Major League pitching workload after primary ulnar collateral ligament reconstruction and risk for revision surgery.

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Journal of shoulder and elbow surgery / American Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons ... [et al.]


BACKGROUND: Literature has attempted to correlate pitching workload with risk of ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) injury; however, limited data are available in evaluating workload and its relationship with the need for revision reconstruction in Major League Baseball (MLB) pitchers.

METHODS: We identified 29 MLB pitchers who underwent primary UCL reconstruction surgery and subsequently required revision reconstruction and compared them with 121 MLB pitchers who underwent primary reconstruction but did not later require revision surgery. Games pitched, pitch counts, and innings pitched were evaluated and compared for the seasons after returning from primary reconstruction and for the last season pitched before undergoing revision surgery.

RESULTS: The difference in workload between pitchers who did and did not require revision reconstruction was not statistically significant in games pitched, innings pitched, and MLB-only pitch counts. The one significant difference in workload was in total pitch counts (combined MLB and minor league), with the pitchers who required revision surgery pitching less than those who did not (primary: 1413.6 pitches vs. revision: 959.0 pitches, P = .04). In addition, pitchers who required revision surgery underwent primary reconstruction at an early age (22.9 years vs. 27.3 years, P < .001) and had less MLB experience (1.5 years vs. 5.0 years, P < .001).

CONCLUSIONS: There is no specific number of pitches, innings, or games that place a pitcher at an increase risk for injury after primary UCL reconstruction. However, correlations of risk may be younger age and less MLB experience at the time of the primary reconstruction.

Medical Subject Headings

Adult; Athletic Injuries; Baseball; Case-Control Studies; Collateral Ligament, Ulnar; Elbow Joint; Humans; Male; Physical Endurance; Reoperation; Retrospective Studies; Risk Factors; Ulnar Collateral Ligament Reconstruction; Young Adult

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