Fulmer began experiencing elbow soreness during a recent bullpen session. He said he was told scar tissue built up from previous surgeries had likely led to ligament damage.
The Tigers announced Tuesday that surgery had been recommended, but the 26-year-old wanted to seek another opinion.
Detroit manager Ron Gardenhire previously said Fulmer had been temporarily shut down so he could refine his mechanics due to decreased velocity during spring training, Chris McCosky of the Detroit News reported.
The news leaves a void in the Tigers' rotation, which will likely be filled by Daniel Norris.
Projected Tigers rotation - 2018 Stats
Fulmer went 3-12 with a 4.69 ERA in 24 starts for the Tigers last season.
He was named American League Rookie of the Year in 2016 after authoring a 3.06 ERA and a 3.76 FIP across 159 innings.