Return to Sport and Clinical Outcomes Following Osteochondral Autograft Transplantation in Baseball Players and Gymnasts With Unstable Osteochondritis Dissecans: A Critically Appraised Topic

J Sport Rehabil. 2023 Aug 9;32(8):932-937. doi: 10.1123/jsr.2022-0446. Print 2023 Nov 1.


Clinical scenario: Osteochondritis dissecans (OCD) of the capitellum is a condition occurring at the elbow and often seen in both baseball players and gymnasts due to the repetitive loading of the radiocapitellar joint. Treatment options for OCD vary and are dependent on lesion presentation, elbow motion, and growth plate maturity. OCD lesions categorized as unstable can be treated with an osteochondral autograft transplantation surgery (OATS).

Focused clinical question: In an adolescent population, what are the return to sport rates and clinical outcomes following OATS in baseball players and gymnasts with unstable OCD lesions?

Summary of key findings: Three articles met the inclusion criteria for this appraisal, and all indicate an OATS procedure should be considered in the management of unstable OCD lesions. Return to play outcomes were favorable for both baseball players and gymnasts. Self-reported patient function and elbow extension all improved following an OATS.

Clinical bottom line: An OATS procedure is a favorable option for the management of OCD lesions of the elbow in baseball players and gymnasts.

Strength of recommendation: There is level B evidence to support return to sport and clinical outcomes in baseball players and gymnasts following an OATS procedure. This score is directly related to the quality of evidence that currently exists on the topic.

Keywords: adolescent athlete; elbow injury; overhead athlete; radiocapitellar joint.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Autografts
  • Baseball*
  • Humans
  • Osteochondritis Dissecans* / surgery
  • Return to Sport
  • Sports*