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Surgical management of osteochondritis dissecans of the knee.

Osteochondritis dissecans of the knee primarily affects subchondral bone, with a secondary effect on the overlying articular cartilage. This process can lead to pain, effusions, and loose body formation. While stable juvenile lesions often respond well to nonoperative management, unstable juvenile lesions, as well as symptomatic adult lesions, often require operative intervention. Short-term goals focus on symptomatic relief, while long-term expectations include the hope of preventing early-onset arthritis. Surgical options include debridement, loose body removal, microfracture, arthroscopic reduction and internal fixation, subchondral drilling, osteochondral autograft or allograft transplantation, and autologous chondrocyte implantation. Newer single-stage cell-based procedures have also been developed, utilizing mesenchymal stem cells and matrix augmentation. Proper treatment requires evaluation of both lesional (size, depth, stability) and patient (age, athletic level) characteristics.

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