Background: Fresh-stored osteochondral allografts have been used successfully to resurface large chondral and osteochondral defects of the knee. However, there are limited data available for the return to athletic activity.

Purpose: To review the rate of return to athletic activity after osteochondral allograft transplantation in the knee and to identify any potential risk factors for not returning to sport.

Study Design: Case series; Level of evidence, 4.

Methods: Forty-three athletes were treated with fresh-stored osteochondral allograft transplantation for symptomatic large chondral or osteochondral defects of the knee from 2000 to 2010. The average age of the athletes (30 men, 13 women) was 32.9 years (range, 18-49 years). Patients were prospectively evaluated by International Knee Documentation Committee (IKDC), activities of daily living scale of the Knee Injury and Osteoarthritis Outcome Score (KOOS), Marx Activity Rating Scale, and Cincinnati Sports Activity Scale scores. A multivariable regression analysis was performed to identify potential risk factors for failure to return to sport at the preinjury level.

Results: At an average 2.5-year follow-up, limited return to sport was possible in 38 of 43 athletes (88%), with full return to the preinjury level achieved in 34 of 43 athletes (79%). In these 34 athletes, time to return to sport was 9.6 ± 3.0 months. Age ≥25 years (P = .04) and preoperative duration of symptoms greater than 12 months (odds ratio, 37; P = .003) negatively affected the ability to return to sport. In the athletes who returned to their previous level of competition, IKDC (P < .001), KOOS (P = .02), and Marx Activity Rating Scale (P < .001) scores were all significantly greater than in those athletes who did not return to sport.

Conclusion: Osteochondral allograft transplantation in an athletic population for chondral and osteochondral defects in the knee allows for a high rate of return to sport. Risk factors for not returning to sport included age ≥25 years and preoperative duration of symptoms ≥12 months.


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