Osteochondritis Dissecans of the Capitellum: Current Concepts


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Abstract

Osteochondritis dissecans (OCD) of the capitellum is an uncommon disorder seen primarily in the adolescent overhead athlete. Unlike Panner disease, a self-limiting condition of the immature capitellum, OCD is multifactorial and likely results from microtrauma in the setting of cartilage mismatch and vascular susceptibility. The natural history of OCD is poorly understood, and degenerative joint disease may develop over time. Multiple modalities aid in diagnosis, including radiography, MRI, and magnetic resonance arthrography. Lesion size, location, and grade determine management, which should attempt to address subchondral bone loss and articular cartilage damage. Early, stable lesions are managed with rest. Surgery should be considered for unstable lesions. Most investigators advocate arthroscopic débridement with marrow stimulation. Fragment fixation and bone grafting also have provided good short-term results, but concerns persist regarding the healing potential of advanced lesions. Osteochondral autograft transplantation appears to be promising and should be reserved for larger, higher grade lesions. Clinical outcomes and return to sport are variable. Longer-term follow-up studies are necessary to fully assess surgical management, and patients must be counseled appropriately.

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