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Strides Seen in Orthopedic Surgery for Kids
Date:3/14/2010

id they found that "Tommy John" elbow reconstruction was 95 percent successful in teen baseball pitchers with fully mature bones.

The procedure -- named for the Hall of Fame pitcher who was the first to have the operation in 1974 -- involves using a tendon from elsewhere in the body to replace a damaged elbow ligament called the ulnar collateral ligament (UCL).

The study of 20 high school pitchers who had the surgery found that 17 were very satisfied and two were somewhat satisfied with the outcome. Of those 19 patients, 18 said they returned to competitive baseball -- three in the highest level of competition in the minor leagues, 13 in intercollegiate baseball, and three in high school baseball.

"High school kids have been a gray zone for this surgery," Dr. Michael J. Angel, of Premier Orthopaedics of Westchester and Rockland. "Obviously, surgeons would avoid surgery on young patients whose growth plates had not closed. But this study can give surgeons the confidence to recommend this surgery to teenage, skeletally mature athletes. It also gives the teen and their parents assurance that the surgery should go well."

More information

The Nemours Foundation explains how to prevent sports injuries in children.



-- Robert Preidt



SOURCE: American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine, news release, March 13, 2010


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