Northeast Ohio College of Medicine
Akron City Hospital – one year internship
Akron General Hospital – five year residency
New England Baptist Hospital, one year fellowship
If you have a problem with your knee or hip joints, you would first go to your primary care physician, or family doctor. Then, if that doctor felt you needed further help, he/she would recommend that you consult an orthopedic surgeon. That’s where I come in. I can help determine if you need knee or hip surgery or if there are other ways to treat the problem that don’t include surgery.
A typical week for me consists of two and a half days in the operating room, two and a half days of office hours (I see about 40 patients a day), as well as attending meetings, doing ‘rounds’ and taking the occasional emergency call. Doing ‘rounds’ is checking up on all the patients that I’ve done surgery on that are still in the hospital. The emergency calls I take are usually cases where someone has injured themselves to the point that they need reconstructive surgery on their bones.
I like orthopedic surgery because there are very tangible results. You can easily and quickly see the affect of your work on the patient. The patient’s life changes significantly for the better in most cases. The best part of my work is following-up with patients and seeing how much better they are after surgery. I really love that part!
The worst part of my job is the paper work. There are hundreds of insurance and worker’s compensation forms that I have to fill out every week. I would definitely skip doing all of that if I could. I also think the hours of this job can be very long and can take over your life if you allow that. I think it is very important to strike a balance between your professional and personal life. I make a conscious effort to spend time with my family, making sure I have time for them as well as my job.
There are a couple of exciting aspects to my job. It’s pretty exciting if you break the femur in the middle of the operation. No, I’m just joking! I find that surgery itself is very exciting. You are mentally ‘in the zone,’ concentrating fully on what you are doing. Surgery is a very focused time and that intense focus gives you a rush. So surgery is exciting, but I also find the research aspect to be exciting. I’m participating in research on new ceramic hip replacements for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). I was able to present the results of that research recently at a medical conference in Chicago. It was great to be able to share information and take questions about my work. I am also working on a study on cadavers (dead bodies) that has to do with minimally invasive surgery. We are trying to determine if there are good ways to do surgery that involve cutting several smaller holes in the body instead of one large one. Minimally invasive surgery is one of the big areas where a lot of research will be done in the future.
In the last ten years, there has been a lot of work done to improve knee and hip replacement implants and also work done to improve how we put them in. This has resulted in better outcomes for the patient and knees and hips that last longer after surgery. In the next ten years, I would see more success and continued improvements in these two areas: the implants themselves and the ways surgery is accomplished. Within the next 20-30 years, cartilage regeneration make may knee and hip replacement surgery obsolete. But at the moment, cartilage regeneration isn’t really far enough along to be used on today’s patients. It will be interesting to see where that goes in the next few decades, though!