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When can a professional athlete return to play following scapholunate ligament delayed reconstruction?


Background The aim of this study was to determine the outcomes in relation to return-to-play in professional athletes who had undergone a delayed scapholunate ligament reconstruction.

Methods We searched our prospectively managed database and identified 15 professional athletes who had undergone the modified Brunelli procedure for scapholunate instability. They were contacted to complete a telephone interview. We established the duration between the operation and return-to-play, the level of competition before and after the procedure and if applicable, reasons for reduction in the level of competition.

Results Between 2008 and 2011, 15 professional male athletes underwent the modified Brunelli procedure. One was lost to follow-up and 14 athletes (11 rugby, 2 boxing and 1 golf) were contactable. The mean age of the patients was 30 years (range 18–42). The mean follow-up period was 25 months (range 3–43). Eleven of the 14 (79%) athletes returned to play within 4 months of surgery. By the final review, 9 of the 14 (64%) athletes had returned to play at their preinjury level of competition.

Conclusions A majority (approximately 80%) of professional athletes return to competitive playing within 4 months of undergoing a scapholunate ligament reconstruction. Approximately two-thirds return to play at their preinjury level of competition.

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