Innovative Treatment of Osteochondritis Dissecans – Degradation of Bone Tissue below the Articular Cartilage

Cartilage damage in children and adolescents

Children and adolescents are mainly affected by osteochondritis dissecans – most often it is found in the knee joint. However, OCD can also occur in the ankle or elbow. Due to the breakdown of bone tissue near the joint and the subsequent death of the cartilage tissue overlying the affected bone, parts of the cartilage often break loose and get caught in the knee joint. These separated fragments can then cause inflammation in the joint. As with traumatic cartilage damage after an injury, the defect in the joint caused by OCD can also lead to osteoarthritis.


The cause of this disease has not yet been sufficiently clarified. Injuries or circulatory disorders can contribute to the development, genetic factors also play a role.

Symptoms and diagnosis

In the early stages of the disease, there is rarely any discomfort or pain. Therefore, OCD is usually only noticed when the damage causes stress pain and swelling. If pieces of cartilage have already broken loose, the pain worsens. These cartilage parts (free bodies of the joint) can already be clearly seen in the X-ray during the diagnosis. A subsequent MRI (magnetic resonance tomography) provides more detailed information about the course and degree of the disease. With an arthroscopy the joint and the free joint bodies can be examined in detail. In addition to early diagnosis, the initiation of early therapy is particularly important for the further prognosis of the disease and the function of the joint. Long-term damage to the joint can only be prevented with early therapy.


The aim of the treatment is to restore the normal function of the joint, eliminate pain and minimize the risk of osteoarthritis. In some cases, conservative therapy is sufficient, i.e. resting the joint, physical therapy or taking anti-inflammatory drugs. In advanced cases, surgery may be necessary to repair or remove the affected cartilage or bone parts.

Innovative treatment of osteochondritis dissecans OCD at the Cartilage Center Vienna

The treatment of OCD has evolved in recent years and some innovative approaches have been introduced. One such treatment method is the use of a bone screw, the so-called "Shark Screw®" (Info about Shark Screw® - Natural Bone Healing ( This treatment is purely arthroscopic, i.e. minimally invasive. The Shark Screw is a special screw made of human bone, it is "bio-intelligent" and will be converted into the body’s own bone. In addition to using the bone screw, growth factors are used to promote healing and the growth of new cartilage cells. These can be obtained from the patient's own blood and injected into the affected joint.

What is the advantage of this method, what is the prognosis?

The benefit of this method is that it allows targeted repair of the damaged joint area while supporting the body's natural healing processes. Most patients achieve a good recovery and restoration of the normal joint function after this procedure. However, not every patient with OCD is suitable for this specific treatment. The decision for this treatment is always made by an experienced arthroscopy specialist who carefully evaluates the patient’s individual case.

What should be considered after the operation?

Careful aftercare is important to support recovery. This includes control examinations, physical therapy, muscle building exercises and avoiding excessive stress on the joint.

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