Elbow Ligament & Tendon Repair
Common Causes of Elbow Injuries
Elbow injury is common with overhead throwing athletes, such as baseball
and softball, as well as with racquet sports like tennis and racquetball.
While these sports are the most common causes of elbow injuries, the elbow
is susceptible to injury with just about any type of athletic activity.
The most common types of elbow injuries are chronic, overuse injuries
such as tendonitis and bursitis. Acute ligament ruptures can also occur
with repetitive or forceful overhead throwing. This is especially true
for pitchers, and those who throw off-speed pitches like a curveball.
About Ulnar Collateral Ligament (UCL) Reconstruction
Ligaments are fibrous tissues that connect one bone to another. The primary
ligament that stabilizes the elbow joint is the ulnar collateral ligament
(UCL). The UCL is a fan shaped ligament, located on the inside of the
elbow joint. It prevents excessive outward rotation. Surgical treatment
options for elbow instability include ulnar collateral ligament reconstruction.
This surgery involves replacing the UCL with a tendon that is obtained
elsewhere in the body—usually the forearm, knee or hamstring. Your
surgeon will harvest the tendon and loop it through the various holes
that have been drilled in the elbow, in a series of figure-eight patterns.
Over time, the transplanted tendon “ligamentizes,” which basically
means it learns to become a ligament.
What to Expect Before & After Your Surgery
If you and your doctor decide that you need elbow surgery, you will be
admitted as an inpatient. Your procedure will most likely take between
one and two hours. Following the surgery, your arm will be placed in a
splint for several days to immobilize the elbow and allow the wound to
heal. During this time, gentle wrist, hand and shoulder exercises will
also be performed.
Early range of motion is begun within three to seven days after surgery,
depending on the type and extent of the reconstruction. You will be able
to remove the splint and use a range of motion brace in order to avoid
elbow stiffness. It is particularly important to achieve elbow extension.
Hoag Orthopedic Institute's physical therapy team is orthopedic specialized,
and they will work closely with your surgeon to establish a personalized
rehabilitation plan for you. About six weeks after your surgery, elbow
strengthening exercises may begin. For patients who remain dedicated to
physical therapy, the chances of complete recovery are very high, at above
Are you ready to discuss your options with a knowledgeable physician in
Contact the team at Hoag Orthopedic Institute today to get started.