How is a UCL Injury Diagnosed?
Dr. Yau will perform a medical review and physical examination to diagnose the injury. During the examination, he will perform a valgus stress test to determine the level of elbow instability and assess the pain associated with it. A series of x-rays and MRI are usually performed to assess the severity of injury.
What is the Treatment for a UCL Injury?
UCL injuries can often be treated through a non-surgical approach including activity modification, ice, anti-inflammatory medications and physical therapy. Platelet rich plasma (PRP) injections have also shown promising results in decreasing pain and increasing function after injury.
Surgical reconstruction of the ulnar collateral ligament is indicated for full thickness tears in throwers and those who do not respond to conservative treatment. A torn UCL is surgically reconstructed using one of the patient’s own tendon and is more commonly known as “Tommy John Surgery.” During the procedure, Dr. Yau will typically take the palmaris longus tendon to reconstruct the damaged ligament. Sometimes, one of the hamstring tendons may be used if the patient does not have a palmaris tendon.
For additional resources on a UCL injury, such as an ulnar collateral ligament tear, please contact the orthopedic office of elbow specialist Dr. Jervis Yau, located in the Santa Barbara, Goleta, Santa Maria and Ventura, California area.