Researchers from Rush University Medical Center suggest that limiting a Major League Baseball (MLB) pitcher’s number of innings pitched in the first season back after undergoing Tommy John Surgery may be unnecessary.

According to their study, published recently in American Journal of Sports Medicine, they note that the number of innings pitched and number of pitches thrown in the first full season as well as over a player’s career after ulnar collateral ligament reconstruction (UCLR) are not associated with an increased risk having to undergo a revision UCLR, according to a media release from Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush.

The study included all MLB pitchers between 1974 and 2015 who pitched at least one full season following UCLR.

The release explains that the researchers analyzed the recorded pitch counts and innings pitched for the first full season after UCLR, as well as total pitch count and total innings pitched over the pitcher’s entire career. They then compared the pitch counts and innings pitched among players who required revision UCLR and those who did not. Of the 154 pitchers in the study, only 19 had to undergo revision UCLR.

“Estimates of return to play are eye-opening. Approximately 20% of MLB players will not achieve their pre-injury level of performance following this surgery, and it takes the ones who do return to their pre-injury level of play an average of 15 months or longer to do so,” explains Anthony Romeo, MD, Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush sholder specialist, in the release.

“Preventing a second injury to the elbow is critical as revision surgery is much less successful at returning the pitcher to the same level of play. However, it does not appear that instituting limits on the number of innings pitched after a full return to pitching has an impact on preventing revision UCLR surgery,” he adds.

[Source(s): Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush, PR Newswire]