Orthopedic surgeons see more teens needing Tommy John surgery


Tommy John surgery is one of the most common procedures done among professional baseball pitchers, but orthopedic surgeons have noticed more younger patients needing the procedure, ABC 7 reported.

Mark Cohen, MD, of Chicago-based Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush and a team physician for the Chicago White Sox, said the fastest-growing demographic of patients needing Tommy John surgery is 15 to 19-year-olds. 

"There's just been an explosion of these injuries in these throwing athletes, and there's a variety of factors, but it's almost at a point where it's an epidemic," Dr. Cohen said in the report.

A common theme Dr. Cohen said he's seen is overuse in single sport specialization and throwing year-round. A similar pattern is mirrored in professional sports, and it has affected how orthopedic surgeons are thinking about the procedure, according to Neal ElAttrache, MD. 

"The demands of the patients that we're doing it on have changed," Dr. ElAttrache told Becker's. "Some of the ways that a few of us have enhanced the operation is in response to the increasing demands and forces and the violent nature of what's happening to a greater degree to that ligament in the athletes that we're dealing with."

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