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What is Tommy John Surgery?

In the medial elbow, Tommy John surgery on the Upper East Side, NY replaces the ulnar collateral ligament, or UCL. The medial elbow is located on the inner part of the arm just above the bony bump near your wrist called “the funny bone.” The median nerve passes under this ligament as it travels to innervate the skin of the palm. Here at Dines Orthopedic, our team excels at diagnoses, fixing, and treating any Tommy John injury.  The UCL is an effective stabilizer in the elbow, and when it becomes damaged, typically from repeated pitching motions, it can lead to pain and disability. The injury is often referred to as “Tommy John” for proof that this surgery can successfully return athletes to their prior level of competition.

Symptoms:

Some symptoms you may experience if you need Tommy John surgery on the Upper East Side, NYC, is a pain in the elbow, especially with throwing. You might have trouble straightening your arm after you’ve finished pitching. If you are experiencing these symptoms, you need to seek treatment immediately. If not properly treated, it may end your career or, even worse – cause damage to the median nerve resulting in permanent numbness in the ring and small fingers of your pitching hand.

The success rate of Tommy John surgery on the Upper East Side, NYC, is extremely high. More than 90% of professional baseball pitchers return to their previous level of competition after this procedure, and the other 10% were either minor leaguers or older players nearing retirement anyway.

Treatment:

Some treatment options for a Tommy john injury are :

  • Tommy John surgery on the Upper East Side, NYNo treatment. If the injury is not severe enough, it may heal on its own after a few months or years. Elbow pain can develop while pitching if you continue to stress your elbow, an option for some people.
  • Activity modification. Changing the way you throw by altering your mechanics or technique may help to reduce discomfort.
  • Activity modification and a bracing device. This is similar to #2, but with the addition of a brace that rests on the inside of your elbow. The brace stabilizes the elbow by adding support to the ligaments surrounding it, reducing stress during activity.
  • Physical therapy. This involves a treatment course that helps strengthen the muscles around your elbow and gradually returns you to throwing activities.
  • Surgery to replace the ligament in your elbow. If you continue to experience pain and disability, surgery may be necessary because it replaces or repairs the damaged UCL and ensures proper function and stability.

The surgery typically takes about an hour, and you usually stay in the hospital for three days after surgery. Recovery is a slow process, but most people can return to light recreational activities within six weeks of their procedure. Still, more vigorous activities may be restricted until you are at least 4-6 months post-surgery.

However, certain complications can happen, such as:

  • Nerve damage (rare). Although the ulnar nerve is not typically damaged during this surgery, you can lose feeling in your ring and small fingers if your nerve gets stretched too tightly or gets pinched by surrounding tissue.
  • Infection (rare). An infection can be a complication after any surgical procedure, but these are rare with Tommy John surgery on the Upper East Side, NYC. If your incision gets infected, you may need to have the surgery re-done in hopes that it will resolve the infection and there will be no further complications. Infections usually occur within a few days after surgery, but sometimes they can happen months or even years later.
  • Damage to other structures in the elbow (rare). When the ulnar collateral ligament is being replaced, other structures in your elbow can be damaged. These include your medial epicondyle, where a nerve and a blood vessel travel into the forearm. Damage to these structures may require additional surgery to repair or correct these problems.

Recovery From Tommy John surgery on the Upper East Side, NY

Recovery for Tommy John surgery is often a long process, and it takes about two years for pitchers to regain their form. After three days in the hospital, one can gradually resume strenuous activity at 4-6 months post-surgery, maintain flexibility and muscle strength for another 7-10 months, slowly build up throwing arm strength over 16-24 months.

Contact Dine Orthopedics if you or a loved one needs Tommy John surgery on the Upper East Side, NYC. Our team can help you!

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