December 11, 2014
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Radiographs may be useful to determine severity of UCL tear

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Findings from a recently published study demonstrated that radiographs may play a role in differentiating full-thickness ulnar collateral ligament tears from partial tears.

Researchers retrospectively reviewed standard preoperative static and stress radiographs in the elbows of 226 baseball players who underwent ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) reconstruction at a single institution between 2009 and 2013. The primary metric of evaluation was level of valgus stress opening, a metric determined via a Telos stress device that provided 15 daN of stress.

Patients with UCL injuries were found to open 0.4 mm more than on the contralateral elbow. This opening was significantly larger in patients with MRI-determined full-thickness tears (0.6 mm) compared with those with partial tears (0.1 mm).

Sixty-four, 102 and 60 players, respectively, from the high school, collegiate and professional levels were included in the study. Pitchers represented 85% (193 patients) of these patients, and right/left arm dominance split was 179 to 47, according to the researchers.

Disclosure: The authors have no relevant financial disclosures.