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Comparative study of elbow disorders in young high-performance gymnasts.

The study aimed to investigate the prognosis of osteochondral affection (e.g., osteochondritis dissecans (OCD), cartilage lesions, fractures and bone edema in the elbows of high-performance gymnasts (n=30) compared to prognosis results with athletes not undergoing excessive stress on the upper extremity (n=29). The study also tested a novel isotropic 3D-FSE-sequence (CUBE) technique as an early diagnostic modality. Standard protocol was used to conduct the MRI examinations, which were then compared to results from the CUBE - sequence. The gymnast group (p=0.012) presented a significantly higher prevalence of complaints in the elbow joint compared to the other athlete group. Furthermore, osteochondral lesions in MRIs appeared more frequently in the group of gymnasts (n=10, 33%, p=0.033), including 7 cases (23%) of OCD. In the control athlete group 2 asymptomatic cases of OCD and one case of bone edema were detected. The MRI investigation with the CUBE - sequence showed similar results as the standard MRI protocol in terms of the diagnosis sensitivity. The current study indicates that juvenile gymnasts are at a higher risk for osteochondral lesions of the elbow than athletes without excessive stress on the upper extremities.

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