Orthopedic Associates Expands Joint Replacement Services

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: March 25, 2010
Contact: Mary Muhlbradt
(701) 857-5116, Fax: (701) 857-5683
mary.muhlbradt@trinityhealth.org

Orthopedic Associates Expands Joint Replacement Services

(MINOT, ND)— Joint replacement (JR) surgery isn’t just for hips, knees and shoulders anymore. Trinity Orthopedic Associates has expanded its JR services to include wrists and elbows.

Dr. E. Dexter Scott is the first of Trinity’s orthopedic surgeons to become trained in the new systems. “We’re really excited about these new products,” Dr. Scott said. “These are the newer generation of elbow and wrist prostheses. I was interested in the products and attended courses two years in a row. I was impressed with the results; it’s a big improvement over previous devices, so we’re ready to start using them.”

Dr. Scott says he encountered wrist and elbow replacement during his years practicing in Canada and Oklahoma. The technology was still in its infancy, however, and not very productive in terms of a good overall outcome. Patients came away with less pain but very poor mobility.

“Among the problems we see in patients with severe disease in the elbows and wrists are a lot of stiffness, a lack of mobility and function. They’re very painful and quite severely deformed. These new prostheses correct all of these things,” Dr. Scott said, adding, “They can also be customized to fit the size of the patient.”

Though not as common as hip, knee and shoulder replacement, elbows and wrists are similar in that they generally require treatment due to severe arthritis or injury. The difference is the intricacy of the joint structures. Wrists, for example, contain two rows of carpal bones connected to the two bones of the forearm. Elbows likewise are a complex system of bones, ligaments, muscles and other structures.

“They had to come up with some pretty ingenious engineering,” Dr. Scott remarked. “For example, the elbow system has four interconnected parts, all slotted together. When you look at the components, the placement of screws – it makes you wonder why someone didn’t come up with it earlier. They managed to utilize the patient’s anatomy to the greatest advantage to make it all work together to achieve maximum range and stability.”

He says the immediate stability is a key factor in the success of the new systems. Patients are able to begin therapy soon after surgery and thus recover more quickly. Patients will also receive the usual follow-up care throughout the lifetime of the implants.

Dr. Scott says he’s enthused about the new JR services, not for himself but for the patients who stand to benefit. “Through the years I’ve had patients who have needed this, and I had to send them away. I did so hoping that they would be helped. Unfortunately in many cases they came back with limited use of their upper extremity. I decided we could do a better job of helping them here.”