(Naples Daily News/The Advertiser)- Before New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees underwent surgery for a torn ligament in his right thumb last week, he consulted with Angels star baseball player Mike Trout, who underwent a similar surgery.
Brees ended up having the surgery with Dr. Steven Shin in Los Angeles after consulting with a hand specialist in Houston, according to ESPN.
The future Pro Football Hall of Famer’s doctor used an InternalBrace ligament-augmentation operation, according to ESPN, which is virtually the identical surgery that Shin performed on Trout. InternalBrace is developed, manufactured and marketed by Naples-based Arthrex.
After speaking with both doctors and other professional athletes, there have been no other NFL quarterbacks to have this surgery with the internal bracing on their throwing hand — I take that as a challenge!” Brees wrote in a text message to ESPN.
Alabama star quarterback Tua Tagovailova suffered a high ankle sprain in the SEC Championship Game on Dec. 1, but returned for the Capital One Orange Bowl, the national semifinal against Oklahoma. His recovery time was cut in half by using Arthrex’s Knotless Syndemosis TightRope Implant System. Drs. Lyle Cain and Norman Waldrop performed the operation, as they did on then-Alabama quarterback Jalen Hurts, who had a high ankle sprain in October, but had the procedure and only missed a couple of games.
Brees is hoping to return in six weeks — a great reduction from the usual eight- to 12- week recovery time.
Brees, 40, holds NFL records for career pass completions, career completion percentage and career passing yards. The former Purdue star is third in regular-season career passer rating, and fourth in postseason career passer rating in NFL history. He was the NFL Comeback Player of the Year in 2004, the Offensive Player of the Year in 2008 and 2011 and the MVP of Super Bowl XLIV.
“The first 7-to-10 days of post-surgery are really important,” Brees said in a text message to ESPN. “It crushes me not to be there with them, but I have to do everything I can to get back as fast and strong as possible.”
Arthrex describes the system being made of “a high-strength flat suture, tensioned between two knotless suture anchors, either a DX SwiveLock SL or Mini PushLock anchor. A flat tape (SutureTape) is placed over the repair and acts like an ‘internal seat belt,’ supporting and protecting the repaired ligament from further injury.”
According to a press release by Arthrex, the technique was performed on an ankle sprain in 2013 and has been used in other parts of the body, including the hand, since 2015. The system has been used in more than 200,000 patients, and has been used on Trout and Angels teammate Andrelton Simmons, and point guard Chris Paul of the Los Angeles Clippers.