Tommy John surgery

Tommy John’s left arm with a radical procedure that replaced the ligament with a tendon from John’s right arm. The surgery revived John’s career and has become so common that one-third of current major-league pitchers have undergone it. More alarming, though, is the number of youth pitchers who require the procedure. In 2010, athletes under the age of 18 made up 31 percent of the operations performed by Dr. James Andrews, the country’s pre-eminent Tommy John surgeon – up from 18 percent in 2000.

tommyjohns-1
tommyjohns-2 Healthy elbow
tommyjohns-3 1. The surgeon drills tunnel-like holes in the ulna and humerus.
tommyjohns-4 2. A tendon which is taken from the forearm or leg is then strung through the holes in a figure eight pattern. The tendon replaces the ligament, stabilizing the joint.
SOURCE: Staff research | STAFF GRAPHIC | MICHAEL FISHER