Surgical Management of Osteochondral Defects of the Knee: An Educational Review

Curr Rev Musculoskelet Med. 2021 Feb;14(1):60-66. doi: 10.1007/s12178-020-09685-1. Epub 2021 Feb 15.


Purpose of review: Numerous surgical techniques are available to treat osteochondral defects of the knee. The aim of this review is to analyse these procedures, including their methodology, outcomes and limitations, to create a treatment algorithm for optimal management.

Recent findings: Osteochondral defects of the knee significantly alter the biomechanics of the joint. This can cause symptomatic and functional impairment as well as considerable risk of progressive joint degeneration. Surgical interventions aim to restore a congruent, durable joint surface providing symptomatic relief and reducing the risk of early arthritic changes. These methods include fixation, chondroplasty, microfracture, autologous matrix-induced chondrogenesis, autograft transplants, allograft transplants and autologous chondrocyte implantation. There is currently much debate as to which of these methods provides optimal treatment of osteochondral defects. The overall evidence supports the use of each technique depending on the individual characteristics of the lesion. New technologies provide exciting prospects; however, long-term outcomes for these are not yet available.

Keywords: Autograft; Autologous; Cartilage; Knee; Osteochondral; Osteochondritis dissecans.

Publication types

  • Review