Osteochondral and Meniscal Allograft Transplantation in the Football (Soccer) Player
Knee injuries are common in football, frequently involving damage to the meniscus and articular cartilage. These injuries can cause significant disability, result in loss of playing time, and predispose players to osteoarthritis. Osteochondral allografting is an increasingly popular treatment option for osteoarticular lesions in athletes. Osteochondral allografts provide mature, orthotopic hyaline cartilage on an osseous scaffold that serves as an attachment vehicle, which is rapidly replaced via creeping substitution, leading to reliable graft integration that allows for simplified rehabilitation and accelerated return to sport. The indications for meniscal replacement in football players are currently still evolving. Meniscus allografts offer potential functional, analgesic, and chondroprotective benefits in the meniscectomized knee. In the player at the end of his or her professional/competitive career, meniscal allografts can play a role in averting progression of chondropenia and facilitating knee function and an active lifestyle. This article is intended to present a concise overview of the limited published results for osteochondral and meniscal allografting in the athletic population and to provide a practical treatment algorithm that is of relevance to the clinician as well as the patient/football player, based on current consensus of opinion.
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