Revision Ulnar Collateral Ligament Reconstruction in Major League Baseball Pitchers: Effects of Fastball Velocity and Usage

Author ORCID Identifier

Aaron SciasciaORCID iD icon


Exercise and Sport Science

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Background: Ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) tears are prevalent in Major League Baseball (MLB) pitchers and can cause significant loss of time with varying reports of impact on performance. Revision UCL reconstruction (UCLR) is becoming increasingly ocmmon, with little known about the effects on fastball (FB) velocity and usage (FB%) in this setting. Hypothesis/Purpose: The purpose was to evaluate the effect of revision UCLR on MLB pitchers with respect to postoperative FB velocity and FB% at 1 and 2 years after return to play. The hypothesis was postoperative FB velocity and FB% would significantly decrease vs. prerevision, and that revision UCLRs would result in significantly decreased FB velocity and FB% in comparison to a matched group of MLB pitchers after primary UCLR. Methods: Twenty-one pitchers who underwent revision UCLR and returned to MLB play were indentified from public records from 2008-2021. The PITCHf(x) system collection FB velocity for 4-seam (4FB) and 2-seam (2FB) fastballs and total FB% for pitchers in the prerevision year as well as the 2 years after return. A matched control group of pitchers who underwent primary UCLR was used for comparison. Results: There were no significant differences in FB velocity between prerevision levels (4FB 92.9 mph, 2FB 91.4 mph) and years 1 (4FB 92.5 mph, 2FB 91.2 mph) and 2 (4FB 93.4 mph, 2FB 91.1 mph) after revision UCLR. FB% decreased from the prerevision season (60.1) and the first (56.2, P=.036) and second years (52.5, P=.002) after return. There were no significant differences between FB velocity and FB% or between the revision and primary UCLR groups. Conclusion: Pitchers returning to the MLB level after revision UCLR can expect similar FB velocity to their prerevision FB velocity and to pitchers undergoing primary UCLR; however, they do demonstrate a decrease in FB%, which may suggest less confidence in their FB after RTP.

Journal Title

Journal of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery

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