Osteophyte

Dr Daniel J Bell and Dr Craig Hacking et al.

Osteophytes are cartilage-capped bony proliferations (spurs) that develop at the margins of a synovial joint as a response to articular cartilage damage, as seen very commonly in degenerative joint disease. They are considered a hallmark of osteoarthritis and can be confused with syndesmophytes and enthesophytes.

Currently it is unknown if osteophytes are a functional adaptation to joint disease or a pathological phenomenon in their own right 1

Small osteophytes are sometimes referred to as osteophytic lipping.

Relevant pathology

Differential diagnosis

  • syndesmophyte: paravertebral ossifications that run parallel with the spine cf. osteophytes which typically protrude perpendicular to the spine
  • enthesophyte: located at an attachment of a ligament or tendon, not associated with a joint
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Article information

rID: 66260
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Osteophytic lipping
  • Osteophytes
  • Osteophytosis

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