Essay Tommy John Surgery

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Baseball players and fans call it Tommy John surgery, after the pitcher who was the first to have the surgery 29 years ago. By any designation, it is one of the major advancements in sports medicine in the last quarter century. Technically it is a ulnar collateral ligament replacements procedure.
Pitching overhand is a particularly stressful motion; the strain it puts on a player's joint is commonly injurious. Pitchers such as Kerry Wood, Matt Morris, John Smoltz, Mariano Rivera, Tom Gordon, and Eric Gagne all have a four inch scar on their pitching arms as evidence of this career saving surgery.
These players typically perform as well, if not better, after the operation and have stronger arms, with radar gun readings to match. "It
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Prior to 1974 it is unknown how many pitchers career’s may have been saved from this surgery. But today we do know that out of 700 pitchers in the major leagues 75 of them are Tommy John surgery patients. Many believe that Sandy Kofax’s “dead arm” may have been surgically repaired by this procedure.
Crudely described, what Jobe did was build John a new ligament. Since no artificial tissue can fully approximate the function of the body's own connective tissues, and since the body doesn't have a whole lot of spare ligaments lying around, Jobe began by harvesting a healthy tendon. In most cases the tendon is harvested from the forearm of the patient, one attached to the palmaris longus muscle. This tendon is not crucial for anatomical function, and in fact, 15% of people do not have the tendon. To see your palmaris longus tendon, look at the palm-side of your forearm. Touch your thumb and little finger and then make as much of a fist as possible. 85% of you should be able to see this tendon running down your arm.
San Francisco Giants team orthopedist Ken Akizuki reports that when the palmaris longus tendon is unavailable, the surgeon will often use the plantaris tendon in the ankle or a small part of the hamstring tendon in the leg. Usually this tendon will be harvested from the leg that is not used as the plant foot in the pitcher's delivery. The removal of either of these tendons has a

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