Tommy John Surgery a good solution for MLB pitchers

March 15, 2014

New data suggests ulnar collateral (UCL) reconstruction, better known as Tommy John Surgery, allows major league pitchers to return to the mound at high rates, and with a positive impact on some performance parameters. The research, presented at the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine's (AOSSM) Specialty Day, examined 179 major league pitchers from 1986 to 2012.

"Our research showed 83% of MLB pitchers undergoing this elbow surgery returned to pitching, with most returning after an average of 20.5 months," noted author Dr. Anil K. Gupta from Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. "Not only that, but more than 97% of the pitchers studied, at least returned to the minor leagues – impressive results for a major surgical that requires an extensive recovery period."

The study also demonstrated some positive performance indicators, including a drop in average earned run average (ERA) from 5.7 pre-surgery to 4.2 post-, as well as a decline in pitching losses from 4.4 per year to 3.1.

"We do caution looking too much into the improved stats for pitchers," commented Gupta. "We did still find pitchers had fewer innings pitched and total wins after surgery, and we do not want to suggest Tommy John surgery is an option for improved performance. More needs to be done to learn about this surgery at all levels of baseball, including the high school and collegiate level, as well as how it changes a pitcher's role and style."

The team's research also showed MLB pitchers returning averaged a 3.9 year career length following surgery.

Related Stories

Elbow position not a predictor of injury

February 11, 2012

Elbow position alone appeared to not affect injury rates and performance in college-level, male pitchers say researchers presenting at the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine's Specialty Day in San Francisco, ...

Why are there so many youth baseball-throwing injuries?

June 14, 2013

After three years of research, a multicenter, national research study led by Beaumont orthopedic surgeon and sports medicine specialist, Joseph Guettler, M.D., may have some answers as to why youth baseball pitching injuries ...

Recommended for you

A recipe for long-lasting livers

April 22, 2015

People waiting for organ transplants may soon have higher hopes of getting the help that they need in time. Researchers at the RIKEN Center for Developmental Biology have developed a new technique that extends the time that ...

Surgeon to offer ideas on a way to do human head transplants

February 26, 2015

Sergio Canavero of the Turin Advanced Neuromodulation Group has made it known that he intends to announce at this summer's American Academy of Neurological and Orthopedic Surgeons meeting, that he believes he has put together ...

New tool helps guide brain cancer surgery

July 3, 2014

A tool to help brain surgeons test and more precisely remove cancerous tissue was successfully used during surgery, according to a Purdue University and Brigham and Women's Hospital study.

New imaging technique sharpens surgeons' vision

February 11, 2014

Which superhuman power would you choose for help on the job? For Dr. Julie Margenthaler, it's a technology that brings to mind X-ray vision, used for the first time Monday during an operation to remove a patient's lymph node.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.