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Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Maness a trailblazer? New surgery for elbow repair cut recovery time

Maness is a week away from returning to the mound and expects to be ready for opening day, just 7½ months after surgery, because Dr. George Paletta performed a repair that could eventually prove to be an alternative to Tommy John surgery for select big-league pitchers. Until the St. Louis-based orthopedic surgeon saw inside Maness’ elbow, he wasn’t sure if Maness was a candidate to be the first established major-league pitcher to receive the new procedure, Paletta said.

Now, the doctor and his patient are eager to watch as Maness’ first time toeing the rubber could be, in their words, “a significant step forward” for the industry. Another doctor who performs the repair surgery, Dr. Jeffrey Dugas, said there is “cautious optimism.”

“It was a game-time decision,” said Maness, a free agent. “I’m going into it sort of expecting Tommy John and hoping for the other one. You go from looking at missing a whole season to possibly being back at the start of the year — that’s a big relief. When Dr. Paletta told me, it was like this little ray of light: There’s a chance.”

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: January 11, 2017 at 10:58 AM | 1 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: cardinals, seth maness, tommy john surgery

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   1. Hank G. Posted: January 11, 2017 at 03:26 PM (#5381843)
I read the article and I am still not clear on what is done during the surgery. It talks about “repairing” the existing ligament, but based on the requirement that the tear be close to one end and not in the middle, I get the idea that the ligament is shortened and reattached with the torn portion removed.

I wonder if it will ever come to using an artificial ligament rather than harvesting a tendon from the patient’s body. This newer procedure is already using Arthrex tape for reinforcement (which I assume remains in the patient’s arm and not absorbed by the body, since the tape is made from polyethylene). If someone comes up with an high tech ligament replacement stronger than natural ligament that the body will not reject, then we could have true bionic arms. Of course, then the next weakest element of the arm will start failing.

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