CHICAGO, April 4, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- According to a study published in the American Journal of Sports Medicine, "Tommy John" surgery to repair a torn elbow ligament not only puts Major League Baseball (MLB) pitchers back on the mound, but also improves their game.
That's good news for the reported one third of all Major League Baseball (MLB) pitchers who underwent this surgery, including current pitchers: Adam Wainwright (St. Louis Cardinals) and Stephen Strasburg (Washington Nationals).
The study was conducted by researchers at Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush (MOR) and Rush University Medical Center. It showed four of five MLB pitchers who underwent ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) surgery, or "Tommy John" surgery, pitched as well or better than before their injury.
The UCL connects the upper arm bone (humerus) to the forearm bone (ulna). With repetitive throwing motion, the ligament can tear. During this procedure, doctors use a healthy arm tendon to replace the torn UCL. The surgery is named after the first MLB pitcher to have the procedure: Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Tommy John.
"College and professional pitchers and catchers are at risk of an UCL injury because repetitive motion and overuse puts stress on the ligament," says study author Charles Bush-Joseph, M.D., MOR sports medicine physician and Chicago White Sox head team physician. "We are pleased with study results showing a high percentage of athletes return to play after Tommy John surgery."
The researchers compared the performance and records of 179 MLB pitchers who underwent Tommy John surgery to those who didn't. They found:
- About 83 percent of Major League pitchers returned to play.
- Overall, 97 percent returned to play in major or minor leagues.
- Pitchers who had surgery experienced a lower losing percentage, threw fewer walks and gave up fewer hits, runs and home runs.
MOR researchers include: Brandon J. Erickson, M.D., resident; Anil Gupta, M.D., MBA, fellow; Joshua Harris, M.D., fellow; Charles Bush-Joseph, M.D.; Bernard Bach, M.D.; Geoffrey Abrams, M.D., fellow; Angielyn San Juan, BS, student; Brian Cole, M.D., MBA and Anthony Romeo, M.D.
About Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush
U.S. News & World Report ranks Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush among the top ten programs in the nation. For more information, www.rushortho.com or call 877 MD BONES.
SOURCE Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush