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OsteoChondritis Dissecans of the Elbow

OsteoChondritis Dissecans or OCD of the elbow is the condition where there is a loss of blood supply to the cartilage in the elbow, leading to its death. This can be due to a repetitive trauma or a genetic component that makes some patients prone to this condition.
It is usually found in young people involved in sports like gymnastics, baseball etc. The pain is minimal if the cartilage is partially torn or is in place and healing will take its own course. In extreme cases, the cartilage can tear off and can get caught in the elbow joint, causing pain and loss of motion and functionality of the elbow.

Osteochondritis Dissecans Elbow Treatment Bangalore
The OCD has the following symptoms:

  • Pain while bending or straightening the elbow.
  • A popping sound while moving the elbow.
  • There will be swelling in the elbow.
  • Elbow will have tenderness especially when moving it.
  • Difficulty in elbow movement.
  • Loss of range of motion.

The doctor would also recommend the following tests to diagnose this condition:

  • X-Rays provide for clear images of the bones.
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) to see the location and the extent of the cartilage injury.

Non-Surgical Treatment
The different non-surgical treatment options are:

  • Rest: Giving proper rest to the elbow is the first step towards recovery. The patient is recommended to stay away from sports or strenuous activity that can aggravate the symptoms.
  • Physical Therapy: is usually recommended with exercises for muscle strengthening and to reduce stiffness and increase flexibility.

Surgical Treatment
The doctors will recommend surgical treatments depending on the cartilage’s size and location. The cartilage fragment is then removed from the elbow and reattached using stitches or screws. Another alternative is by drilling the fragment to the bone to stimulate new cartilage growth, stem cell from bone marrow injection, cartilage grafting from knee joint , depending upon the size and location of the defect . The doctors usually recommend Elbow Arthroscopy for this.

Elbow Arthroscopy
This is a minimal invasive surgical procedure performed to diagnose and also treat injuries to the elbow joint like Tennis Elbow.
The surgery involves the doctor in creating couple of incisions and inserting the tiny camera called the Arthroscope, which will act as a visual aid for the doctors in performing the procedure. The doctors will first examine the injured area and then insert thin surgical instruments through the other incisions and use the arthroscope to guide them to the injured spot and perform the procedure.



Authored by Dr Banarji B.H - Shoulder Surgeon, Bangalore

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Baby Das

Last one year I was suffering from acute shoulder pain on my left shoulder. I went to several doctors, but not diagnosed.

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