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Strong & Steady


Orthopedic surgeon offers new life to injured knees and ankles with advanced technology

Brace yourself. That’s something we might say to ourselves—or someone we care about—to help face a bump in the road with strength and resilience.

When that hard knock is a knee or ankle injury, orthopedic surgeon Roddy McGee, DO, is offering his patients a super-strong internal brace. This innovative technique helps people bounce back quicker—and with less discomfort—from injuries.

Dr. McGee uses this internal bracing technique to repair common sports related mishaps, including ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) injuries in knees, Achilles tendon ruptures in ankles, and elbow injuries.

With this internal bracing technique, surgeons can use smaller incisions, so there’s less pain and swelling. “The faster recovery times mean you can return to an active life quicker,” Dr. McGee says. “The internal brace is a super-strong suture material that repairs the injury, provides temporary stability during healing, and is anchored into the bone. The plastic anchor eventually dissolves.”

From tattered and torn to strong and steady. If you’re a sports fan, you know that many knee injuries involve the ACL, the smallest of the four main ligaments in the knee. It is the main stabilizing ligament in the center of the knee. It keeps your shinbone (tibia) from sliding forward and rotating on your thighbone (femur).

Treatment for ACL injuries is typically reconstruction, often using tendons from other places in the body. By using the internal brace technique, surgeons can offer additional strength and support to the reconstructed ligament. It stabilizes the ligament, helping it heal at an appropriate length. It accelerates recovery—allowing people to walk more naturally and return to their activities sooner.

‘I knew what happened immediately’

Your Achilles tendon is the largest tendon in your body, connecting your calf muscle to your heel bone. You need it for walking, running, and jumping. It’s strong, but it can still be vulnerable to painful injuries in both professional and recreational athletes.

Just ask Casey Craven. In February 2017, Casey was trying out for a regional level of American Ninja Warrior when his Achilles gave out in a painful and dramatic way.

“I was on the last obstacle, the 18-foot warped wall, when it popped. I knew what happened immediately,” Casey says. “It was an intense pain that felt like someone hit me in the back of the calf with a baseball bat.”

Dr. McGee repaired Casey’s Achilles with the internal brace technique. As with ACL repairs, internal bracing offers added stability—through a single small incision. Several sets of strong sutures tie together the ends of the tendon. This internal infrastructure braces the tendon during healing. Again, the result is less pain and a speedier recovery.

“Previous repair techniques would require the patient to be in a cast for six months,” Dr. McGee says. With the internal brace technique, patients typically recover much more quickly, he says.

Casey wore a boot for four weeks before he went back to his job as an operating room technician—and to his athletic pursuits, as well. He hasn’t had a problem since, even doing strenuous workouts, he says.

One coach’s game plan: Get it done!

A kinder and custom approach to knee replacement

Sam Thomas, baseball coach at Las Vegas High School, knows how important having the right equipment is to sports success. For him, that includes two custom knee implants.

When Sam first considered knee replacement at the age of 52 to relieve the pain of  osteoarthritis, he thought maybe he was too young. He’d heard he should wait until he was at least 55.

But advances in total knee replacement convinced him otherwise, and today he’s really happy with his custom implants. He got his right knee replaced in June 2015—and then his left in August 2017.

A perfect fit

In the past, orthopedic surgeons had to rely on “off-the-shelf” knee implants from a range of standard sizes, says Roddy McGee, DO. That required surgeons to adjust the bones in the joint to fit the implant. Today, Dr. McGee uses implants that are customized specifically for the patient—the ConforMIS customized knee implant.

How does it work? A CT scan of the patient’s knee is converted to a 3-D model. It’s used to design an implant to match the knee precisely. The custom fit follows the shape and contour of each patient’s knee—so the bone doesn’t have to be altered as much to make it fit. After surgery, these custom knees feel more natural and cause less pain than standard implants.

Sam’s advice? “Don’t wait—get it done,” he says. “Less bone is being removed, so even if I do have to have a knee replacement again sometime in the future, I’d feel very comfortable doing it. In fact, the second replacement actually felt better quicker than the first.”

Move forward with confidence. Find an orthopedic surgeon who does custom knee replacements at St. Rose Dominican by calling 702.616.4900.

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Better days ahead – 5 steps to less pain

If you’re coping with a bout of lower back pain—or living with nagging arthritis pain—you need help to ease the hurt.

Easy does it

Here are some strategies when seeking pain relief. It’s often about finding what works best for you.

  1. Try an over-the-counter pain reliever. Acetaminophen and aspirin can help relieve pain. Ibuprofen or naproxen can help reduce swelling in the affected area.Check with your doctor about which type of pain reliever is right for you—and only take pain relievers as directed.
  2. Apply cold or heat. Try alternating hot and cold packs. Heat—such as warm baths, hot towels, or heating pads—can help with stiffness and muscle spasms, while cold packs reduce swelling.
  3. Keep moving. Staying active—as long as it doesn’t make the pain worse—may be a plus. For example, with back pain, movement helps keep blood flowing to the affected area, which reduces inflammation and keeps the muscles from tensing up.
  4. Explore your options. Be sure to see your doctor if your pain is severe or worsening. Discuss other ways to help manage your pain, such as with physical therapy, massage, and acupuncture.Also see your doctor if you have symptoms in addition to pain, such as numbness, tingling, trouble urinating, or unexplained weight loss.
  5. Stay in touch. Let your doctor know what’s helping, what’s not, and how pain is affecting your daily life.

Take care of yourself

Pain relief works best when you stay positive and take careof yourself. Make it a priority to:

  • Get plenty of rest
  • Eat healthy foods
  • Take time to relax
  • Count your blessings

 

 

Ready to enjoy sweet slumber again?

Verna holds her remote control while Dr. Goll shows in Inspire implant.

Verna holds her remote control while Dr. Goll shows in Inspire implant.

Verna Akina lived with obstructive sleep apnea for more than 20 years. She had tried everything, including the use of a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine—a mask you wear while you sleep that forces air through the nose or mouth.

“I used to dread going to bed,” says Verna. “I got so sick of trying to make the CPAP work for me that I finally decided to stop using it and let ‘whatever happens happen.’”

So why does Verna now look forward to going to bed? She was one of the first recipients in southern Nevada to receive the Inspire Upper Airway Stimulation implant.

Like night and day

“Inspire therapy is designed specifically for those who can’t tolerate CPAPs,” says Frederick Goll, III, MD, board-certified otolaryngologist, who implanted Verna’s device. “It addresses the root of the problem by delivering mild stimulation to the muscles and soft tissues that relax and block the airway.”

The system is placed under the skin of the neck and chest through three small incisions during an outpatient procedure. It then syncs with breathing patterns. If needed, it delivers mild stimulation throughout the night to keep breathing passages open.

Verna’s thrilled with the results, saying that since her implant was activated in early October 2016, it’s been like night and day. “I use a remote control to turn the implant on when I go to bed, then turn it off when I wake up.” Now, she doesn’t nod off while reading, and she can drive without fear of falling asleep.

A danger zone

Obstructive sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that affects 15 million Americans and causes breathing to repeatedly stop and start while you sleep. Left untreated, obstructive sleep apnea can result in:

  • Poor memory and concentration
  • High risk for work or traffic accidents
  • Higher risk for stroke or heart attack.

Know the signs of sleep apnea—and find relief

  • Dry mouth or sore throat when you wake up.
  • Headaches in the morning.
  • Sleepiness or fatigue during the day.
  • Snoring and restlessness during sleep.
  • Waking up suddenly and feeling like you’re gasping or choking.
  • Trouble concentrating, forgetfulness, depression, or irritability.

Benefits of Inspire Stimulation Therapy:

  • Significant reduction in snoring and apnea episodes.
  • Improvement in quality of life.

Find a St. Rose physician who can tell you if the Inspire Upper Airway Stimulation implant is right for you. Call 702.616.4900.

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