October 29, 2012

Family Health Matters: Familiarize yourself with commonly-used orthopedic terminology

Have you ever walked out of a doctor’s appointment more unsure and puzzled than when you came in? Did the terms your doctors were using confuse you? Or worse – have you ever been worried you don’t understand the procedure you’re about to have done?

At Orthopaedic Specialists (OS), a Quad-Cities-based orthopedic center that specializes in outpatient, minimally-invasive surgeries, the team of doctors, assistants, nurses and staff are dedicated to clearly communicating with you about medical terms and procedures that will impact your health.

While it’s important to select a doctor who takes the time to fully describe the details of your injury and treatment options, it’s also a good idea to empower yourself with knowledge about the treatment and the terminology doctors use. This will help you feel more prepared and in control of the situation.

“When patients come in fully prepared, it makes it easier for us to confidently move forward. We can recognize that they understand the process of what is going to happen from pre-surgery to post-surgery,” said Dr. Tyson Cobb, M.D. at Orthopaedic Specialists, who oversees the Hand and Upper Extremity Center. “While we will do our best to explain everything in a clear manner, being an informed patient makes the whole process run a lot more smoothly and efficiently. There is less chaos and uneasiness when it comes to the surgery.”

To help you learn and remember important orthopedic terms, we’ve created this handy cheat sheet. And when you’re done reviewing, don’t forget to fill out the crossword puzzle of common orthopedic terms you will see and hear around OS.

• Total joint replacement: A total joint replacement is the process of implanting a synthetic joint to replace of a painful real one. The OS Total Joint Replacement Center offers minimally-invasive knee and hip replacement surgeries, and is the only facility in Iowa able to perform outpatient replacements. That means you will be home recovering within 24 hours of the surgery, putting you on the quick road to recovery.

• Fellowship-trained: Simply put, fellowship-trained means you are getting more advanced care. In particular, fellowship-trained doctors have elected to complete an in-depth program in their chosen specialty, so they can focus specifically on one area of the body giving the best, most-advanced care. When you select a fellowship-trained doctor, it means the doctor can provide the highest quality of care and has the latest access to new technologies and techniques.

• Minimally invasive: Minimally invasive means less downtime, less scarring, and getting back to your life sooner. That’s because a minimally invasive surgery is not intrusive to your body. “Any time we can improve surgeries so patients can recover safely at home is a step forward,” said Michael Patterson, Mississippi Valley Surgery Center CEO, a partner entity of OS. “Patients do not have to put off the surgery because they fear a costly, invasive surgery and a lengthy recovery. Minimally invasive surgeries help shorten recovery times.”

• Outpatient: Outpatient is a shorter way to say the surgery does not require an overnight stay – it is done in the same day. Without the hassle of staying overnight, you will be able to get back to your everyday life more quickly. The facility in which outpatient surgeries are done is called an “ambulatory service center.”

• Board-certified physicians: When a doctor is board-certified, you know you are getting the most specialized care, because board-certified physicians have passed an examination given by a medical specialty board, to give them added expertise. When your physician is board-certified, you can have the confidence of a job well done with the most specialized care.

These are a few of the orthopedic and medical terms you’ll hear and see at OS. We hope better understanding these terms will help you feel more empowered about your treatment and healing process. And remember – you can always ask OS doctors and physician assistants. We’re here to help! For more
information about OS, visit OSQuadCities.com.