Osteochondral transplantation is one method of treating full-thickness cartilage tears in the knee. The usual location of these tears is at the end of the upper thigh bone where it connects to the knee.
The cartilage used can come from the patient or from a donor. It's best if the surgeon can use the patient's own tissue. This is called an autograft. But sometimes the tear is too large to harvest enough of the patient's own cartilage cells. In that case, donor tissue is used.
Donor tissue is called allograft tissue. It comes from cadaver's (bodies preserved after death). Family members are not called upon to find a tissue match and/or make a match.