September 23, 2013

What is osteochondritis dissecans?

Sports Injury

THIS POST IS PART OF THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO SPORTS MEDICINE

Dr. Corey Kendall, OrthoIndy sports medicine surgeon, answers questions about osteochondritis dissecans.

Q. What causes osteochondritis dissecans?

A. We don’t know for sure what causes this to happen.  It has been postulated that this disease is the result of minor trauma, genetics or local vascular factures, among other reasons.  Ultimately, the bone loses its blood supply, and undergoes a process called necrosis.  The cartilage however is generally preserved.

Q. What are the symptoms of osteochondritis dissecans?

A. Patients generally notice knee pain and swelling.  Often times, there may be symptoms of locking or catching. The diagnosis is made by an X-ray and MRI scan.

Q. What are the risk factors or complications associated with osteochondritis dissecans?

A. Typically these are found in adolescents and teenagers and are more common in males.  There really are no specific risk factors. The worst long-term complication is early onset osteoarthritis.

Q. How can you treat osteochondritis dissecans?

A. Initial treatment is centered upon activity modification. Basically, we try to get the bone to heal.  A patient may be placed on weight bearing restrictions and activity restrictions during this time.  However, if the lesion is unstable, surgery may be necessary. The lesions can be stabilized with screws, nails or osteochondral plug transfers. The osteochondral plug transfers are my preferred technique because they decompress the area, provide live bone graft and provide stabilization.

Q. How can you prevent osteochondritis dissecans?

A. Unfortunately, there is no way to prevent this problem; it can only be treated.

To schedule an appointment with Dr. Kendall please call 317.268.3634 or learn more about cartilage restoration at OrthoIndy.

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