Budding athletes who undergo fixation of osteochondritis dissecans lesions experienced convincing long-term results in a study presented at the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine. The condition occurs when a small part of a bone separates from the surrounding tissue due to low blood supply.
For the purpose of the experiment, researchers recruited 11 patients unable to play competitive sports because of osteochondritis dissecans lesions of the capitellum. These patients went through loose body removal, as well as lateral collateral ligament takedown from the lateral epicondyle. Patients were also subject to transfer from the lateral trochlear ridge of the ipsilateral knee. Then, all were put out of action in splints for two weeks, and later switched to hinged elbow braces with progressive motion range for four weeks. It was not until three months after surgery that they started throwing and strengthening exercises.
To acquire the best results, researchers used metrics such as chart review, return-to-play, the elbow range of motion as well as DASH outcomes to assess patients´ condition. The mean follow up was 22.7 months.
Overall, it took athletes an average of 4.4 months to successfully return to preoperative conditions, study results showed. Furthermore, three were successful in obtaining a Division 1 college scholarship. Five patients were pitchers, and four of them returned to pitching. Average DASH scores were 1.36 and the average Sport-Specific DASH score was 1.7, the report noted.
Further research must focus on the long-term results relating to the prevention of degenerative changes and the preservation of lateral collateral ligaments, said the author and presenter of the report, Matthew Lawrence Lyons, MD.