As orthopedic surgeons and sports medicine specialists, our goal with any injury or surgery is to allow you to return to whatever activity you love to do. Some surgeries present a greater risk of long-term damage, though. In this Ask Dr. Geier video, I discuss surgery for an OCD lesion (osteochondritis dissecans) of the knee and what you should consider after surgery.

Brianna asks:
My 18-year-old daughter suffers from OCD. In 2015, she had her left and then right knee repaired with pinning of loose fragments and drilling to improve blood flow. After recovery, she returned to playing competitive softball. In December 2017, a loose fragment was removed via arthroscopic surgery. Once again, she returned to softball after her recovery. She wants to play college ball, but is this a wise decision? There is little information on this condition in my opinion. Is there anything she can do to improve her knee’s future?

An OCD lesion is an area within the knee where the bone underneath a small area of cartilage starts to die. Over time, the cartilage can fragment as well, leaving a loose piece of bone and cartilage. Once a patient reaches maturity, these lesions rarely heal on their own.

Surgery usually aims to either fix the lesion in place until it heals or replace it with a cylinder of bone and cartilage to fill the defect. Several months after surgery for an OCD lesion, that area can become normal bone and cartilage.

Young female runner with pain after surgery for an OCD lesion

Sports medicine orthopedic surgeons generally try to allow you to return to sports after this surgery. There is some concern, though, that repetitive impact could injure that area again, leading to degenerative changes over time.

In this video, I discuss the pros and cons of sports and other physical activities after surgery for an OCD lesion.

Also read:
How long does it take to recover from surgery for an OCD lesion of the knee?
Should you play sports with an OCD lesion in your knee?

Please remember, while I appreciate your questions, I cannot and will not offer specific medical advice by email, on my website, on my podcast, or in social media. My responses are meant to provide general medical information and education. Please consult your physician or health care provider for your specific medical concerns.

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