Orthopedic surgery has its ups, downs, and unique challenges. According to Dr. Michael Klassen, MD, perhaps no other form of surgery is as demanding or offers a greater opportunity to make a difference in people’s lives. Dr. Klassen has identified the following challenges as the top ones orthopedic surgeons face:
Research and Patients
The most challenging aspect of the job is keeping up with the latest research and standards of care. “We’ve come a long way from using older methods, like cutting and drilling,” said Dr. Klassen, “but we still need to stay on top of the latest techniques and materials so that our patients receive the best possible care.” With advances in technology and materials, the possibilities for treatment are constantly evolving. It is up to orthopedic surgeons to stay ahead of the research curve in order to provide their patients with the latest and most effective treatments.
Dr. Klassen recommends attending conferences and continuing education courses to stay on top of the latest trends. Volunteering for clinical trials is another way to stay ahead of the curve. With so many advances in robotic-assisted surgery and 3D printing, the challenge of staying informed has never been greater.
Technology and Tools
Keeping up with technological advances is also a major challenge for orthopedic surgery. “It’s one thing to know about these updates and another to have the skills and ability to use the tools,” said Dr. Klassen. Orthopedic surgeons must be proficient in using the latest equipment, such as robotic-assisted surgery, 3D printing technology, and stem cell therapies. With these advances come new challenges of knowing how to navigate complex systems.
For instance, Dr. Klassen explains that robotic-assisted surgery requires surgeons to have a thorough understanding of the underlying algorithms and software in order to properly operate the robot. This requires a great deal of specialized training and practice to master the tools, as well as stay up-to-date with the latest developments. Not every hospital will have the latest tools, making it even more of a challenge for orthopedic surgeons serving under-resourced communities.
Communication and Teamwork
Orthopedic surgeons need to be able to work with a multidisciplinary team, which means having excellent communication skills. The team must be able to work together to come up with the best treatment plan for the patient. This requires not just the technical skills of the surgeon, but also sound judgment and a comprehensive understanding of what is best for the patient.
Let’s say a patient has a rotator cuff tear and needs surgery. The orthopedic surgeon will have to work with the patient’s primary care physician, physical therapist, and any other relevant specialists to determine the best course of action. This requires a great deal of teamwork and collaboration, as well as careful communication of the patient’s wishes and needs.
Fortunately, more advances in interoperability within the healthcare system have helped to streamline communication between providers, making it easier to collaborate and arrive at the right treatment plan. Today, changes in electronic medical records and other technologies have made it much easier for orthopedic surgeons to connect with their colleagues and share information. However, this technology can only be utilized if the surgeons are educated on its use.
Minimally Invasive Procedures
With new developments in minimally invasive techniques such as arthroscopic surgery, orthopedic surgeons must stay abreast of best practices for performing minimally invasive procedures. This requires a great deal of precision and knowledge of anatomy. Orthopedic surgeons must be able to navigate complex areas within the body, such as joint capsules and ligaments, in order to perform successful procedures with minimal impact on surrounding tissues.
In addition, more patients are focusing on conservative treatments such as physical therapy and lifestyle modifications before opting for a surgical route. This shift in approach means that orthopedic surgeons must be knowledgeable about both surgical and non-surgical treatment options available to their patients, so they can make informed decisions together. “I respect my patients who make the decision to undergo surgery, and I also respect those who choose not to,” said Dr. Klassen. “As an orthopedic surgeon, it’s my job to educate them on the available options, so they can make the best decision for themselves.”
The Bottom Line
Ultimately, orthopedic surgeons face many challenges in their day-to-day practice. Keeping up with the latest research, mastering technological advances, and honing their communication skills are all key aspects of successful orthopedic surgery. With hard work and dedication, Dr. Klassen believes that orthopedic surgeons can continue to make a difference in their patient’s lives, even with modern changes.
About Dr. Michael Klassen MD
Dr. Michael Klassen,MD, FAAO provides high-quality care to patients in Monterey, California. He’s a renowned orthopedic surgeon who specializes in rehabilitative care and is an expert in medical legal advice. Dr. Klassen has a passion for sports rehabilitation and strives to encompass a holistic approach to patient care.
To schedule an appointment or to learn more, please visit his website at https://www.michaelklassenmd.com/
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