Spine Surgery for Baseball Players
WE are now mid season for Major League Baseball, and some injuries are starting to take its toll on various teams. While shoulder and arm injuries are most common, there is a small but significant number of players with spine related injuries.
Historically, we know several players have gone on to surgical management of herniated Discs. The long term results have been promising, with over 95% of players returning to the Game.
In regards to baseball pitchers, the statistics are equally as good, as the vast majority of neck and back disc herniations are successfully treated (both non-operative and operatively) with return to play.
While most are very fearful of surgical management of the spine, at least in baseball players, the return to MLB play has been excellent, and even better than the more common baseball related surgeries such as the “Tommie Johns” elbow ligament reconstruction.
While professional baseball players are definitely a healthier cross section of the population, we also know they are subject to much greater explosive physical stresses than most people.
It is reassuring to know that the statistics demonstrate an excellent return to activity after routine disc surgery to the neck and lower back.
If you have debilitating pain associated with a neck or back disc herniation, and it is not improving despite non-surgical care, surgery is reasonable option with good results for most.
Please discuss your options with your Spine Surgeon.
- Nair R, Kahlenberg CA, Hsu WK. Outcomes of Lumbar Discectomy in Elite Athletes: The Need for High-level Evidence. Clin Orthop Relat Res. 2015 Jun;473(6):1971-7. PubMed PMID: 25002213