To evaluate the long-term clinical outcomes of arthroscopic debridement for capitellar osteochondritis dissecans (OCD) in adolescent baseball players.
This retrospective study evaluated clinical outcomes of arthroscopic debridement for capitellar osteochondritis dissecans in adolescent baseball players seen between 2003 and 2006. Inclusion criteria were at least 10 years of follow-up after surgery. Exclusion criteria were prior elbow surgery and age <12 years or >19 years. Patients were examined for presence of pain, inflammation (effusion), and range of motion (ROM). Outcome measures were determined using Timmerman/Andrews scores. Defect severity on preoperative radiographs was classified into 3 grades: small, moderate, and large. Return to baseball, pre- and postoperative ROM and Timmerman/Andrews elbow score were evaluated according to defect severity.
Twenty-three elbows of 23 baseball players (mean age, 14.7 [range, 13–17] years) underwent arthroscopic debridement for capitellar OCD. Mean follow-up duration was 11.5 (range, 10–13) years. Twenty patients (87%) returned to competitive baseball at their preoperative level; of these, 15 were non-pitchers and returned to the same position but only 1 of 5 pitchers returned to playing pitcher. One patient with a large defect and drilling underwent reoperation 11 years after the initial operation. Mean change in extension was 4.3° and that in flexion was 3.7°. Timmerman/Andrews score improved significantly from 160 (95% confidence interval 146.7–173.3) to 195 (95% confidence interval 185.2–204.8) at the most recent follow-up (p?.0001). Osteochondral defects detected on preoperative radiographs were small in 10 patients, moderate in 7, and large in 6. There was no significant between-group difference in extension, flexion, or Timmerman/Andrews score preoperatively or at the most recent follow-up.
Arthroscopic debridement with or without drilling allowed return to play in adolescent baseball players for positions other than pitchers. Long-term outcomes are likely durable regardless of lesion size.