UCL tear location in pitchers may help determine if surgery is needed: 3 notes from new research

Written by Anuja Vaidya | July 07, 2016 | Print  |

The location of ulnar collateral ligament tears within a pitcher's elbow can be key to deciding whether surgical treatment is necessary, according to research presented at the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine's annual meeting in Colorado Springs, Colo., July 7 to 10.

Researchers examined pitchers sustaining UCL injuries between 2006 and 2015 from one professional baseball organization. They identified a total of 38 players with UCL injuries.


Here are three notes:


1. Of the 38 players, 32 (84 percent) received non-operative treatment for partial ligament tears.


2. Researchers identified a proximal UCL tear in 81 percent of the patients that were successfully treated non-operatively.


3. Researchers identified a distal UCL tear in patients that failed non-operative treatment and required surgical intervention. Pitchers were "12.4 times more likely to fail non-operative treatment with a distal ligament tear," said Mark S. Schickendantz, MD, of the Cleveland Clinic's Sports Health Center and the study's senior author.


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