Background: Surgical treatment of Osgood-Schlatter disease is occasionally warranted, but its long-term prognosis remains poorly investigated. We studied the rate of occurrence of surgical treatment of unresolved Osgood-Schlatter disease as well as the clinical course, radiographic characteristics, and long-term outcomes after that treatment in a large population of military recruits.
Methods: During a thirteen-year period, 178 consecutive recruits underwent surgery for unresolved Osgood-Schlatter disease, and 107 of them (117 knees) who met the inclusion criteria participated in a follow-up examination. We obtained data from the original medical records and radiographs as well as follow-up information from physical and radiographic examinations, interviews, and questionnaires to determine functional outcomes.
Results: The rate of occurrence of surgically treated unresolved Osgood-Schlatter disease was forty-two per 100,000 military recruits. The median age at the onset of symptoms was fifteen years. After a median duration of follow-up of ten years after the surgery, ninety-three patients (87%) reported no restrictions in everyday activities or at work and eighty (75%) had returned to their preoperative level of sports activity. The median modified Kujala score was 95 points, and the median visual analog score for pain was 7 mm. Forty-one patients (38%) reported a complete absence of pain when kneeling. Six patients had experienced minor postoperative complications, and two had undergone a reoperation for the treatment of the Osgood-Schlatter disease. After resection, the mean tibial tuberosity thickness decreased by 47%. The mean Insall-Salvati index was 1.0 preoperatively and 1.09 postoperatively (p = 0.003), and the corresponding mean Blackburne-Peel indexes were 0.85 and 0.95 (p = 0.003). With the numbers studied, the symptom duration, surgical methods, and radiographic indexes were not found to have an effect on the outcome of surgery.
Conclusions: In the great majority of young adults, the functional outcome of surgical treatment of unresolved Osgood-Schlatter disease is excellent or good, the residual pain intensity is low, and postoperative complications or subsequent reoperations are rare.