Repair of the Ulnar Collateral Ligament: A Review of Current Trends and Outcomes

James S. MacKenzie, MD; Daryl C. Osbahr, MD


Curr Orthop Pract. 2022;33(4):315-319. 

In This Article


Since its initial description by Jobe[1] in 1986, UCL reconstruction has been considered the gold standard treatment for surgical management of UCL tears in throwing athletes. However, over the past 5 yr, a renewed interest in primary UCL repair or UCL repair with internal bracing augmentation as introduced by Dugas et al.[15] has shown compelling clinical results. This includes rates of return to sport to presurgical levels comparable to reconstruction and roughly half the down time. Biomechanical studies support the clinical data. They demonstrate comparable and, in some cases, superior biomechanical characteristics of UCL repair with internal bracing compared to reconstruction. Despite the promising data, patient selection and proper indications are imperative to the success of UCL repair without or without internal bracing. Furthermore, long-term data regarding UCL repair with augmentation does not exist currently. Further research into the long-term outcomes of augmented UCL repair and augmented UCL repair in professional athletes compared to reconstruction is warranted; however, the technique certainly shows promise.