Giant Intra-Articular Extrasynovial Osteochondroma of the Knee: A Report of Two Cases

F De Maio* , S Bisicchia, V Potenza, R Caterini, P Farsetti
Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, University of Rome Tor Vergata, Viale Oxford 81, 00133 Rome, Italy

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* Address correspondence to this author at the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, University of Rome Tor Vergata, Viale Oxford 81, 00133 Rome, Italy; Tel: +390620903466; Fax: +390620903665; E-mail:


We report two cases of a giant extrasynovial osteochondroma of the knee located in the infrapatellar fat pad region, in two females who were 58 and 71 years old respectively. Both patients had noticed the mass many years before our first clinical observation. In both patients, at physical examination a solid, firm and hard mass was palpable in the anterior part of the knee in Hoffa’s fat pad region, and the range of motion of the knee was severely restricted and painful. CT scan examination with 3D-reconstruction showed two large, calcified neoformations behind the patellar tendon, between the apex of the patella and the proximal third of the tibia. In both cases, the mass was completely resected surgically through an anterior longitudinal approach. At histological examination, the excised masses consisted of an outer layer of hyaline cartilage without significant chondrocyte atypia and an inner region of bone trabeculae formed by endochondral ossification. At follow-up, 8 and 4 years after the operation, both patients were pain-free, with complete recovery of the range of motion of the knee and without any clinical or radiographic evidence of recurrence. The authors believe that intra-articular extrasynovial osteochondroma of the knee is a primary metaplasia of Hoffa’s fat pad. Usually, the tumor develops slowly and asymptomatically over many years. The treatment of choice is a marginal resection of the mass, although a biopsy should be considered in some cases. Recurrences are extremely rare.

Keywords: Hoffa’s fat pad, Intra-articular osteochondroma, Knee tumors.