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Adolescent elbow osteochondral lesions following prior elbow fracture pinning.

PURPOSE: Pinning of pediatric elbow fractures has been shown to be a safe procedure with a low complication profile. This study identified patients who underwent cartilage surgery for elbow osteochondral lesions or osteochondritis dissecans who had prior ipsilateral elbow pinning.

METHODS: Records of patients who underwent ipsilateral cartilage surgery for osteochondritis dissecans and prior percutaneous pinning for elbow fractures were identified. Demographics were compiled and the clinical, radiographic, and surgical results were tabulated for patients with at least 1-year of follow-up from initial presentation.

RESULTS: In total, 6/52 (11.5%) pediatric patients from 2012 to 2021 who underwent isolated elbow osteochondritis dissecans surgery (mean age at surgery 13.4 ± 1.5 years) had a history of ipsilateral elbow pinning (mean age at surgery 6.9 ± 2.4 years). Of these, five had a history of a supracondylar fracture while one patient sustained a lateral condyle fracture. Overall, three of six patients had mechanical symptoms at presentation and three had abnormal radiographs. All patients underwent pre-operative magnetic resonance imaging and the five patients with an osteochondritis dissecans lesion <1cm2 underwent arthroscopy and microfracture while one with a 4-cm2 lesion underwent open osteochondral allograft transfer. All patients demonstrated improved motion at final follow-up and all patients were able to return to full desired activity following surgery.

CONCLUSION: This study demonstrates that the history of elbow fracture pinning may predispose patients to future elbow chondral injuries in adolescence. Although patients appear to do well following consequent osteochondritis dissecans surgery, patients and parents may be advised of possible association of elbow pinning and elbow osteochondral lesions.

LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: III, case-control study.

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