Osteochondritis dissecans of the knee

Orthop Traumatol Surg Res. 2018 Feb;104(1S):S97-S105. doi: 10.1016/j.otsr.2017.02.016. Epub 2017 Nov 29.


Osteochondritis dissecans (OCD) of the knee is an idiopathic, focal, subchondral-bone abnormality that can cause instability or detachment of a bone fragment and overlying articular cartilage, with subsequent progression to osteoarthritis. The diagnosis is usually made during adolescence. Mechanical factors play a major role in the pathophysiology of OCD. When the radiographic diagnosis is made early in a patient with open physes, healing can often be obtained simply by restricting sports activities. The degree of lesion instability can be assessed by magnetic resonance imaging. When the lesion remains unstable and the pain persists despite a period of rest, surgery is indicated. Arthroscopic exploration is always the first step. Drilling of the lesion produces excellent outcomes if the lesion is stable. Unstable lesions require fixation and, in some cases, bone grafting. Defects must be filled, depending on their surface area. Although many surgical techniques are available, the therapeutic indications are now standardized.

Keywords: Adolescent; Arthroscopy; Knee; Osteochondritis dissecans; Sports.

Publication types

  • Lecture
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Arthralgia / etiology
  • Arthroscopy
  • Humans
  • Knee Joint / diagnostic imaging
  • Knee Joint / surgery
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Osteoarthritis, Knee / etiology
  • Osteochondritis Dissecans / complications
  • Osteochondritis Dissecans / diagnosis*
  • Osteochondritis Dissecans / therapy*
  • Radiography