Alexander E Weber, MD
Orthopaedic surgeon & sports Medicine specialist

Osteochondral Autologous Transfer Surgery: Restoring Joint Health Naturally

Sep 15, 2023
Osteochondral autologous transfer surgery (OATS) is a cutting-edge orthopedic procedure that offers hope to individuals suffering from joint cartilage damage. We will explore OATS, its benefits, and how it can help restore joint health naturally.

What is OATS?

OATS, also known as mosaicplasty, is a surgical procedure designed to repair localized cartilage defects in joints, most commonly in the knee. What sets OATS apart is its reliance on the patient's own healthy cartilage tissue, making it an autologous grafting technique. This means that the tissue used for repair comes from the same individual, reducing the risk of rejection and promoting natural healing.

How Does OATS Work?

During OATS surgery, a small section of healthy cartilage, along with a piece of the underlying bone, is harvested from a non-weight-bearing area of the joint. This harvested tissue is then transferred to the damaged area, where it is precisely fitted to fill the cartilage defect. The procedure is typically performed arthroscopically, minimizing invasiveness, and promoting quicker recovery.

Benefits of OATS:

  1. Natural Healing: OATS utilizes the patient's own tissue, allowing for natural integration with the existing joint structure.
  2. Long-term Relief: OATS has been shown to provide long-lasting pain relief and improved joint function.
  3. Minimized Risk: With no risk of tissue rejection, OATS reduces the likelihood of complications associated with other grafting techniques. 
  4. Faster Recovery: The minimally invasive nature of OATS often means shorter hospital stays and quicker return to normal activities.

Who is a Candidate for OATS?

OATS is typically recommended for individuals with small to medium-sized cartilage defects, especially in weight-bearing joints like the knee. Candidates are often those who have not responded well to conservative treatments, such as physical therapy or medications.


Osteochondral autologous transfer surgery offers a promising solution for those suffering from joint cartilage damage, providing a natural and effective means of restoring joint health. If you are experiencing persistent joint pain and have not found relief through conservative treatments, consult with an orthopedic specialist to determine if OATS is a suitable option for you. It's a step towards regaining mobility, reducing pain, and enjoying a more active life.