Choose the best equipment available and get consistent at using it well for the best long term results.
I can't speak for other surgeons around the country. I choose to use the same hip and knee replacements for all of my patients, private and public. That choice is made on the long-term published results of those replacements.
Choose the best equipment available and get consistent at using it well for the best long term results.
click here to see the original article: Warrnambool Standard
I feel a bit like a “stuck record”, although this is an analogy that younger people might not understand. Maybe a “GIF” stuck on repeat. Anyway. Here we go again, let me say it once more: The indication for ACL reconstruction is not "ACL injury".
Rather, the reason for a patient having an ACL reconstruction is "instability after ACL injury, in spite of a period of good rehab". So, there is actually nothing different about Karen’s approach.
This is how I have treated ACL injuries for years. And about ⅔ of the patients that I see with ACL injuries end up having surgery. So, not everyone, but it still has a place when rehab doesn’t quite get the patient where they want to be. This is supported by a paper that I co-authored some years ago (the patients were all under my care), published in the Journal of Knee Surgery:
Is anterior cruciate reconstruction superior to conservative treatment?
A Dawson, JD Hutchison, AG Sutherland. J Knee Surg 2016; 29(1): 74-9.
I’m slightly surprised that St John of God Warrnambool should support an article that only shows one side of the discussion, but there you go.
If you have an ACL injury, you should start rehabilitation with an experienced physiotherapist early. You should discuss your progress and your goals. You should also consider a discussion with a surgeon who regularly treats ACL injuries, about the practicalities and goals of surgery. Some people do really well with rehab, and go back to sports. Some people do well enough with rehab, but decide not to go back to sports. But some people want to go back to sports but cannot because the knee is still unstable, or the knee is still unstable in daily activities, despite good rehab. Those are the people who should consider ACL reconstruction.
So many shades of grey.
Of course, the answer is "yes". Still very much needed ("kneeded"? Ha Ha).
What this review ACTUALLY says is this:
The indication for ACL reconstruction is not "ACL injury".
Rather, the indication for ACL reconstruction is "instability after ACL injury, in spite of a period of good rehab"
Which is how I have treated ACL injuries for years. And about ⅔ of the patients that I see with ACL injuries end up having surgery. So, very much still needed, just not by everyone.
You can read the full review here www.physio-network.com/acl-surgery-no-longer-kneeded/
It goes both ways! In this excellent article, the remarkable Atul Gawande delves into the impact of computers in healthcare, sharing his experience and exploring some of the alternatives. Gawande is a smart man, and a very perceptive writer, and his books are well worth a read, particularly "Complications" and "Better".
Deep vein thrombosis (calf blood clot) is an important complication after joint replacement, and strategies to reduce the risk include early mobilisation, compression stockings and medications. For many years, I have prescribed aspirin for my patients having joint replacement, as prevention of DVT. Although this was initially controversial, we felt that the evidence supporting that position was strong, and gradually this has become a mainstream approach. Aspirin provides similar prevention of DVT to more expensive approaches, without the associated increased risks of wound leak that many of the alternatives have been dogged by. There is now increasing evidence, including this recent paper , that the use of aspirin also provides a survival advantage for joint replacement patients. Patients should discuss the risk of clots with their surgeon as part of the informed consent process.
Click here to go to the original piece in The Age
I spent a really interesting and challenging 6 months as Julian Feller's Fellow in 2003, and took away his ACL reconstruction technique with me when I returned to Scotland to set up practice. During the intervening 15 years, we have both made a few tweaks to our respective surgical approaches to ACLs, in line with new evidence as it emerges, but we remain pretty much aligned on the important points - put a good quality biological graft in the right place and fix it firmly, then do good rehab.
When I was learning from him, I asked about Julian's approach to placing the bone tunnels into which the graft was secured - do you use the lateral meniscus and/or PCL to guide placement? "Put it in the right place" was his response. An idiosyncratic answer at the time, but over the years I have increasingly appreciated his point that the individual patient's anatomy governs where the graft should go.
I now bring that and other insights to my clinical practice in Warrnambool. I learnt from the best, and aim to reproduce that for all of my patients.
Julian Feller 2003
I recently created the following video for our local medical students. Many people think that surgical consent is just a process of listing all the possible complications of an operation. Of course it is both simpler and more complex than that. I find that following a structured 5 point plan helps me to be sure to cover the important points and helps patient realise just what it is they are agreeing to. Given the new legal requirements that demand that consent should reflect what the patient thinks is important, rather than what the surgeon thinks is important (radical thought, that one?), the emphasis should be on an open discussion rather than the old-fashioned "sign here" approach.
I recently created the following video for our local medical students, but offer it here to a wider audience.
The recent ABC 4 Corners film about gap charges for private surgery raises many important questions. There are many surgeons in Australia who think that ethical behaviour is all about following rules on advertising, but there is a great deal more to “doing the right thing” than that. The programme presented a more or less balanced view, although it did focus on some extreme examples to make its point.
In the film it was pointed out that while we might consider private healthcare to be a free market, it rarely is because patients do not have all of the information required to make informed choices. Asymmetric relationships generally put the surgeon in full control and patients at a disadvantage as they do not know their options.
The idea of “you get what you pay for” does not always hold in healthcare, and surgeons can play upon this to extract the highest possible fee that the market will stand. The 4 Corners film focused upon a patient charged an out-of-pocket surgery fee of $7500 for his hip replacement, but there is more to high fee-structures than a minority of surgeons charging that far over the odds. The Australian Medical Association (AMA) has a recommended surgeon fee schedule that would leave even the best-insured patient out of pocket by $1000 for a hip replacement.
The value proposition of private health care balances coverage and faster access with price. If the private system is perceived as being unfair, with excessive out of pocket fees, then patients will drop out and turn to the public system. For the balanced system of public/private provision current in Australia to be sustained, confidence in the private system is critical.
So, what can I do as a surgeon?
What can GPs do?
What can patients do?
I gave a talk a couple of weeks ago to the Warrnambool Sports Practitioner Group and the Warrnambool Trainers Group, talking about management of ACL injuries. There are lots of points of argument in this area, but I think that the focus has to be on two main questions: does everyone who ruptures their ACL need a reconstruction (no, only patients who have functional instability after a period of rehab, about 60% of cases), and what is the best graft (something biological such as hamstring tendons rather than something artificial like goretex or carbon fibre).
There was a lot of general discussion, and of particular interest is the question is prevention of injury. Surely better than surgery! Below are a couple of resources that link to neuromuscular coordination training programmes that have been shown to reduce the risk of ACL injury, and which have the secondary benefits of improving balance strength and speed, which are surely of benefit to athletes?
If you are interested in reading further, I have attached the links to the original sites. The world expert in the area is Lars Engebretsen, from Norway, who is the senior author of the International Olympic Committee statement linked below.
Hopefully our trainers will be able to incorporate these training methods into player preparation, particularly young athletes, and we can stem the tide of ACL injuries and reduce the need for surgery in the longer term. Meantime, those with ACL injuries should not be bullied into having surgery or into having "the latest thing" in artificial grafts, but should sit down with a knowledgable and experienced surgeon who can discuss the balance of what is truly important to them.
www.thelancet.com Published online November 20, 2017 http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(17)32457-1
In summary: 3 study groups; physiotherapy only, shoulder arthroscopy, shoulder arthroscopy + acromioplasty. Decent numbers, robust follow up. Both surgical groups did better than physio alone, but no difference between arthroscopy and arthroscopy with acromioplasty.
Just before Christmas, I was at the Geelong Orthopaedic Society annual meeting, and the guest speaker was Prof Andy Carr, from Oxford UK. He was the lead researcher in this really important study, and my old boss in Aberdeen was on the steering committee. We had the chance to discuss the process of the study as well as the results and the response to it. He told us that in less than a week from publication, he had over 700 emails relating to the study, many of them pretty negative, some frankly abusive.
Nobody likes to be told that they are wrong, but the defence of acromioplasty has been predictably vigorous, and largely predictable in its form – everything from “it works in my hands”, to post hoc justifications of why it must work and why this research must be wrong.
This is not entirely new. There was a paper comparing acromioplasty with subacromial bursectomy, from Finland nearly 10 years ago, that showed similar outcomes. The response also mirrors that to the 2002 Moseley study that showed that knee arthroscopy was of no benefit in treatment of OA (see my previous post).
Ultimately, the treatment of shoulder impingement symptoms should focus upon a combination of subacromial steroid injections and good quality physiotherapy to get the cuff muscles working more normally. If that fails, patients do seem to benefit from shoulder arthroscopy and bursectomy, but there is no additional benefit of acromioplasty.
Alasdair Sutherland produces Blog updates aimed at patients and general practitioners, to discuss matters of interest and information relating to orthopaedic issues.