PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Osteochondritis dissecans (OCD) of the knee is a well-described condition that can cause significant morbidity in children and adolescents; timely diagnosis is key to preventing compromise to the articular cartilage and maximizing opportunity to perform a restorative procedure. Juvenile OCD has a better prognosis than does adult OCD, with higher rates of spontaneous healing with conservative treatment. Still, there are certain indications for surgical restoration procedures. Controversies arise over when to decide surgical procedure and what is the best surgical treatment option in this young population. RECENT FINDINGS: Some authors believe nonoperative management should be the first-line treatment for stable OCD lesions in children. The only consensus in regard to this modality is that, if a patient is truly asymptomatic or experiencing low-level symptoms, then the duration of nonoperative treatment should be at least 3-6 months before opting for operative treatment. In the case of failed nonsurgical management or in the setting of an unstable fragment, surgical intervention should be implemented. Recent published data suggest no difference in clinical or radiographic outcome when comparing different surgical techniques. SUMMARY: OCD of the knee requires a timely diagnosis to maximize opportunity to perform a reparative procedure. Indications for surgical treatment are based on lesion stability, skeletal maturity, and clinical symptoms. Reestablishing the joint surface, improving the blood supply of the fragment, rigid fixation, and early motion are primary goals for osteochondral fragment preservation. When the fragment is not suitable for preservation, careful consideration of defect location and the patient's clinical presentation will determine when cartilage restoration procedures should be utilized.
- juvenile osteochondritis dissecans