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UCL Repair

(Tommy John’s Surgery)

What is Tommy John’s Surgery?

Tommy John’s Surgery (also known as a UCL Repair or UCL Reconstruction) is a well known surgical procedure among athletes and was named after MLB pitcher Tommy John who was the first to undergo the procedure in 1974.  The goal of this procedure is to repair a torn ulnar collateral ligament by using a graft or donor tendon to provide stability to the damaged joint.

The Board Certified Orthopaedic Surgeons at OSS Health are experts in Tommy John’s Surgery procedures and have helped thousands of patients return to an active and healthy lifestyle following this procedure.

How is Tommy John’s Surgery Performed?

At OSS Health, Tommy John’s Surgery is performed on an outpatient basis so that you are able to return home the same day as your procedure.  If the UCL tendon is torn and needs to be repaired, a graft from another area of the body is used and can be taken from a tendon in the forearm, hamstring or the big toe.  Your OSS Health Orthopaedic Surgeon will discuss with you which graft may be best for your procedure.

During the procedure:

  • A small incision is made in the area of the elbow where the tendon is torn
  • Damaged tissue or bone spurs are removed
  • Small holes are made in the bones of the elbow 
  • The graft is then threaded through the tendons 
  • The graft is secured to the holes in the elbow using small anchors, buttons or screws

The incision is closed with small sutures.  Using our advanced minimally invasive techniques, there is very little surgical trauma and you are able to recover and return to normal activities shortly after surgery.  Physical therapy will be an important component of recovery after surgery, especially for high-level athletes.

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