Return to Sport and Sports-Specific Outcomes Following Ulnar Collateral Ligament Reconstruction in Adolescent Athletes: A Systematic Review
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The incidence of elbow injuries and ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) reconstruction in adolescent athletes is increasing. Knowledge and expectations of outcomes following this procedure are necessary for proper counseling and decision-making in this age group.
We sought to report patient-reported outcomes, rate of return to sport, and rate of complications and reoperation following UCL reconstruction in adolescent athletes.
A systematic review was conducted for adolescent athletes undergoing UCL reconstruction. The primary outcome measure was patient-reported outcome scores, specifically the Conway Scale, the Andrews-Timmerman score, and the Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic (KJOC) score. Secondary outcome measures included return to sport, rate of subsequent procedures, and complication rate. A descriptive analysis was performed.
Seven studies met the inclusion criteria. The average patient-reported outcome scores ranged from 81 to 87% (Conway, “excellent”), 83.6 to 92.7 (Andrews-Timmerman), and 76 to 89.3 (KJOC). The average rates of return to sport were 84% to preinjury level or higher, 93% to any level, and 57% to a higher level. Complication rates ranged from 0.7 to 11%. Rate of subsequent elbow procedures ranged from 0 to 10%.
This systematic review demonstrates favorable outcomes in adolescent athletes following UCL reconstruction. Patient-reported outcome scores and rates of return to sport were comparable with those reported in adult athletes. The procedure is not without risk of complications, and patients and parents should be counseled regarding this risk prior to surgery.
Keywordsadolescent baseball pitching ulnar collateral ligament reconstruction
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of Interest
Georgina Glogovac, MD, Rafael Kakazu, MD, Alexander Constantine Aretakis, BA, and Brian M. Grawe, MD, declare that they have no conflicts of interest.
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