Osteochondral Autograft Transfer System (OATS®)

The Surgical Technique for Canine and Equine

Osteochondral autografting has been reported successful in canine, equine and human cases. Autografting has been used to treat osteochondrosis, trauma, cystic lesions and other articular defects in a variety of joints. Without treatment, these conditions are typically associated with pain, lameness, decreased range-ofmotion, and progressive osteoarthritis.

The OATS (Osteochondral Autograft Transfer System) facilitates templating of the defect, harvesting of 6, 8, and/or 10 mm cylindrical osteochondral autografts, and preparation of the recipient socket(s) for press-fit fixation of one or more grafts.

The cylindrical graft is harvested and then trimmed to its optimal depth (at least 8 mm). Recipient sockets are prepared with a guide pin and size-matched cannulated reamer to the exact depth of the graft.

The size-specific system includes a marking pen w/ruler, guide pin, Cannulated Headed Reamer, dual-sided Alignment Rod, Donor Harvester with Core Extruder, clear graft delivery tube, oversized Tamp, optional graft driver for tap-in insertion, and core extractor for removal and revision or replacement of the graft. Two critical aspects of the OATS procedure involve the careful harvest of the graft from the optimal donor sites and accurate recipient bed preparation. Donor site choice is based on availability of nonarticulating, nonweight-bearing hyaline cartilage with adequate thickness and surface contour.


The appropriate OATS set (6, 8 or 10 mm) is selected based on the size of the articular cartilage defect as measured with a sizer/tamp from the OATS Sizer/Tamp Set. Alternatively, graft size can be determined preoperatively based on highquality, calibrated CT or MR images.


Using the donor harvester in the OATS set, the osteoarticular graft is taken from the appropriate graft sites based on species, joint and surgeon’s preference. The site is chosen based on appearance, surface area, and contour of the articular cartilage.

The donor harvester is advanced through the cartilage and into bone to a depth of at least 8 mm as indicated by the laser marks on the outside of the metal tube. It is twisted clockwise 90˚ under pressure, back, and then a full clockwise revolution. The harvester is slightly and carefully toggled as it is withdrawn containing the graft.


The graft can be sized with the donor harvester using the metal tube, or the graft can be extruded, trimmed with blade, and measured with ruler.


Drill the guide pin into the center of the defect at least 15 mm deep. Advance the reamer over the guide pin and remove the defect and any related subchondral cystic changes to a depth to exactly match that of the graft.


The graduated cannulated OATS Alignment Rod of appropriate diameter is inserted over the guide pin to measure recipient socket depth and assess alignment. Remove both Alignment Rod and pin.


The graft is inserted into the recipient socket in optimal orientation for articular congruity.

Using an oversized Tamp with mallet, make sure the graft is flush with the articular surface.


Donor sites may be left untreated or filled with bone filler.


Joint is flushed prior to routine closure.

Postoperative Care Suggestions:

• Postoperative radiographs and a soft-padded bandage on the surgical site for 48-72 hours
• Administration of analgesic and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications for a minimum of 10 days
• Strict cage/kennel rest and leash walking only for 6 weeks after surgery
• After 6-8 week re-examination, allow progressive return to full function over subsequent 8 weeks


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