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Orthop J Sports Med


BACKGROUND: Capitellar osteochondritis dissecans (OCD) is a debilitating condition of unknown etiology for which various arthroscopic treatments are available. Prior data suggest that greater than 75% of the capitellum can be visualized arthroscopically through a dual lateral portal approach. However, there is no literature assessing arthroscopic visualization of the capitellum via alternative portals.

PURPOSE: To determine the percentage of capitellum visualized using the dual lateral, distal ulnar and soft spot, and posterolateral and soft spot portal configurations in a cadaver model.

STUDY DESIGN: Descriptive laboratory study.

METHODS: Arthroscopy was performed on 12 fresh-frozen cadaver elbows, 4 for each of the following approaches: dual lateral, distal ulna, and posterolateral. Electrocautery was used to mark the most anterior, posterior, medial, and lateral points seen on the capitellum. The radiocapitellar joint was subsequently exposed through an extensile posterior dissection, and the surface anatomy was reconstructed using the Microscribe 3D digitizing system. Using Rhinoceros software, the percentage of capitellum surface area visualized by each approach was determined.

RESULTS: The mean percentage of capitellum visualized for the dual lateral, distal ulna, and posterolateral approaches was approximately 68.8%, 66.3%, and 63.5%, respectively. There was no significant difference between the percentage of capitellum seen among approaches (P = .68). On average, 66.5% of the capitellum was visible through these 3 arthroscopic approaches to the elbow.

CONCLUSION: Approximately 66.5% of the capitellum is visualized through the popularized posterior arthroscopic portals, with no significant differences found between the 3 investigated approaches.

CLINICAL RELEVANCE: As determined in this cadaveric model investigation, each portal technique provides equivalent visualization for capitellar OCD pathology.

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