Osteochondritis dissecans of the lateral femoral condyle following total resection of the discoid lateral meniscus

Arthroscopy. 2001 Jul;17(6):608-12. doi: 10.1053/jars.2001.19979.


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to describe the clinical presentation of 6 athletically active children with symptomatic osteochondritis dissecans (OCD) of the lateral femoral condyle following total resection for a torn discoid lateral meniscus and to discuss its cause.

Type of study: Case series.

Methods: Six patients in whom OCD affecting the lateral femoral condyle developed after total resection of the discoid lateral meniscus participated in a detailed clinical, radiologic, and arthroscopic review. The average age at the time of meniscectomy was 9 years (range, 6 to 12 years). At a mean of 50 months (range, 36 to 65 months) after surgery they developed recurrent pain in the treated knee; all had radiologic abnormalities at the lateral femoral condyle consistent with OCD. Before the recurrence of pain, all patients had been continuously engaged in sports activity. Radiologic and arthroscopic findings of the OCD lesions were assessed. Clinical outcomes of surgical treatment for OCD were also documented.

Results: The radiographic evaluation showed all lesions to be in the central portion of the lateral femoral condyle on the anteroposterior views and posteriorly next to a line extending distally from the posterior femoral cortex on the lateral views. Arthroscopic evaluation revealed softening in 2 knees, a separated fragment in 2 knees, and a completely loose fragment in 2 knees. All lesions were treated surgically, including 2 drillings of the lesion, 2 fixations of separated fragment, and 2 excisions of loose bodies with drilling. At an average follow-up period of 51 months (range, 22 to 77 months), all patients but 1 were asymptomatic.

Conclusions: Repeated impaction in sports activities on the immature osteochondral structures under altered mechanical force transmission after total resection of the discoid meniscus might be a predisposing factor in the development of OCD in the lateral femoral condyle.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Arthroscopy
  • Child
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Menisci, Tibial / abnormalities
  • Menisci, Tibial / surgery*
  • Osteochondritis Dissecans / diagnostic imaging*
  • Osteochondritis Dissecans / etiology*
  • Pain / etiology
  • Postoperative Complications / etiology*
  • Postoperative Period
  • Radiography
  • Recurrence
  • Sports*