Level of play may decline among professional baseball pitchers after revision UCL reconstruction
LAS VEGAS — Compared with professional baseball pitchers who underwent primary UCL reconstruction, research presented here indicates professional pitchers who require revision UCL reconstruction have a more difficult time returning to play at the same major league level.
Robert A. Keller, MD, of Detroit, and colleagues compared outcomes for 33 Major League Baseball pitchers who underwent revision UCL reconstruction (UCL-R) with 33 controls who underwent primary UCL-R who were matched for age and pitching performance. They compared return-to-play and years played following revision as the primary outcome measures. In addition, Keller and colleagues statistically evaluated pitcher performance 3 years before and 3 years after revision surgery.
In the study, 84.8% of pitchers returned to play after revision UCL-R and 67.5% returned to play at the major league level. Compared with the control group, the pitchers who underwent a revision procedure pitched fewer innings per season, had a higher walk rate per nine innings pitched and had careers that were 0.9 years shorter.
The way baseball franchises view and utilize a player likely plays as significant a role in these findings as a pitcher’s postoperative ability, according to Keller. “It would [also] be beneficial to look at non-professional pitchers and how they do after revision surgery,” he said. — by Christian Ingram
Keller RA, et al. Paper #83. Presented at: American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons Annual Meeting; March 24-28, 2015; Las Vegas.
Disclosure: Keller reports no relevant financial disclosures.