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Osteochondritis Dissecans facts

  • Osteochondritis Dissecans is a joint condition whereby a variable amount of bone and its adjacent cartilage loses its blood supply.
  • The cause of Osteochondritis Dissecans is often unclear.
  • Symptoms include joint pain, stiffness, and even locking of the joint.
  • Osteochondritis Dissecans is best diagnosed with imaging studies.
  • Arthroscopic surgery is a procedure that is frequently used as a treatment to remove the loose cartilage and bone tissue from the joint.

What is Osteochondritis Dissecans?

Osteochondritis Dissecans is a joint condition whereby a certain amount of bone and its adjacent cartilage loses its supply of blood. Osteochondritis Dissecans can involve the bone and cartilage of any joint. Elbows and knees are the most affected. Often, only a small portion of the affected cartilage is involved. Osteochondritis Dissecans usually affects boys between 9 and 18 years of age.


What causes Osteochondritis Dissecans?

The cause of Osteochondritis Dissecans is often unknown. Theories include mild recurrent injuries or growth disturbances.


What are symptoms of Osteochondritis Dissecans?

Symptoms of Osteochondritis Dissecans are a direct result of the irregularities of the cartilage within the affected joint(s). Symptoms include joint pain, stiffness, and even locking of the joint whereby its range of motion is significantly reduced to the point where it cannot be moved naturally.


How is Osteochondritis Dissecans diagnosed?

Osteochondritis Dissecans can be diagnosed clinically by observing the lack of full range of motion with a “locking” action of the joint at a certain angle. It is at this angle that the loosened cartilage and bone is being “pinched” as the joint is attempting to move. Ultimately, Osteochondritis Dissecans is best diagnosed with imaging studies, such as magnetic resonance imaging scan (MRI scan) or an arthrogram.


What is the treatment of Osteochondritis Dissecans?

There is no cure as such, but the condition can be treated in many ways depending on the size and location of the lesion as well as the age of the patient. The symptoms are also contributing factors. Arthroscopic surgery is a common procedure that is used as an option to remove the loose cartilage and bone tissue from the affected joint.


What is the prognosis of Osteochondritis Dissecans?

Indicators of a worse prognosis or outcome include a large-sized lesion, a lesion on a weight-bearing area, and older age of the patient.


Can Osteochondritis Dissecans be prevented?

It is only possible to prevent Osteochondritis Dissecans by preventing trauma or injury to the affected joint.