An Overview of Tommy John Surgery
Surgery is sometimes the only option to treat torn or ruptured ligaments of the elbow, depending on the severity of the trauma. Dr. Millett performs Tommy John Surgery—also known as ulnar collateral ligament reconstruction—on patients with elbow ligament damage that is severe or who have failed non-operative treatment.
This is a procedure in which the damaged and torn ligaments in the elbow (on the inside of the bone) are replaced with tendon from elsewhere in the body. Most commonly, tendons are taken from the hamstring (gracilis tendon) or forearm (palmaris longus) of the patient.
Tommy John Surgery gets its name from a pitcher for the LA Dodgers in the 1970’s who was the first professional athlete to successfully undergo the procedure. Today, baseball pitchers remain at highest risk for ulnar collateral ligament tear, requiring Tommy John Surgery.
Like other surgeries, Tommy John Surgery has risks and complications such as infection, nerve or vessel injury, or graft rupture; however, these are very rare.