UCL Repair

UCL Repair Overview

A UCL repair or Tommy John Surgery treats a torn ulnar collateral ligament (UCL). The procedure is well known because it has been performed on many famous throwing athletes. Carolina Orthopaedic and Neurosurgical Associates’ (CONA) elbow specialists use the most effective surgical techniques and instruments to perform the procedure. CONA patients recover quickly and return to competition stronger than ever.

How is a UCL repair surgery performed?

Outpatient Tommy John Surgery is performed under general anesthesia. A CONA elbow specialist:

  • Carefully retracts skin and soft tissues
  • Removes the torn UCL and replaces it with graft harvested from the patient or a cadaver
  • Closes the skin and sterilely dresses the incision

A brace holds the elbow in a neutral position after surgery. Total procedure time is 1-2 hours.

What conditions can UCL repair treat?

Tommy John Surgery treats a completely torn UCL.

What are UCL repair advantages?

A completely torn UCL does not heal on its own and nonsurgical treatment options do not treat the injury. Tommy John Surgery is the only effective treatment option. Patients completely recover in just 6-8 months and return to sports with minimal to no restrictions.

What is UCL repair recovery like?

Patients return home shortly after their procedure. The elbow is immobilized for about two weeks. Follow up appointments occur 2 weeks and 1, 3, 6 and 8 months after surgery. Physical therapy is an important part of the recovery process. During one-on-one physical therapy sessions, the patient and physical therapist work together to stretch and strengthen the new UCL. Total recovery time is usually about 6-8 months.

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