Michael Seth Maness is a U.S. professional baseball pitcher and he is regarded as one of the top players of the game. For instance, with 169 2/3 innings pitched in 2012, he allowed only ten walks
. Maness suffered a serious elbow injury on August 16, 2016. The injury effectively ended his career
. On August 18, Maness underwent novel surgery
when a surgeon undertook to fix his ulnar collateral ligament in his damaged elbow joint instead of the conventional medical approach, which is to undertake a Tommy John surgery ligament replacement.
The injury is a common one in sports like baseball. Ulnar collateral ligament reconstruction
, (commonly referred to as Tommy John surgery), is a surgical graft procedure whereby the ulnar collateral ligament in the medial elbow is replaced with either a tendon, taken from another part of the patient's own body, or where a tendon is taken from the tissue of a cadaver. By using a figure-eight pattern, the surgeon inserts the tendon through holes drilled in the humerus and ulna. The procedure is named after the first baseball player to undergo the surgery, the major league pitcher Tommy John. The first surgery was performed by Dr. Frank Jobe in 1974.
The alternative surgical procedure was performed by
Dr. George Paletta, a St. Louis-based orthopedic surgeon. In carrying out the operation, Maness became the first established major-league pitcher to undergo the procedure.The main difference with the new procedure is that it involves a repair and buttressing of the existing ligament at the bone, rather than the Tommy John procedure, which involves the reconstruction of the ligament.
The procedure significantly reduced the player's recovery time from 12-15 months to 6-8 months. It was also successful. This has enabled Maness to be available for Spring Training in 2017. The player is currently a free agent, hoping to sign-up to a top-flight team. Given the success of the new procedure it could eventually prove to be an alternative to Tommy John surgery.
Speaking with St. Louis Toady, Seth Maness, aged 28, said
: “It was a game-time decision. 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.”