The biggest opportunities for foot and ankle surgeons this year are the addition of orthobiologics and restorative treatment such as PRP and stem cell therapy.
Four foot and ankle surgeons discuss the biggest challenges and opportunities for foot and ankle surgeons to successfully treat patients over the next year.
Bob Baravarian, DMP, Providence Saint John's Health Center in Santa Monica, Calif.: The biggest opportunities for foot and ankle surgeons this year are the addition of orthobiologics and restorative treatment such as PRP and stem cell therapy. This has allowed us to reduce the amount of time for healing and increase the opportunities for difficult healing of cases. The use of PRP and amniotic stem cell therapy in soft tissue healing has been dramatically improving results without the need for surgery.
In certain cases minimally invasive debridement of tissue may be necessary to allow for improved healing but in a majority of cases this type of procedure is done in office with the need for one to three injection treatments. We started treatments such as bone marrow aspirate or fat aspirate stem cell concentrations that have also been very helpful in bone healing surgical procedures such as fusions.
We have noticed that the use of a patient's own body and healing cells has dramatically improved in both soft tissue and bone healing. Many of these products are used as an adjunct to increase the healing potential of the patient's own body. Over time, there is no doubt that there will be continued improvement in restorative treatment to the point where fusions may be achievable in weeks instead of months and soft tissue healing may be as simple as an in-office injection with minimal downtime and rapid recovery.
Gregory Catalano, DPM, Massachusetts: One clear challenge we're facing is the rising problem of diabetes. Caring for these individuals, particularly when it comes to associated diabetic foot surgery, is becoming a much bigger issue.
There is a misperception that foot surgery is painful and has a long recovery period. Because we have improved technologies and honed our practice, the opportunity we have as physicians is to educate and correct these misunderstandings.
Ken Jung, MD, Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic, Los Angeles: Overall, opportunities exist as the population continues to grow, age and remain active. Sports injuries and degenerative conditions can be treated with an array of modalities, from biologics to surgery.
Philip J. Obiedzinski, DPM, Hackensack University Medical Center: The biggest opportunity this year is the ability to join large multispecialty group practice. [The big group practice allows physicians to] negotiate with insurance companies on fees, centralize staff/supplies/EMR.