Patients receive the lasted and most effective diagnostic and treatment available in sports medicine through the use of advanced surgical techniques, many of which were developed by physicians at Texas Orthopedic Hospital. Physicians who specialize in sports medicine also take an active role in preventive medicine, educating the patient on avoiding sports and fitness related injuries.
Advances in knee surgery, particularly through arthroscopy, have virtually eliminated in-patient treatment and have significantly reduced recovery time. Patient recovery time has been accelerated in other important ways, by emphasizing pre-surgery patient education and reducing post-surgery use of casts, splints, and crutches. More about knee surgery…
Arthroscopic Knee Surgery
Restoring Function in Complex Injuries
Frequently referred to by sportscasters as a "possible career-ending ACL tear," a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is often the result of a non-contact "pivoting" injury, and professional athletes and amateur enthusiasts alike can be treated successfully with modern arthroscopic surgery.
According to G. William Woods, MD, arthroscopic advances have changed the treatment of these injuries. "Patients no longer undergo an extensive open procedure," says Dr. Woods, a board certified orthopedic surgeon who specializes in sports medicine and surgery of the knee. "Instead, small incisions are made adjacent to the knee joint, and the arthroscope is inserted. By viewing the underlying injury through this instrument, the surgeon can replace the ruptured ligament with patellar or hamstring tendon," he explains. A member of Fondren Orthopedic Group L.L.P., Dr. Woods has been treating ACL injuries for more than 25 years and is nationally recognized for his expertise in this specialty.
The ACL is a powerful ligament that stabilizes the front of the knee. When the ligament is damaged, its restraining function is impaired. Commonly, a "pop" is heard, and pain, swelling and limited mobility follows. When Janet Schulin tore her ACL, she remembered the success of her husband's surgery when he suffered the same injury and was treated by Dr. Woods. "I was skating with my children when the ligament tore," says Mrs. Schulin, mother of two and active sports enthusiast. "It wasn't particularly painful, but my knee kept giving away whenever I tried to stand up."
"My therapist worked closely with me--much like a personal trainer would--to make sure I was doing the exercises correctly and making progress."
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Dr. Woods reviewed Mrs. Schulin's medical history, examined her knee, and confirmed that the injury was indeed an ACL tear and would require surgery. No diagnostic testing was necessary. "A misconception shared by many patients is that expensive diagnostic tests, like the MRI, are necessary to make an accurate diagnosis of a knee injury," Dr. Woods says. "This is simply not true. Orthopedic surgeons who specialize in one area of the body can draw on their years of experience and unique expertise to arrive at an accurate diagnosis," he explains.
Immediately following her surgery at Texas Orthopedic Hospital, Mrs. Schulin began physical therapy in the recovery area before being moved to her room. "I was extremely impressed with the hospital's state-of-the-art facilities and knowledgeable staff," she recalls. "The nurses on the floor were gentle and very helpful; even the food was delicious!" Mrs. Schulin found every aspect of the hospital accommodating during her stay as an orthopedic patient.
The concept of a patient-centered hospital--committed solely to the needs of the orthopedic patient--began taking shape in early 1993. "Bringing a center of orthopedic excellence to the patient was our goal," says Dr. Woods, managing partner of the Fondren Orthopedic Group at Texas Orthopedic Hospital. "The design of the Hospital was planned with patient comfort and assessibility in mind," Dr. Woods explains. "To that we added the most sophisticated technology, finest support personnel, and a group of orthopedic surgeons internationally recognized and representing every subspecialty."
Mrs. Schulin's postoperative rehabilitation included a visit to Texas Orthopedic Hospital's physical and rehabilitative therapy department. "I knew that physical therapy would help my ligament heal and strengthen my knee," says Mrs. Schulin. "My therapist worked closely with me--much like a personal trainer would--to make sure I was doing the exercises correctly and making progress." Mrs. Schulin continued the exercises at home, but added that her visit with the therapist was extremely beneficial and "not a problem at all--the free parking was convenient, and someone was there to give me a lift if I needed it."
Mrs. Schulin didn't need a lift for long. One week after surgery, she was walking without crutches and had regained a great deal of function in her knee. "I make sure that my patients understand that physical therapy is critical to the success of their surgery," says Dr. Woods, and that it is their responsibility to follow the exercise program as prescribed. We're here to help them do that."
In addition to his surgical practice, Dr. Woods trains other sports medicine physicians to repair ACL tears and other technically demanding knee injuries. His ongoing research in the treatment of complex knee conditions has led to a standard of care followed by surgeons nationwide.
"I have found that concentrated, focused therapy of the knee is more beneficial than lengthy or sporadic sessions," explains Dr. Woods. At Texas Orthopedic Hospital, physical and rehabilitative therapy services are physician-directed to insure the best possible outcome for each patient.
Mrs. Schulin has resumed an active schedule, and she's looking forward to joining her children at the roller skating rink, returning to the bowling lanes, and maybe playing a little touch football. Dr. Woods says that Mrs. Schulin's quick and complete recovery was not a surprise. "Whether I'm treating a professional athlete, the 'weekend warrior,' or a busy mother like Mrs. Schulin, my goal is always the same," Dr. Woods says. "--to restore the patient's full knee function and return him or her to an active lifestyle as quickly and safely as possible.
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