Osteochondritis dissecans (OCD) is a complex problem of the knee that affects mainly young patients. If you have an OCD lesion in your knee, the bone just under a small area of articular cartilage starts to die. Sometimes the cartilage can break off, creating a loose OCD fragment.
Signs and symptoms of osteochondritis dissecans
Boys aged 10 to 15 typically suffer osteochondritis dissecans. You might notice dull pain or swelling. You can also start having catching or locking of the knee if the piece breaks free.
Treatment options and surgery for osteochondritis dissecans of the knee
In young athletes who are not finished growing, there is often a good chance that the lesion will heal on its own. Treatment in this situation often involves making the athlete nonweightbearing for many weeks to try to decrease stress on the lesion. If the lesion doesn’t heal, but it’s still in place with intact cartilage, the surgeon can drill holes into the lesion to try to stimulate healing.
If the OCD lesion does break away, surgery is usually necessary. The surgeon can occasionally try to put the lesion back in place and hold it with screws or pins. Other times it is a free-floating piece of bone and cartilage. The surgeon then replaces that defect with a cylinder of bone and cartilage from another location in your knee or from a donor.
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