Matthew D. Saltzman
NEW ORLEANS — Major League Baseball pitchers who underwent ulnar collateral ligament reconstruction returned to play at a level of performance similar to average Major League Baseball pitchers, according to a presenter here.
“Prior to surgery, UCLR pitchers are more valuable than the average Major League Baseball pitcher,” Matthew D. Saltzman, MD, said in his presentation at the American Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons Annual Meeting. “Following return to play, UCLR pitchers are a similar value to the average Major League Baseball player.”
Saltzman and colleagues compared 292 Major League Baseball (MLB) pitchers who returned to play after ULCR with a control cohort of average MLB pitchers.
“Further, we subanalyzed the UCLR pitchers as far as those who were able to achieve sustained careers, notably 1 year after surgery,” Saltzman said.
Results showed an 83% return-to-play rate after UCLR. Prior to surgery, Saltzman noted pitchers who later underwent UCLR performed at a higher level compared with average MLB players, with better velocity, wins above replacement, lower fielding independent pitching, lower expected fielding independent pitching, higher win probability added and a higher leverage index.
“Following the UCLR surgery, there was no difference in value between the UCLR pitchers and the average Major League Baseball player,” Saltzman said.
Saltzman also noted no difference in the pre- and post-UCLR performance among pitchers who returned to play when pitchers who failed to achieve the sustained return to play at more than 1 year were excluded.
“This suggests that players that achieve the sustained return to play should be analyzed separately from the entire cohort of the UCLR metrics,” he said. – by Casey Tingle
Selley RS, et al. Paper #18. Presented at: American Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons Annual Meeting; Oct. 12-14, 2017; New Orleans.
Disclosure: Saltzman reports he is a paid consultant for CareFusion, Medacta and Wright Medical Technology Inc.; and receives IP royalties from Wright Medical Technology Inc.