Repair of the ulnar collateral ligament of the elbow with internal brace augmentation: a 5-year follow-up

BMJ Case Rep. 2018 Dec 19;11(1):e227113. doi: 10.1136/bcr-2018-227113.


The ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) is the primary restraint to valgus angulation at the elbow. Injury to the UCL is increasingly common and can lead to instability, especially in athletes involved in overhead throwing. Conventional treatment is reconstruction using tendon autograft but performance levels are often restricted after long periods of rehabilitation. Modern surgical techniques have led to renewed interest in repair of the ligament, with the aim of restoring native anatomy. This has the benefit of retained proprioception and no graft harvest morbidity. Furthermore, augmentation of the repair with an Internal Brace protects the healing ligament, while allowing early rehabilitation and accelerated return to play. Here we present the first patient treated with this technique who achieved excellent recovery with return to college level American Football after 4 months. Five years later he has good elbow function and plays at the same level.

Keywords: elbow instability; orthopaedic and trauma surgery; orthopaedics; sports and exercise medicine.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Collateral Ligament, Ulnar / diagnostic imaging
  • Collateral Ligament, Ulnar / injuries*
  • Elbow Joint / diagnostic imaging
  • Elbow Joint / injuries*
  • Football / injuries*
  • Humans
  • Joint Dislocations / surgery
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Range of Motion, Articular
  • Reconstructive Surgical Procedures / methods
  • Return to Sport