What is Tommy John Elbow Surgery?
Tommy John surgery is a reconstruction procedure commonly used to repair a torn ulnar collateral ligament inside the elbow by replacing it with a tendon from elsewhere in the body. The goal of the surgery is to stabilize the elbow, reduce or eliminate pain, and restore stability and range of motion. This procedure was introduced and first performed by Frank Jobe, M.D., on baseball pitcher Tommy John in 1974—hence the colloquial name Tommy John surgery. Tommy John surgery can restore function and eliminate pain in the elbow.
What to Expect with Tommy John Surgery
Patients may need to follow specific advice on what to do before Tommy John surgery. Tommy John surgery typically requires general anesthesia. This means the patient is unconscious for the duration of the procedure.
The surgeon first makes a small incision or incisions in the elbow area. This is large enough for small instruments, including a camera to guide the surgeon, to be inserted to perform the surgery.