What is a "Tommy John" Procedure?
It is a same day procedure to repair a torn elbow ligament. Please note that Dr. Longobardi may perform newer variations of this method than the video and/or descriptions describe. The pictures and descriptions shown here are the classic way "Tommy John" surgery is performed.
This procedure, more formally known as UCL (Ulnar Collateral Ligament) reconstruction, is designed to repair a torn elbow ligament—an injury typically caused by strong, repetitive overhead throwing motions of the arm. It was first performed in 1974 on baseball pitcher Tommy John.
After Dr. Longobardi harvests a tendon from the patient’s own body, he will make a three-inch incision along the inner side of the elbow. This exposes the damaged ulnar collateral ligament on the inside of the elbow.
Tunnels are drilled through the humerus (upper arm bone) and ulna (a lower arm bone) at the points where the damaged ligament normally attaches.
The harvested tendon is looped through the tunnels in a figure-eight pattern. The tendon is sutured to itself, stabilizing the joint.
The procedure typically lasts about an hour and a half, and patients usually leave the hospital the same day.