The team announced on Tuesday that the former American League Rookie of the Year had elbow soreness, and that following the MRI and a second opinion from famed Dr. James Andrews that Tommy John has been recommended.
The Tigers also said Fulmer will seek a third opinion before following through with surgery. The MRI revealed damage to the ulnar collateral ligament.
The elbow isn't the only injury that Fulmer is working through, as he has been at the team's spring training facility rehabbing his right knee on which he had surgery in September.
The club shut him down from game action to work on his lower-body mechanics.
The Tigers pitcher threw Friday in a bullpen session, but afterward felt discomfort in his right elbow, which led to the MRI revealing the damage.
"I've been down in Lakeland for about, what, four months now? It stinks, but we're trying to get there," Fulmer said Monday.
"If I have to miss any time, I'd rather miss two weeks now instead of two months later. And that's kind of where we're at right now."
Fulmer last season struggled, going 3-12 in 24 starts with a 4.69 ERA. In three seasons in the Tigers rotation he is 24-31 in 75 with a 4.34 ERA.
With Fulmer likely out for an extended amount of time, pitchers Spencer Turnbull and Daniel Norris are two candidates to take his place in the teams' starting rotation.