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New Program Established to Treat Shoulder Injuries

South Nassau Communities Hospital’s Center for Advanced Orthopedics has expanded to include a specialized program to diagnose and repair common and complex shoulder injuries.

“The Shoulder Center has been established to answer the community’s ever-increasing need for expert orthopedic care in the examination, diagnosis, and treatment of shoulder injuries due to wear and tear or suffered in accidents on the playing field, in the home or workplace,” said Craig Levitz, MD, chair of the department of orthopedics and director of the Center for Advanced Orthopedics. “Our commitment to the highest standards in patient care and the advantages of modern surgical technology to fix injuries results in the best possible outcomes for our patients.”

In addition to Dr. Levitz, the center’s shoulder specialists include Eric Price, MD, who is fellowship trained in sports medicine and is an associate master instructor in shoulder arthroscopy for the Arthroscopy Association of North America; and Eric P. Keefer, MD, who completed his fellowship training at the prestigious American Sports Medicine Institute in Birmingham, AL. They have extensive training and experience in diagnosing and repairing all shoulder injuries. This includes instability, impingement, rotator cuff or labrum tears, recurrent dislocations and frozen shoulder.

According to the most current data provided by the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, approximately 7.5 million people went to the doctor's office in 2006 for a shoulder problem, including shoulder and upper arm sprains and strains. Shoulder injuries are most often caused by athletic activities and routine tasks performed in the workplace or at home requiring excessive, repetitive, overhead motion, such as lifting, vacuuming, gardening, swimming, tennis and weightlifting.

The center’s surgeons use an arthroscope to perform nearly all procedures. The arthroscope is a pen-shaped instrument with a very small video camera attached to the end of it that transmits a three-dimensional view of the surgical field on a high definition monitor. The view can be magnified as much as 30 times, giving the surgeon a clear and unobstructed vision of damaged areas of the shoulder.

From this visual advantage, the Center’s skilled orthopedic surgeons complete each operation in less than two hours with pencil-thin surgical tools. Arthroscopic (or minimally invasive) shoulder surgery requires small 1/4-inch incisions compared to a large 5-inch incision for the comparable open procedure. This reduces trauma to surrounding tissues, the loss of blood and post-operative pain. As a result, patients experience a quicker recovery and a return to daily activities of their choice. The patients’ average length of rehabilitation for minimally invasive shoulder surgery is generally faster than rehabilitation after open surgery.

“We also use the arthroscope and minimally-invasive surgical techniques to repair acute instability disorders and massive rotator cuff tears,” said Dr. Levitz. “Our patients can count on us to work with them to determine the best course of treatment, depending on their overall health, the extent of the injury and other factors.”

To ensure that patients maximize the benefits of the surgical treatments, South Nassau Communities Hospital offers the Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation Therapy Center (SMART). Its physical therapy and rehabilitation programs combine a physiatrist’s keen understanding of the body’s mechanics with a staff of experienced physical, occupational and speech therapists. Patient-specific rehabilitative or therapeutic programs promote short- and long-term health and wellness. The staff works closely with the patient’s surgeon in developing a personalized rehabilitation program and provides regular updates on progress. The result of this team approach is programs that are based upon individual conditions that help the patients achieve realistic levels of functioning.

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