The Herman Trend Alert
December 21, 2016
Operating on Small Joints
No one would dispute that medicine is becoming increasingly specialized. When we attended the VoyagerMed Innovation Summit in November we met Dr. Alejandro Badia, a world-class orthopedic surgeon, specializing in surgery of the hand and upper extremities and located in the Miami Metro Area in the United States.
Small joint arthroscopy
Arthroscopy, in general, in minimally invasive surgery performed with small incisions, intricate instruments, and a fiber optic light source In lieu of large open surgery, two small holes are made that look like "a vampire biteÓ. This type of surgery typically cuts the recovery time to a fraction of the length required in traditional surgery.
Badia's impressive track record
Though small joint arthroscopy is not common in hands and wrists, Dr. Badia has been performing these procedures for almost 20 years. One of the most common types of surgeries Dr. Badia performs is the procedure to counteract the crippling effects of Basal Joint Arthritis---a 25 to 40-minute procedure that can "change patients' lives".
Another type of surgery that can change lives is Hand Transplants. Easier than reattaching severed hands, the surgery usually takes 8 to 12 hours and does involve intense rehab and immuno-suppressive drugs to discourage rejection.
Urgent orthopedic care
Primary urgent care medical facilities have been popping up all over our cities for years. They avoid the expense and often long wait times at Emergency Rooms (ERs) in hospitals. Imagine having a knee or shoulder injury and not having to wait to be seen in a traditional ER?
Change the delivery of Orthopedics
Badia's intention is to change the way Orthopedics is delivered. That kind of efficiency in healthcare delivery is the thinking behind "Ortho Now", a chain of urgent care orthopedics facilities, currently in Florida and Georgia in the US. Partnering with local physicians and Uber, Ortho Now offers not only immediate care for orthopedic injuries and issues, but also rehab and therapy to help alleviate pain and get patients back on their feet.
What's next for small joint surgery: autologous* cartilage tissue implants
Not yet available in the US, this treatment involves a combination of cell therapy and tissue engineering techniques. Using bio-engineering, the patient's own cartilage cells are used to grow an implant outside the body. The biodegradable cartilage scaffold is then placed in the joint. A brave new world of medicine awaits the open-minded.
* Using the patient's own cells
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