About Tommy John Surgery (UCL Reconstruction):
Tommy John Surgery is also known as ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) reconstruction. Tommy John was a professional baseball pitcher who decided to take on a then-unknown operation back in 1974 to reconstruct his UCL. After surgery, Tommy John went on to pitch for 15 more seasons post operation at a high level and is now one of the most common procedures that baseball players undergo. The surgery itself involves using a harvested tendon and threading it through holes that are drilled into the humerus and the ulna repairing the UCL to add strength to the ligament.
How is it Performed?
A tendon is taken from some place in the patient’s body (wrist, forearm, toe, hamstring, hip, knee, or Achilles tendon). Then the surgeon will drill holes into the humerus and ulna. The next step becomes the tendon being woven in a figure-eight pattern through the newly drilled holes in the humerus and ulna to reconstruct the ligament. In some instances, pieces of the original ligament are attached to the tendon to add strength to the one.