UCL Repair Using the InternalBrace™ System
Jeffrey R. Dugas, MD, (Birmingham, AL) discusses ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) repair for young overhead athletes who present with acute tears—from either the proximal or distal end of the ligament—not associated with attritional or degenerative disease. Dr. Dugas performs an InternalBrace™ ligament augmentation repair by forming a bone socket in the sublime tubercle with a special drill, guide, and tap, and then places a 3.5 mm PEEK SwiveLock® anchor loaded with collagen-coated FiberTape® suture and a #0 FiberWire® suture repair stitch. A socket with the drill and a larger tap is formed in the humeral epicondyle. The previously placed anchor and FiberTape suture span the repaired ligament and a second 3.5 mm PEEK SwiveLock anchor is placed after appropriate tensioning. In the appropriate patient, the InternalBrace ligament augmentation repair allows for a more aggressive rehab protocol and earlier return to competition as compared to a conventional Tommy John reconstruction.1
1. Walters BL, Cain EL, Emblom BA, Frantz JT, Dugas JR. Ulnar collateral ligament repair with InternalBrace augmentation: a novel UCL repair technique in the young adolescent. Orthop J Sports Med. 2016;4(3)(suppl3):2325967116S00071. doi:10.1177/2325967116S00071
The InternalBrace surgical technique is intended only to augment the primary repair/reconstruction by expanding the area of tissue approximation during the healing period and is not intended as a replacement for the native ligament. The InternalBrace technique is for use during soft tissue-to-bone fixation procedures and is not cleared for bone-to-bone fixation.