthy tissue which is harvested from the patient. Although most Phoenix orthopedic surgeons will prefer to perform the OATS procedure arthroscopically, open surgery can be used as well.
Open surgery procedure is conducted when the damage is widespread. If the orthopedic doctor in Phoenix identifies that the cartilage damage is extensive, the procedure may not be used as it may not be very beneficial.
Advantages of the OATS Procedure
Studies show that OATS is one of the superior procedures when it comes to treating knee cartilage defects. According to a study which was conducted by researchers from Hospital for Special Surgery, only 40 percent of the patients who undergo a microfracture procedure are able to return to active sports. This is in stark contrast to the 90 percent who are able to return to their normal sporting activities after undergoing to the OATS procedure.
The microfracture procedure is the standard cartilage treatment in the U.S. This is changing and for obvious reasons. With such great results from the OATS procedure its clear why Phoenix orthopedic doctors and patients alike are more inclined to go for the OATS procedure as opposed to the mircofracture procedure.
Fixing lesions has been known to prevent osteoarthritis and with OATS, the patient can quickly get back to his normal active lifestyle. The OATS procedure does not have major side effects and this is because healthy tissue is sourced from the patient which means that the risks of infection are minimal.
That said, like all surgical procedures there are risks and the major downside to this procedure is the fact that it leaves the donor area with a defect. Most of the time this poses no problem but if the patient has had prior anterior knee pain, then they could experience more pain.On the bright side;the procedure has high success rates and because most of the time the surgery is conducted arthroscopically, healing is much faster.
The OATS procedure is indeed the superior treatment for cartilage defects. It encourages a natural cartilage healing process thanks to the transplant of the healthy cartilage.