UMMS Affiliation

Department of Orthopedics and Physical Rehabilitation

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Musculoskeletal System | Orthopedics | Sports Medicine | Surgical Procedures, Operative | Therapeutics


BACKGROUND: This retrospective case series examined 324 athletes who received elbow ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) reconstruction by a single surgeon in a private practice over a 9-year period. The novel Docking Plus technique for elbow UCL reconstruction in 324 athletes provided good or excellent Conway score results in 88% of patients. The preponderance of previous studies examining UCL reconstruction outcomes were performed by surgeons at one of only three institutions (Andrews Institute, Hospital for Special Surgery, Kerlan Jobe Orthopedic Clinic).

METHODS: Patients undergoing UCL reconstruction from November 2005 to December 2014 were identified and contacted with a mailed survey and phone call. These patients were given a subjective 19 question survey assessing their outcomes from surgery.

RESULTS: The participants who responded to our survey were 90% male and 77% baseball players, 73% of which were pitchers. Of the baseball players who responded, 51.9% were in high school at the time of their surgery, 37% college, 6.5% minor leagues, and 2.2% in Major League Baseball. After surgery, 36% of survey responders returned to a higher level of competition than previously. For example, a high school athlete who had UCL reconstruction and went on to pitch in college. Further, 45% returned to the same level, and 7% returned to a lower level. Subjective "satisfaction," was reported in 92% of responders and 97.2% reported that, "having surgery was a good idea." Symptom onset in the responding athletes was 58.9% sudden, and 41.1% gradual. Overall, 90.9% of respondents returned to play in less than 1.5 years while 6.3% never were able to return. Re-tear occurred in 2.5% of patients, while 8.8% had subjective nerve dysfunction for at least 3 months following surgery.

CONCLUSION: The Docking Plus technique can produce excellent subjective and objective results in athletes. Further study is warranted to see the effects of this procedure in other settings and determine which method of reconstruction or repair is superior.


Baseball, Elbow, Ligament reconstruction, Tommy John Surgery, UCL

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© The Author(s). 2019. Open Access. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.

DOI of Published Version



Sports Med Open. 2019 Jan 16;5(1):3. doi: 10.1186/s40798-018-0174-8. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Sports medicine - open

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Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.