Bone & joints

Other nonneoplastic

Osteochondritis dissecans

Last author update: 1 February 2013
Last staff update: 19 January 2022

Copyright: 2002-2024,, Inc.

PubMed Search: Joints [title] osteochondritis dissecans

Vijay Shankar, M.D.
Page views in 2023: 1,548
Page views in 2024 to date: 256
Cite this page: Shankar V. Osteochondritis dissecans. website. Accessed February 26th, 2024.
Definition / general
  • Benign noninflammatory condition affecting young adults, with necrosis of subchondral bone and adjacent articular cartilage causing separation from adjacent structures
  • Subchondral bone may remain attached to joint surface / synovium
    • If attached, both bone and cartilage remain viable
    • If detached, bone dies but cartilage remains viable through synovial fluid nutrients
  • Probably due to trauma although familial autosomal dominant (Clin Orthop Relat Res 1979;(140):131) and bilateral symmetric cases have been described
  • Symptoms include joint pain, joint effusions, locking of joint
  • Usually at lateral aspect of medial femoral condyle near intercondylar notch; also ankle and elbow joints
Radiology description
  • Well demarcated defect in articular surface of joint
Case reports
  • Reattachment (if possible) or excision
Gross description
  • Flat, smooth nodule of avascular bone with overlying articular cartilage
  • Layer of fibrocartilage is usually present on bony surface
Gross images

Images hosted on other servers:

Head of femur

Osteochondritis of left humeral head
with secondary deformation of bone,
eighth to ninth century from Iona

Microscopic (histologic) description
  • Articular cartilage, often with calcification; 50% have subchondral bone
Microscopic (histologic) images

Images hosted on other servers:

Pathological specimen of Danish sow

Back to top
Image 01 Image 02