Do MLB Team Physicians Harvest the Semitendinosus From the Drive Leg or Landing Leg?

Posted on: November 21st, 2017 by Our Team

Background: Hamstring autograft is a common graft choice when performing ulnar collateral ligament reconstruction (UCLR).

Purpose/Hypothesis: The purpose of this study was to survey Major League Baseball (MLB) team physicians and determine whether these physicians harvest the hamstring (semitendinosus or gracilis) from the drive leg (ipsilateral to surgical site) or landing leg (contralateral to surgical site) when performing UCLR on elite-level pitchers. The hypothesis was that the majority of surgeons harvest the hamstring from the drive leg when performing a UCLR.

Study Design: Descriptive epidemiology study.

Methods: Overall, 52 MLB team orthopaedic surgeons were sent the 5-question online survey. The survey assessed surgeon UCLR volume, surgical technique, which leg the hamstring graft was harvested from, the reasoning for choosing that particular leg, and whether the surgeon would change their practice if evidence showed the hamstring from one of the legs was more important than the other. The survey was sent out 5 separate times to maximize the response rate.

Results: Forty (77%) MLB team physicians completed the survey. The largest number of surgeons (n 1⁄4 16; 40%) performed between 5 and 14 UCLRs annually, while 6 (15%) performed more than 50 UCLRs annually. Most surgeons (n 1⁄4 23; 57.5%) used the docking technique. Significantly more surgeons harvested the hamstring from the landing leg (n 1⁄4 29; 72.5%) compared with the drive leg (n 1⁄4 11; 27.5%) (P 1⁄4 .007). More surgeons cited the reason for their choice of leg as a belief that the hamstring they harvested plays less of a role in the ability of a pitcher to generate a forceful pitch (n 1⁄4 25; 62.5%) than for logistical reasons in the operating room (n 1⁄4 15; 37.5%); this difference was not statistically significant. Significantly more surgeons would change their practice (n 1⁄4 35; 87.5%) if evidence showed the hamstrings from a specific (drive or landing) leg to be more active in the throwing motion compared with those who would not (P < .001).

Conclusion: When performing a UCLR using hamstring autograft, the majority of MLB team physicians harvest the hamstring from the landing leg as opposed to the drive leg, as they believe the hamstring from the landing leg plays less of a role in generating a forceful pitch than that from the drive leg.

Full Article: Do Major League Baseball Team Physicians Harvest the Semitendinosus From the Drive Leg or Landing Leg When Performing Ulnar Collateral Ligament Reconstruction on Elite Baseball Pitchers?

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