THE NEW ORTHOPEDIC CENTER at University Hospitals Portage Medical Center is changing where and how Portage County residents can get treatment for orthopedic problems.
Say “orthopedic surgery,” and most people think of an operation to replace a knee, hip or shoulder. But replacing worn out joints is only one aspect of the care and treatment nowavailable in the new Orthopedic Center at UH Portage Medical Center.
In addition to major joint replacement surgery, orthopedic surgeons Christopher Tisdel, MD, and James Walter, DO, are also well versed in treating other problems of the bones, ligaments and tendons in the lower and upper extremities. And in most cases, the treatments they offer for orthopedic problems don’t start with surgery.
In fact, Dr. Tisdel, who specializes in treating problems in the foot, ankle, knee, and hip, considers surgery the last resort for most of his patients. Although the patient’s perspective often is that everyone who sees an orthopedic specialist goes to surgery, that’s not necessarily true, he says. “The reality is that whenever possible, I try to at least buy the patient some time with nonsurgical treatments first,” he explains. “And some patients never need surgical treatment.”
Dr. Walter, a hand and upper extremity specialist in the UH Portage Orthopedic Center, applies the same approach to his patients. He treats patients with uncommon hand and arm issues such as tendon injuries or cubital tunnel as well as the more familiar ones such as carpal tunnel, trigger finger, and thumb arthritis. “I usually start with an injection, medication, or a brace to reduce pain and improve function before even considering surgery,” he says.
Surgery with Less Stress
When surgery is necessary, patients often are pleasantly surprised when they learn that a minimally invasive, outpatient procedure may be an option for them. “Problems such as torn cartilage or ligaments and even early arthritis in the knee or ankle frequently may be treated minimally invasively,” Dr. Tisdel says. “There is still a recovery period before the patient can return to his or her usual activities, but it is significantly shorter than with an open procedure.”
The same holds true for treating similar issues in the upper extremity, Dr. Walter notes. “Endoscopic carpal tunnel release, for example, is performed through small incisions and offers patients a quicker recovery,” he says. He performs 90 to 95 percent of his surgeries as outpatient procedures, including rotator cuff repair.
Latest Advances, Close to Home
Later this year, Dr. Walter plans to introduce wide-awake local anesthesia no tourniquet (WALANT) surgery for hand and finger tendon repair procedures at UH Portage Medical Center. This approach eliminates the need for a tourniquet, which hand surgeons used to use to provide better visibility of the hand or finger structure during the operation.
“With WALANT, there is no tourniquet. The patient receives local anesthesia in the area being operated and is awake during the surgery,” Dr. Walter explains. “This allows the patient to flex the fingers during the procedure so the surgeon can determine when the tendon repair is complete and successful.”
The latest advances for lower extremity problems are also available at the UH Portage Orthopedic Center. Dr. Tisdel is among a handful of orthopedic surgeons in Northeast Ohio performing ankle joint replacement, one of the newest developments in treatment of ankle arthritis. He learned the procedure and became adept at it while on staff at a Detroitarea hospital prior to joining UH.
Ankle replacement is a technically complex procedure that offers good patient outcomes, Dr. Tisdel notes. “With the latest ankle prosthesis and
surgical techniques, an ankle replacement in appropriately selected patients should last 20 years,” he says. The best candidates for ankle
replacement are senior citizens with a long history of debilitating ankle pain and the goal of walking or performing other low-impact exercise without pain.
Offering a wide range of treatment options for patients with orthopedic problems, the Orthopedic Center at UH Portage Medical Center welcomes
new patients. For an appointment with Dr. Tisdel or Dr. Walter, patients may call 330-297-6030.