Tommy John Surgery

Tommy John Surgery - Jacob Rietschy Tommy John Surgery...

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Jacob Rietschy Tommy John Surgery "Since the invention of the breaking ball, there has been no more significant development in baseball than Tommy John surgery." Will Carroll, Saving the Pitcher (Carroll and Gorman, www.baseballprospectus.com). Tommy John surgery is a type of surgery where a ligament in the medial elbow is replaced with a tendon from some other area of the body. The common areas of the body that the tendon is taken from are the forearm, hamstring, knee or foot of the patient. To doctors the procedure is known by the name ulnar collateral ligament reconstruction (UCL). (Wikipedia.org) The surgical procedure got the name Tommy John from the first professional athlete to ever have the procedure, a Los Angeles Dodger’s pitcher named Tommy John. He had the surgery performed in 1974 by Dr. Frank Jobe. Professional and collegiate baseball pitchers are the most common to have the procedure done as they have extra strain on their tendons in the elbow from the repeated pitching motion. The injury happens when the collateral ligament becomes stretched, frayed or torn through the stress of the throwing motion (Wikipedia.org). The elbow is a hinge joint which consists of the humerus, radius and ulna. Many muscles, including biceps, triceps and forearm contribute to supporting and controlling the elbow. A UCL injury is the most major injury that can happen to the elbow. The UCL is an important ligament as it provides stability during overhead activities. This would explain why it is especially important in throwing and even more so pitching. (Carroll and Gorman, www.baseballprospectus.com)
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Jacob Rietschy A UCL injury is diagnosed using many things including thorough medical history evaluation, X-ray and MRI. MRI is the most effective of the three to evaluate the soft tissue of the elbow. To see the soft tissue in an MRI, a contrast medium must be injected into the joint. The contrast medium will show up white where the ruptured ligament is, showing the lack of the ligament (www.drloweshoulder.com). The process of Tommy John surgery has three steps. The new tendon to replace the damaged one in the medial elbow is harvested from another part of the body like the fore mentioned forearm or knee. Tunnels are drilled in the ulna and humerus bones, which are both part of the elbow joint. The new tendon is then woven in a figure-eight pattern through those drilled tunnels (Wikipedia.org). Recovery from Tommy John surgery is a long, but usually successful process.
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Tommy John Surgery - Jacob Rietschy Tommy John Surgery...

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