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What Is Osteochondritis Dissecans?

Osteochondritis dissecans. Courtesy of 'Fundamentals of Pediatric Orthopedics,' © 2003 Lippincott Williams and Wilkins

Osteochondritis dissecans. These are the stages of the disease.

Osteochondritis dissecans (OCD) is a small area of dying bone tissue (bone necrosis). The bone dies because it is not getting enough blood. Osteochondritis dissecans occurs when bone and cartilage separate from one another inside a joint.

Osteochondritis dissecans can happen in any joint. But most often it affects knees, elbows, hips and ankles. If the condition is not treated, a chunk of bone can come loose inside the joint.

Osteochondritis Dissecans in Children

Children of all ages get osteochondritis dissecans, but it is more common in teenagers.

Some doctors think OCD happens after an injury, such as a twisting and bending incident that causes the shinbone (tibia) to come in contact with the thighbone (femur). Often, it is not clear what has caused the problem.

Osteochondritis Dissecans at Seattle Children’s

We specialize in treating injuries to the bones and joints of children and teenagers who are still growing.

We understand that in treating any joint problem, doctors must take into account the stage of your child’s growth plates. These are the areas of growing tissue near the end of each long bone. They determine the size and shape of your child’s bones once your child is grown up.

Growing children have a better chance of healing from OCD without surgery than those who have finished growing. We are extremely careful to monitor your child's growth to make sure that they have the best chance of healing.

Who Treats This at Seattle Children's?

Should your child see a doctor?

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Summer 2014: Good Growing Newsletter

In This Issue

  • Understanding the Power and Influence of Role Models
  • Legal Marijuana Means Greater Poisoning Risks for Children
  • Why Choose Pediatric Emergency Care?

Download Summer 2014 (PDF)