Clinical Outcome After Arthroscopic Debridement and Microfracture for Osteochondritis Dissecans of the Capitellum

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Abstract

Background:

Various surgical treatment techniques have been developed to treat capitellar osteochondritis dissecans; however, the optimal technique remains the subject of ongoing debate.

Purpose:

To evaluate clinical outcomes after arthroscopic debridement and microfracture for advanced capitellar osteochondritis dissecans.

Study Design:

Case series; Level of evidence, 4.

Methods:

Between 2008 and 2015, the authors followed 77 consecutive patients (81 elbows) who underwent arthroscopic debridement and microfracture, and loose body removal if needed, for advanced capitellar osteochondritis dissecans. Seventy-one patients (75 elbows) with a minimum follow-up of 1 year were included. The mean age was 16 years (SD, ±3.3 years; range, 11-26 years) and the mean follow-up length was 3.5 years (SD, ±1.9 years; range, 1-8.2 years). Based on CT and/or MRI results, 71 lesions were classified as unstable and 4 as stable. Clinical elbow outcome (pain, function, and social-psychological effect) was assessed using the Oxford Elbow Score (OES) at final follow-up (OES range, 0-48). Range of motion and return to sports were recorded. Multivariable linear regression analysis was performed to determine predictors of postoperative OES.

Results:

Intraoperatively, there were 3 grade 1 lesions, 2 grade 2 lesions, 10 grade 3 lesions, 1 grade 4 lesion, and 59 grade 5 lesions. The mean postoperative OES was 40.8 (SD, ±8.0). An open capitellar physis was a predictor of better elbow outcome (5.8-point increase; P = .025), as well as loose body removal/grade 4-5 lesions (6.9-point increase; P = .0020) and shorter duration of preoperative symptoms (1.4-point increase per year; P = .029). Flexion slightly improved from 134° to 139° (P < .001); extension deficit slightly improved from 8° to 3° (P < .001). Pronation (P = .47) and supination did not improve (P = .065). Thirty-seven patients (55%) returned to their primary sport at the same level, and 5 patients (7%) returned to a lower level. Seventeen patients (25%) did not return to sport due to elbow-related symptoms, and 10 patients (13%) did not return due to non–elbow-related reasons. No complications were recorded.

Conclusion:

Arthroscopic debridement and microfracture for advanced capitellar osteochondritis dissecans provide good clinical results, especially in patients with open growth plate, loose body removal, and shorter duration of symptoms. However, only 62% of patients in this study returned to sports.

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