High Return to Play Rate and Diminished Career Longevity are Seen Following Arthroscopic Shoulder Labral Repair in Major League Baseball Players

Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

Arthrosc Sports Med Rehabil


Purpose: To evaluate the impact of arthroscopic shoulder labral repair, not related to instability, on return to play (RTP), return to prior performance (RTPP), game utilization, and performance in Major League Baseball (MLB) pitchers and positional players.

Methods: A retrospective review of all MLB athletes who underwent arthroscopic shoulder labrum repair from 2002 to 2020 was performed. Players with a history of instability events were excluded. A 2:1 control cohort of healthy MLB players were matched to the operative cohort by age, years of experience, position, height, and body mass index (BMI). Player demographics, game utilization, and performance metrics were collected for all players.

Results: Twenty-six of 39 MLB pitchers (66%) and 18 of 25 (72%) positional players, who underwent arthroscopic shoulder labral repair RTP, with 46.2% of pitchers and 72% of positional players successfully RTP. At one season postsurgery, pitchers and positional players experienced a significant reduction in games played compared to their one season preinjury (44.7 ± 29.3 vs 109.5 ± 73.2 games; P < .001 and 75.7 ± 47.1 vs 98.0 ± 50.7 games; P = .04). When compared with matched controls at one season postinjury, pitchers had significantly fewer runs allowed per 9 innings (5.8 ± 2.0 vs 4.3 ± 1.4; P = .0061) and walk and hits per inning pitched (WHIP) (1.5 ± 0.3 vs 1.3 ± 0.2; P = .0035), while positional players had worse on-base percentage (0.3 ± 0.1 vs 0.3 ± 0.1; P = .0116). Both pitchers and positional players experienced significantly shorter career lengths after surgery (P = .002) when compared to controls.

Conclusion: Following arthroscopic shoulder labral surgery, most MLB pitchers and positional players were able to RTP successfully but experienced shorter careers thereafter. These players also experienced declines in game utilization and performance one season after surgery but were able to return to baseline at 3 seasons after surgery.

PubMed ID

Not assigned.


ePub ahead of print