GENEVA—Imagine repairing a hip through a few small surgical incisions, or using a patient’s owned cleansed blood cells to heal damaged tissue. These orthopedic advancements have become a reality and are being performed at Delnor Hospital in Geneva by Vishal Mehta, M.D., a board-certified orthopedic surgeon on the medical staff at the hospital. Dr. Mehta is one a handful of surgeons in the Central Fox Valley performing these state-of-the-art procedures.
“Over the past seven to 10 years, we have experienced significant advances in the field of orthopedic surgery. The procedures I perform today on my patients are life changing,” Mehta said. “Revolutionary orthopedic procedures that are now available at Delnor include arthroscopy of the shoulder, knee and hip; shoulder and reverse shoulder replacement; cartilage transplantation and platelet rich plasma treatments.”
Keeping the Joints Moving
Arthroscopic technology has allowed orthopedic surgeons to perform surgery without having to make large incisions, a once common practice.
“When athletes and non-athletes of all ages require surgery, there are many new procedures to help them regain mobility and strength with a quicker recovery time,” Mehta said.
Some advanced arthroscopic procedures include hip arthroscopy, a minimally invasive procedure that allows doctors to treat conditions initially only operable by traditional open surgery.
This procedure is performed using two or three small surgical incisions and allows the patient to resume their active lifestyle in a shorter period of time. Hip arthroscopy is done on an outpatient basis and corrects tears or bone impingement in the hip. Other revolutionary procedures include total shoulder replacement, where the joint surfaces are replaced with a plastic socket attached to the shoulder bone and a metal ball with a stem attached to the upper arm; and reverse total shoulder replacements, where the socket and metal ball are switched.
“Shoulder replacement surgery is an option for treatment of severe arthritis of the shoulder joint. As the cartilage lining wears away, the protective lining between the bones is lost. When this happens, painful bone-on-bone arthritis develops. Most people get the replacement only when they can no longer tolerate the pain,” Mehta said.
Reverse shoulder replacements can be used to treat the arthritis that accompanies irreparable rotator cuff tears where previously there was no good solution. This generally requires only one or two days in the hospital. A rehabilitation plan also follows, generally for about 10 to 12 weeks.
To really understand the benefits of such advancements in orthopedic surgery, ask Elgin resident Delores Gammon. Delores, a self-described average but avid golfer, underwent two total shoulder replacements: the first in November of 2009 on her left shoulder, and then again in October 2010 on her right shoulder.
“I was experiencing very little mobility and lost a lot of range of motion due to advanced arthritis. I was having trouble lifting my arm, reaching a shelf, and most importantly, swinging my golf club,” she said.
Her experience with Mehta and Delnor was positive and she was impressed from the beginning.
“I was comfortable with Dr. Mehta; he explained everything to me in detail, what I could expect with the surgery and rehabilitation,” she said.
When Delores began experiencing extreme pain in her left shoulder, she scheduled an appointment with Mehta. After a second opinion with a physician at a university teaching hospital in Chicago, she decided Delnor was the way to go.
“I liked being closer to home and knowing I could get the same advanced orthopedic procedure at my local hospital,” she said.
Delores had a two-day hospital stay with both shoulder replacement surgeries, followed by three months of outpatient rehabilitation. Both shoulder surgeries were successful, and Delores is anxiously waiting for spring to begin golfing again.
“I am really glad Dr. Mehta was my surgeon and that I had my surgeries at Delnor. I could not have had better care. Now I am anxious to get back on the golf course; with my two new shoulders, I expect to be the most improved golfer in our ladies’ league.”
In addition to surgery, transplants are some of the newest and most advanced ways of treating orthopedic injuries, including those for knee cartilage and the use of platelets in tissue regeneration.
In a cartilage transplant, the meniscus, or shock absorber in the knee, is worn down through injury or general wear, and painful arthritis can result. Tissue is removed from a cadaver—similar to the process of organ donation. That tissue is then surgically inserted into the joint of a person with reduced cartilage, where it can form new cartilage that attaches itself to surrounding bones. Unlike with organ transplants, rejection of the new tissue by the recipient is not a concern.
Another advancement in orthopedics is the use of platelet-rich plasma, in which a patient’s own blood elements are used to stimulate a healing response within a damaged tissue or joint. Blood is comprised of many types of cells (red, white, plasma and platelets). Research has proven that, in addition to helping blood clot, platelets are activated by injured tissues and consequently release growth factors.
“These growth factors stimulate a powerful healing response in the body. By injecting these healing components into injured/damaged tissue, the body’s natural healing capacity is accelerated. This may lead to a more rapid and efficient tissue recovery,” Mehta said.
All of these state-of-the-art procedures are being performed on the avid athlete as well as the average citizen.
“Orthopedic injuries can sideline you temporarily, but new techniques are helping patients get back in the game of life faster than ever,” Mehta said.