Career Choices


Dr. Joel Politi, Orthopedic Surgeon



Brain Surgery
Atom Sarkar
Neurosurgeon
David Moxness
Procedure Solutions Specialist
Compound Machines
Eric Westervelt
Electrical Engineer
Ray Morrow
Exhibit Engineer
Teresa Brusadin
Welding Engineer
Crash Scene
Alexia Fountain
Mechanical Engineering Student
Ed Conkel
Emergency Medical Technician
Trooper Fred J. Cook
Crash Scene Reconstruction
Matthew A. Wolfe
Highway Safety Specialist
Engineering
Kim Bigelow
Engineering Professor
Hip Surgery
Wilma Gillis
Chief Clinical Anesthetist
John Heiner
Professor of Orthopedic Surgery
Pat Johnson
Medical Assistant
Shawn Knock
Surgical Technician
Karen Myung
Orthopedic Surgery Resident
Pat Schubert
R.N. Team Leader, Orthopedics
Richard Illgen
Orthopedic Surgeon
Carolyn Steinhorst
Nurse Clinician
Eric Stormoen
Unit Coordinator, Orthopedics
Szymon Wozniczka
Physical Therapist
Knee Surgery
Leanne Turner
Orthopedic Prosthetic Engineer
Dr. Joel Politi
Orthopedic Surgeon
Jan Augenstein
Physician Assistant
Ed Lafollette
Registered Nurse
Jeremy Daughtery
Clinical Manager Neurosurgery and Orthopedics
Sickle Cell DNA
Andre Palmer
Chemical Engineer
Matt Pastore
Genetic Counselor
Weather
Rick Toracinta
Research Associate
Ben Gelber
On-Air Meteorologist
Dr. Joel Politi, Orthopedic Surgeon

Education

Northeast Ohio College of Medicine
Akron City Hospital – one year internship
Akron General Hospital – five year residency
New England Baptist Hospital, one year fellowship

Career Description

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!