How is Osteochondritis Dissecans of the Knee Diagnosed?
Dr. Mazzara will conduct a thorough medical history as well as physical examination of the patient’s knee. Range of motion and tenderness of the joint, as well as any clicking or popping will be noted. X-rays are needed to confirm the diagnosis and on occasion, a bone scan is requested.
A bone scan is similar to an x-ray in that it takes pictures of the bones with a special camera. During a bone scan, the technician can inject a special type of dye into the blood stream. The special camera can see the dye, which attaches itself to areas of bone that are undergoing rapid changes, such as healing a fracture. A bone scan is the best way to see the lesions in the very early stages of OCD.
An MRI is necessary to evaluate the severity of the OCD lesion. The MRI will determine if the lesion can heal without surgery and whether the overlying cartilage is still intact or damaged.
How is Osteochondritis Dissecans of the Knee Treated?
Treatment of OCD and JOCD is intended to restore the normal function of the affected joint while alleviating pain. It is important to reduce the risk of osteoarthritis by discontinuing the activity that caused OCD or JOCD.
In most cases, JOCD lesions in children and young teens will heal on their own, especially when the bones are still growing. Treatment for older teens and adults begins with complete rest from the activity. Anti-inflammatory medications may be recommended to ease the pain by reducing swelling and inflammation in the knee.
What is the Surgical Treatment for Osteochondritis Dissecans of the Knee?
There are different surgical techniques to treat osteochondritis dissecans of the knee. Dr. Mazzara will base the treatment on the age, activity level, health and on the size and grade of the lesion the patient has. Some of the possible treatments may include:
- To encourage healing of surrounding bone, a hole, drilled into the lesion can be done to create pathways for new blood vessels to nourish the affected area.
- The lesion may be held in place with pins and screws – called internal fixation.
- To help regenerate healthy bone in the area damaged, a graft may be used to replace the damaged area with a new piece of bone and cartilage.
How Long Does it Take to Recover from OCD Treatment?
Recovery times vary, based on the extent of injury in osteochondritis dissecans of the knee. Treatment often lasts eight weeks to four months and is followed by a physical therapy program to strengthen the areas around the injured joint. It is important to follow through with follow-up visits with Dr. Mazzara to continue to heal and to make certain the lesion is not being further damaged.
For more information on osteochondritis dissecans of the knee, please contact the orthopedic office of Dr. James Mazzara, knee specialist, serving patients living in Manchester, South Windsor, Enfield, Glastonbury and surrounding Hartford Connecticut communities.