A systematic review of ulnar collateral ligament reconstruction techniques

Am J Sports Med. 2014 Oct;42(10):2510-6. doi: 10.1177/0363546513509051. Epub 2013 Nov 12.


Background: Ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) reconstruction of the elbow has become increasingly more frequent among elite overhead athletes. The purpose of this study was to conduct a systematic review comparing the clinical outcomes and biomechanical results of the Jobe, modified Jobe, docking, modified docking, Endobutton, and interference screw techniques for UCL reconstruction.

Hypothesis: The docking technique will have significantly fewer complications and improved return-to-play rate.

Study design: Systematic review; Level of evidence, 4.

Methods: Using the Medline PubMed, Cochrane, and EMBASE databases, a search was performed of all published articles, including randomized controlled trials, cohort studies, and case series, examining UCL reconstructions performed using one of the above noted techniques and excluding case reports and hybrid techniques. Statistical analysis was performed using a χ(2) test of independence and 2-proportion Z test.

Results: A total of 21 studies, 7 biomechanical and 14 clinical, met the inclusion criteria. There were 1368 patients. The overall complication rate was 18.6% (255/1368), further subdivided into 21 for the Jobe technique (29.2%), 203 for the modified Jobe technique (19.1%), 2 for the interference screw technique (10.0%), 2 (4.3%) for the modified docking technique, and 10 for the docking technique (6.0%). The most common complication across all studies was ulnar nerve neurapraxia in 176 patients (12.9%). The overall rate of return to play was 78.9%.

Conclusion: Ulnar collateral ligament reconstruction utilizing the docking technique results in a significantly higher rate of return to play and a lower complication rate when compared with the Jobe and modified Jobe techniques.

Clinical relevance: A lower complication rate can lead to increased rates of return to play and better outcomes postoperatively.

Keywords: Jobe technique; docking technique; interference screw; ulnar collateral ligament reconstruction.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Athletic Injuries / surgery
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Collateral Ligaments / surgery*
  • Elbow Joint / injuries
  • Elbow Joint / surgery*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Orthopedic Fixation Devices
  • Orthopedic Procedures / methods*
  • Postoperative Complications
  • Ulna*
  • Ulnar Neuropathies / etiology