Osteochondritis dissecans of the elbow

Last revised by Henry Knipe on 9 Feb 2022

Elbow involvement in osteochondritis dissecans is rare. It is defined as a localized fragmentation of bone overlying the capitellum cartilage. For a general discussion of osteochondritis dissecans refer to the parent article - osteochondritis dissecans.

Most commonly seen in young baseball pitchers.

Features may include:

  • pain along the lateral elbow
  • swelling
  • laxity of medial collateral ligament

Occurs due to repetitive compression type of injury leading to vascular insufficiency and microtrauma. Typically affects the capitellum of the dominant hand. 

See the main osteochondritis dissecans article for a general discussion on this condition pathology.  

  • non-specific findings
  • mostly normal
  • may show irregularities and fragmentation of capitellum

Helpful in determining the stability of the lesion:

  • CT arthrogram is more useful
  • early changes are detectable on T1 weighted images and normal on T2 images
  • advanced changes are depicted on both T1 and T2 images

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Cases and figures

  • Case 1: with synovial osteochondromatosis
    Drag here to reorder.