Ulnar collateral ligament reconstruction (UCLR): also known as Tommy John surgery, a procedure to repair the ulnar collateral ligament, a structure on the inside aspect of the elbow that stabilizes the joint. The operation is done to treat injury of the ulnar collateral ligament. Athletes at particular risk for ulnar collateral ligament injury include overhead throwers like baseball pitchers, those who play throwing sports such as baseball, and volleyball and tennis players.
The procedure is named after the Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher who was the first person to have this surgery, in 1974. In the surgery, the damaged ligament is replaced with a piece of tendon taken from another location in the body. Newer techniques than those originally used have been developed that reduce the chance of complications from the surgery. The surgery is followed by a rehabilitation program designed to restore strength and function.