Chondral delamination

Last revised by Henry Knipe on 18 Nov 2022

Chondral delamination is a form of cartilage injury and refers to the separation of the articular cartilage from the underlying subchondral bone at the tidemark. It may or may not be associated with chondral fissure. Focal delamination is sometimes termed a carpet lesion 6.

Often associated with twisting or traumatic shearing stress to the cartilage occurring parallel to the joint surface along the surface of the tidemark (usually concentrated at the junction of non-calcified and calcified cartilage 7). The delamination line runs parallel to the joint surface, but the overlying articular cartilage remains initially intact.

Chondral delamination typically seen as a flap-like lifting of a whole plate of cartilage from the bone that if removed would represent a chondral defect. On MRI scans, uncomplicated delamination usually appears as a thin line of near-fluid intensity interposed between the deep layer of articular cartilage and the underlying bone.

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