Who Is a Good Candidate for the Tommy John Procedure?

Injuries to the ulnar collateral ligament are very common among competitive athletes of throwing sports. Baseball players are particularly susceptible to experiencing this injury. Decades ago, ulnar collateral ligament tears were career-ending injuries. Luckily, today, this injury can be successfully treated with arthroscopic surgery, a minimally invasive procedure that will allow the athlete to return to playing sports within a few months to one year.

Healthy, overhead-throwing athletes with a high-grade injury to the ulnar collateral ligament of the elbow who want to return to competition are good candidates for the Tommy John procedure. The surgery has become very popular among baseball players and others who strain their arms in physical activity, as ulnar collateral ligament injuries are quite common. The main benefits of the Tommy John surgery include:

  • it relieves pain and restores normal elbow function
  • the new ligament is strong and allows the patient to use their elbow again