Tommy John’s Surgery (UCL Repair)

The Orthopaedic Institute of Central Jersey provides comprehensive treatment plans by the most highly skilled Orthopedic Elbow Specialists.

What is Tommy John’s Surgery?

Tommy John’s surgery is a surgical procedure to repair a torn ulnar collateral ligament (UCL). The procedure is well known because it has been performed on many famous overhead throwing athletes. The first procedure was performed on Major League Baseball player Tommy John in 1974, which is where the name comes from.

Modern surgical techniques and equipment allow our Elbow Specialists to perform this more efficiently than ever. Procedure steps include:

  • Incision. A small incision is made on the inside of the elbow.
  • Ligament repair. The torn ligament is removed and replaced with a tendon graft harvested from the patient or a cadaver.
  • Closure. The incision is carefully closed with sutures and sterilely dressed. The patient is placed in a comfortable brace that holds the elbow in a neutral position.

Total procedure time is generally less than an hour and patients return home after the effects of anesthesia and surgical pain medications wear off.

Physical therapy after surgery is an important part of recovery. The patient and an Orthopaedic Institute of Central Jersey (OIO) selected physical therapist work together to stretch and strengthen the new ligament. A return to sports occurs about 6-8 months after surgery.

What Does Tommy John’s Surgery Treat?

Repetitive overhead throwing motions can injure the ulnar collateral ligament that stabilizes the inside part of the elbow joint. Inflammation and small tears may be treated with nonsurgical treatment options. However, complete tears usually require Tommy John’s surgery.

At Orthopaedic Institute of Central Jersey (OIO) Board Certified and Fellowship Trained Elbow Specialists Dr. Gregory Roehrig and Dr. Clint Ferenz are experts in performing Tommy John surgery. Please contact our office and make an appointment if you have been injured. Dr. Gregory Roehrig and Dr. Clint Ferenz will accurately diagnose your injury and create a customized plan to treat it.

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