Treat Painful Joints to the Best Care

Orthopedic specialists handle full range of bone and joint treatments

Deciding where to go for orthopedic care can be a difficult decision, but for residents of southeastern Massachusetts and Rhode Island, making a wise choice is simple. Southcoast Health’s orthopedic program offers expert treatment from skilled physicians and staff who provide a personalized experience to every patient.

According to Michael Langworthy, MD, chief of Orthopedic Surgery & Sports Medicine, Southcoast has been working over the last four years to bring additional breadth and depth to the program in order to provide the highest level of care. In that time, they have added surgeons who are board certified in the orthopedic subspecialties of trauma, lower arm (elbow, hand and wrist), foot and ankle, adult hip, adult knee, shoulder and sports medicine.

“The best outcomes for total hip replacement or total knee replacement will come from a program that conducts about 500 procedures of biologic or total joint replacement a year,” Dr. Langworthy says. “We do 600 hips and knees a year.”

And it is not just the numbers that are impressive — the program has “bench depth,” as well. Experienced orthopedic nurses, physician assistants, physical therapists and other specialists round out the team, ensuring that each patient receives the care needed to make the outcome as efficient and effective as possible.

Embracing innovation

Southcoast Health’s orthopedic surgeons bring together the best treatments, both old and new. For example, while total hip replacement has been a recognized treatment for more than five decades, Southcoast surgeons continue to implement the newest methods and technology.

Prior to surgery, Dr. Langworthy uses an MRI to make 3-D images of the patient’s hip that are then transmitted to the prosthetic joint manufacturer. The manufacturer uses a highly accurate, high-speed cutting device to create a customized implant. This precision ensures equal leg length and excellent joint stability. Moreover, the surface of the implant is designed so that over time, the surrounding bone tissue can actually grow into the implant, further stabilizing the new joint system.

Surgeons also use robotically-assisted surgery for some knee procedures. This minimally invasive approach means less blood loss and, generally, a quicker recovery time for patients. Surgeons can use the NAVIO surgical system for partial knee replacements, which can be particularly helpful for younger adults who are experiencing knee pain related to osteoarthritis but who are deemed too young for a full joint replacement.

Surgeons are also making use of biologic joint reconstruction in certain cases. These methods rely on cellular systems to regenerate tissues, sometimes using a patient’s own cells. Dr. Langworthy was one of the first surgeons to conduct a biologic surgery to repair a hip labrum, the cushioning surface where the head of the femur sits in the hip socket.

Pain management

Technological advances aren’t the only way that Southcoast is bringing patients the latest in evidence-based care. Physicians also are adopting new approaches to pain management.

Depending on the surgical procedure, patients may receive a loading dose of acetaminophen and codeine prior to the start of the surgery. During the procedure, doctors administer a spinal block or anesthesia, and before the incision is closed, they inject a pain reliever and anti-inflammatory directly into the surgical space. This multi-modal approach to pain management allows patients to bounce back more quickly after surgery.

“We want to get them fed, get them mobile and into physical therapy within two hours,” Dr. Langworthy says. Besides getting patients back on their feet quickly, he says this approach reduces patients’ narcotic exposure to seven to 10 days, instead of two or three weeks. It all adds up to a better surgical experience for patients.

Don’t let joint pain get you down. Contact the orthopedics program at 844-744-5544 or visit Southcoast Orthopedics to learn about surgical and other options.