Review Article: Osteophytes

Siu Him Janus Wong, Kwong Yuen Chiu, Chun Hoi Yan


An osteophyte is a fibrocartilage-capped bony outgrowth that is one of the features of osteoarthritis. This study reviewed the types, risk factors, pathophysiology, clinical presentations, and medical and surgical treatment of osteophytes. Extraspinal osteophytes are classified as marginal, central, periosteal, or capsular, whereas vertebral osteophytes are classified as traction or claw. Risk factors for development of osteophytes include age, body mass index, physical activity, and other genetic and environmental factors. Transforming growth factor β plays a role in the pathophysiology of osteophyte formation. Osteophytes can cause pain, limit range of motion, affect quality of life, and cause multiple symptoms at the spine. Medical treatment involves the use of bisphosphonates and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agents. Surgical treatment in the form of cheilectomy for impingement syndromes during joint replacement is recommended.


osteophyte; physiopathology; risk factors; treatment outcome

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