What are some of the most common orthopaedic procedures performed at Newton-Wellesley Hospital?
We are musculoskeletal experts; we surgically treat the spine and all the joints of the body. This includes total knee and total hip replacements and revision replacements, spine surgery, sports medicine including reconstructive surgery of ligament, cartilage and meniscal problems. A full complement of minimally invasive arthroscopic shoulder surgery is also performed at Newton-Wellesley including: rotator cuff surgery, surgery for shoulder instability, labral tear repairs and biceps tendon repairs.
What should I do if I am experiencing recurring pain in a specific joint?
The first measure is to determine if you did anything out of the ordinary. Did you increase your exercise routine, did you rake leaves, did you walk a long distance? You can do the following to improve the pain and mobility of the joint:
• Relative rest – take a week off from your exercise routine or cross train.
• Ice – use ice on an injured joint for 20 minutes at a time every three to four hours.
• Compression – use an ace wrap or compressive dressing to support the joint and decrease swelling.
• Elevation – if your leg or arm is swollen use elevation to decrease the swelling and pain.
What can I do to keep my joints healthy as I age?
The natural aging process creates cellular and metabolic changes within the joints of every person. The best advice is to keep active, exercise each day and eat a balanced diet. In the Northeast it is important to have a diet rich in calcium and vitamin D to promote healthy bone and cartilage.
I am coming for orthopaedic surgery. What measures are in place to ensure the safety of my surgery?
Newton-Wellesley Hospital has an incredible safety record regarding inpatient and outpatient surgery. We take great pride in our quality outcomes and safety profile. The Hospital and surgeons take extraordinary precautions to prevent "wrong side surgery." Before surgery, while you are completely awake, your surgeon will mark your arm or leg with his or her initials to verify the surgical site. The surgical team performs a "time out" in the operating room before the surgical incision to confirm the site of surgery one last time. The most important aspect of your preparation is to provide the surgeons, anesthesiologists and nurses with an accurate medical history including a record of your current medications and your allergies to medicine.
What new technology are you using for orthopaedic procedures and to diagnose orthopaedic conditions?
We use minimally invasive arthroscopic techniques to treat knee and shoulder disorders every day. Our spinal surgeons use a new 3D spinal navigation system that allows pinpoint placement of screws used for spinal fusion surgery. We are also researching the use of platelet rich plasma and stem cells to heal tendon and ligament injuries.
How has the technology of joint replacement changed and what would my recovery include?
Joint replacement surgery has the highest patient satisfaction rating of any medical procedure. This is due to the advances in biomechanics, materials and new surgical techniques, which allows a surgeon to precisely restore your joint anatomy. There are new implants and surgical approaches that make joint replacement surgery more durable with a faster recovery time. The majority of patients are out of bed with a therapist the very same day as their surgery, and the average hospital stay is only two to three days for hip and knee replacement surgery.
I have heard that more procedures are done using minimally invasive techniques. Does Newton-Wellesley offer this option?
We offer minimally invasive spine, hip, knee and shoulder surgery. Newton-Wellesley offers minimally invasive techniques for patients and procedures where it is warranted. We have been a pioneer in the field of minimally invasive surgery, but it is not for every patient and not for every procedure. Your surgeon will be able to tell you if you are a candidate for a minimally invasive procedure.
I have persistent low back pain. Should I schedule an appointment to have it checked out?
Low back pain is a very common problem in adults, and over 80 percent of the adult population in the US will experience low back pain during their lifetime. Low back pain can be caused by muscle fatigue, poor posture, facet joint inflammation and intervertebral disk problems. Over 90 percent of patients with low back pain are improved within three weeks with simple conservative measures, and 95 percent of patients are completely better within six weeks. If the low back pain is persistent or if there is leg pain, or numbness associated with the back pain, then an appointment at our Spine Center should be scheduled.
I would like to stay active and involved in sports and athletic activities as I age. How can I keep my joints healthy and free of injury?
As we age our joints and cartilage are undergoing ultra-structural and molecular changes that are not visible. Remaining active is critical for the health of our joints as we get older. A low-impact, aerobic exercise routine will have a positive impact on your joints, as well as the many benefits of exercise on the heart and brain. There are also multiple studies that reveal resistance training (low-intensity weight training) is beneficial for strength, balance and endurance – even in octogenarians!
For more information about Orthopaedic Services at Newton-Wellesley Hospital, please call CareFinder at 1-866-NWH-DOCS (694-3627) or visit www.nwh.org/ortho.
Timothy Foster, MD Chair of Orthopaedics, Newton-Wellesley Hospital
Dr. Foster received his medical degree from Boston University School of Medicine and completed his general surgery residency at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center and his orthopaedic surgery residency at Boston University Medical Center. Dr. Foster completed his fellowship in sports medicine at Harvard University and Massachusetts General Hospital and his pediatric sports fellowship at Harvard University and Children’s Hospital. He is board certified in orthopaedic surgery.
Dr. Foster is the author of multiple peer review articles and book chapters and served as the Associate Editor of the American Journal of Sports Medicine for the past 15 years. He is also a member of the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery, American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine. Dr. Foster’s special interests include sports medicine and arthroscopic surgery including surgery of the shoulder, knee and ankle.
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