Tommy John Surgery

Tommy John Surgery (TJS) or Ulnar Collateral Ligament Reconstruction, is a surgical graft procedure where the ulnar collateral ligament in the medial elbow is replaced with either a tendon from elsewhere in the patient’s body, or a tendon from donated tissue of a cadaver.

According to Dr. Randy S. Schwartzberg of Orlando Ortho, the most common places tendon grafts are taken from are the palmaris longus tendon from the forearm or the gracilis tendon from the leg.

Tommy John Surgery is common among collegiate and professional athletes in several sports, especially baseball.

Ulnar Collateral Ligament Reconstruction was first performed in 1974 by orthopedic surgeon Frank Jobe, a Los Angeles Dodgers team physician who served as a special advisor to the team until his death in 2014. The procedure was named after Los Angeles Dodgers Pitcher Tommy John — the first baseball player to undergo the surgery. Tommy John’s record of 288 career victories ranks seventh among left-handed pitchers.

The initial operation, John’s successful post-surgery career, and the relationship between the two men is the subject of a 2013 ESPN 30 for 30 documentary “Tommy and Frank.”

Video of amazing procedure …

Viewer Discretion shows actual surgical procedure). Orlando Orthopaedic Center’s Dr. Randy S. Schwartzberg, a board certified orthopaedic surgeon specializing in Sports Medicine, discusses what’s involved with an Elbow Ulnar Collateral Ligament (UCL) or Tommy John surgery.

The ulnar collateral ligament (UCL or internal lateral ligament) is a thick triangular band at the medial aspect (inside) of the elbow that connects the distal aspect of the humerus (upper arm bone) to the proximal aspect of the ulna (one of two forearm bones).

Distal means far end respective to the body, and proximal means the close end respective to the body.