Surgical Treatment for Osteochondritis Dissecans of the Capitellum

Matthew V. Smith, Asheesh Bedi, Neal C. Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Context: Osteochondritis dissecans (OCD) of the capitellum is most often seen in adolescents who participate in sports that involve repetitive loading of the elbow. Unstable defects typically require surgical intervention that involves fragment fixation, debridement, or reconstruction with an osteochondral autograft transfer. Optimum surgical management of unstable defects remains controversial. Type of Study: Clinical review. Evidence Acquisition: Relevant articles published after 1992 were identified using MEDLINE, the EMBASE database, and the Cochrane Library. Results: Both debridement and osteochondral autograft transfer for treatment of capitellar OCD lesions result in good short- and midterm outcomes with a high rate of return to sports. Larger defects involving more than 50% of the articular surface or involving the lateral margin of the capitellum may have worse outcomes after debridement and may be better treated with fragment fixation or osteochondral autograft transfer. Conclusions: High-level evidence is lacking to determine the superiority of debridement or osteochondral autograft transfer for the treatment of capitellar OCD lesions. A prospective longitudinal multicenter study, using validated outcome measures, that enrolls a large number of patients is needed to establish optimal treatment for unstable capitellar OCD lesions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)425-432
Number of pages8
JournalSports Health
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2012


  • capitellum
  • elbow
  • osteochondritis dissecans


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