One of the fathers of sports medicine, Dr. Frank Jobe, has died. Dr. Jobe is one of the physicians responsible for developing the specialty of sports medicine. Today, not only do professional athletes seek sports medicine assistance for injury recovery, but recreational athletes, weekend warriors, and those of us wanting to stretch our limits a little further, often use the services of a sports medicine physician.
Dr. Jobe is best known for his work developing surgical techniques used for the treatment of medial collateral ligament injuries of the elbow in throwing athletes. So-called 'Tommy John surgery" has allowed countless baseball players to continue pitching despite having sustain a once career-ending injury.
Dr. Jobe was 88 years old when he died this week.
A recent study looked at PRP injections for tennis elbow, and compared PRP to a 'sham' injection where the needle was used but no PRP was injected. The results found that while patients in both groups were doing about the same 3 months after the injection, the group that had the PRP was doing better 6 months after the injection.
Critics of the study point out that while there was a difference in groups, this was only seen at the 6-month time, and the improvement was about 72% for the PRP patients, and 55% for the sham injections. That said, any chance for improvement is positive for patients who struggle to find relief from this condition. One of the major criticisms of PRP has been the lack of good scientific data to support their use. This is one of the best studies, in terms of study design, to show benefits of PRP.
Meniscus transplant is a possible surgical option for people with damage to the meniscus cartilage in their knee. The success of meniscus transplants has been a debated subject.
A recent study found that about 1/3 of patients who undergo a meniscus transplant require additional surgery, often within the first few years after their transplant. That said, the vast majority of these patients did have transplanted grafts that survived, with about 90% of patients having grafts that survived the duration of the study.
Former CNN news anchor, and current science journalist, Miles O'Brien required amputation of his arm after being diagnosed with acute compartment syndrome.
Compartment syndrome is a serious condition that requires prompt recognition and emergency treatment. Even when the condition is diagnosed, the treatment often requires aggressive surgery, and may be life threatening.
Miles tells his story of a seemingly small injury that developed into this serious problem in a compelling blog post.
Often surgeons talk about the strength of a rotator cuff repair, and how well a surgical repair was performed. Patients are often worried during their rehab after surgery about re-injury to the repair rotator cuff. A recent study found: it may not matter as much as you think it does.
The study reviewed patients who had rotator cuff surgery, and then performed tests to determine if the repair was intact. What they found, was the structural integrity of the repair had little to do with the patient outcomes. Said another way, it didn't matter very much if the repair was in tact or not. There was a difference in terms of strength between patients who had a solid repair, but there was no difference in terms of pain or function. Interesting findings!
I doubt you can find many surgeons who will advocate for repairs that are not as strong, and certainly shoulder strength is better in patients with a solid repair. But I do think this is further evidence that not all patients need rotator cuff surgery, even if they have a tear. And those patients that have a re-tear after surgery may not necessarily need an additional operation.
A recent study has investigated the effectiveness of surgery for the treatment of Achilles tendon tears. This particular study, called a meta-analysis, groups together data from multiple research papers to try to look for trends between multiple different studies.
What the researchers found, is that when the right rehab is performed, there's no significant difference between surgical and non-surgical treatment. If functional rehabilitation is not available, then surgery may help prevent re-tears of the Achilles tendon.
The critical factor identified was the type of rehab when patients had non-surgical treatment. Functional rehab means patients have early motion exercises started. Immobilization leads to a higher chance or re-tears, and therefore, if function rehabilitation is not available, the authors recommend surgery.
Most of us rely on our cars. Maybe we like to think we don't need them, but ask anyone who has had an injury or surgery that has prevented their ability to drive, and they'll be sure to let you know how important our cars can be. So when is the right time to return to driving? Is there a standard time? Should I ask my doctor?
It turns out, there is more to driving than your doctor can assess in his or her office. Driving safely requires the vehicle operator to have sufficient mental and physical abilities, both of which can be affected by injuries or surgery. While your doctor probably can tell you when it is not safe for you to drive, ultimately the decision on returning to drive should be determined by your local motor vehicles licensing department.
Did you take a test before returning to drive? Leave your comments below!
The word "steroids" means different things to different people. To some it means a way of cheating, and to others it may be the key to surviving.
So what are steroids? Are they helpful or harmful?
Steroids are a diverse group of molecular compounds that share some common structural characteristics. But not all steroids are the same! Steroids include cholesterol, cortisone, and sex hormones. Different steroids have very different effects, and very different side-effects.
Learn about steroids, and how different types of steroids have different uses--both legitimate medical uses, and inappropriate misuses.
Joint replacement surgery has been growing in numbers, and even more striking is the fact that more young patients are having joint replacement surgery. Data from the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons shows that the number of hip replacements increased 78% in the last decade. In that same time, the percentage of patients under the age of sixty-five having a hip replaced has gone up from 27% of the patients to 40%.
Having a joint replacement at a young age causes concern because the possibility of requiring additional surgery increases. Implants do not last forever, and the younger the patient, the more likely they may need additional surgery.
Sources: "As joint replacements grow more popular, younger patients face repeat surgeries" The Washington Post. January 3, 2011.
Image © Medical Multimedia Group
What makes a hip replacement last as long as possible, with the fewest complications? There are many things people talk about:
- Which surgical technique is used, such as anterior hip approaches
- What material the implant is made from
- Who makes the implant
The truth is, while these may matter, it is almost certainly not the most important factor. The truth is, what matters most is how well the surgery is technically performed. While technical ability is related to surgeon experience, this is not the perfect measure. Unfortunately, surgeons are not graded according to how well they do surgery, but maybe they should be, as that is likely one of the most important factors in determining the success of surgery like hip replacement.