Elbow flexion angle during graft fixation for ulnar collateral ligament reconstruction: a systematic review of outcomes and complications

Neel K. Patel, Darren de Sa, Sarah Zhu, Asheesh Bedi, Bryson P. Lesniak

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Background: The ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) of the elbow is commonly injured in overhead athletes, especially baseball pitchers. UCL reconstruction has shown good outcomes regarding return to play, but revision rates are on the rise. This review was conducted to determine the effect of elbow flexion angle during graft fixation on outcomes and complications after UCL reconstruction. Methods: MEDLINE, Embase, and PubMed were searched from database inception to November 16, 2017. Patient demographics, surgical technique, graft selection, outcomes, and complications were extracted from the included studies. The quality of each study was assessed in duplicate with the Methodological Index for Non-Randomized Studies criteria. Descriptive statistics are presented. Results: Six studies, with a total of 1168 patients, were included, and all were case series. Excellent Conway scores were present in 83.8% of patients for the 0° to 30° group and in 91.1% of patients for the 45° to 70° group, with no significant differences in return to play between the groups. The rate of revision UCL reconstruction was significantly higher with graft fixation at 0° to 30° (1.4%) compared with fixation at 45° to 70° (0%; P <.01). Conclusions: Elbow flexion angle during graft fixation may not influence return to the same or higher level of competition but appears to influence the need for a revision after UCL reconstruction. However, the available current evidence possesses a high degree of fragility, and further studies are needed with objective measurements to determine the optimal elbow flexion angle for graft fixation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2284-2291
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2018


  • elbow
  • failure rate
  • flexion angle
  • Level IV
  • return to play
  • Systematic Review
  • Tommy John
  • Ulnar collateral ligament

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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