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Tommy John Surgery

Tommy John Surgery

Tommy John surgery (TJS) in medical parctise known as ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) reconstruction, is a surgical graft procedure in which the ulnar collateral ligament in the medial elbow is replaced with a tendon from elsewhere in the body. The procedure is common among collegiate and professional athletes in several sports, most notably baseball.

Tommy John surgery is most commonly done for athletes who:

  • Don't respond to non-surgical treatments
  • Want to resume strenuous overhead or throwing activities
  • Pain on the inside of the elbow
  • numbness and tingling in the hand
  • Decreased ability to throw a baseball or other object

Using the athletes own tissue (autograft), a ligament is reconstructed and woven in a figure-eight pattern through tunnels that have been drilled in the ulna and humerus bones. Many times during reconstruction, the ulnar nerve will be moved  to keep it from being irritated during throwing. This tissue is then secured in the bone with either screws or sutures .


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