Andrews Institute suspends Tommy John surgeries as other practices carry on

Orthopedic Sports Medicine

The Andrews Institute for Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine in Gulf Breeze, Fla., is suspending nonurgent and nonemergent procedures to comply with a March 20 order from Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, according to the Boston Globe.

Mr. DeSantis' order echoed March 18 guidelines from CMS, which called for elective surgeries to be delayed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Procedures being suspended at the Andrews Institute include ulnar collateral ligament reconstruction, otherwise known as Tommy John surgery. Andrews Institute founder James Andrews, MD, is one of the nation's leading orthopedic surgeons for the procedure.

"We are not performing any nonurgent or nonemergent procedures, including Tommy John surgery, in compliance with the governor's executive order. We are adhering to these restrictions and all such cases are suspended at this time," an Andrews Institute spokesperson told Becker's Spine Review. 

Some of Dr. Andrews' peers have moved forward with Tommy John surgeries in recent weeks. Keith Meister, MD, performed reconstructive surgery March 20 on San Francisco Giants right-hander Tyler Beede, The Mercury News reported, and David Altchek, MD, operated on New York Mets ace Noah Syndergaard March 26 at the Hospital for Special Surgery in West Palm Beach, Fla.

More recently, orthopedic surgeon Neal ElAttrache, MD, operated on Boston Red Sox ace Chris Sale March 30 at the Cedars-Sinai Kerlan-Jobe Institute in Los Angeles.

Dr. ElAttrache defended the procedure and others like it. While the Kerlan-Jobe Institute has reduced Tommy John surgeries by 90 percent, Dr. ElAttrache said some can't be considered "elective" because professional athletes' careers hinge on getting treatment.

Thirty-two states have directed providers to cancel elective procedures as of March 30, according to the Ambulatory Surgery Center Association

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