Category Archives: Orthopedics

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Program Exposes Local High School Women to Orthopedic and Engineering Careers

More women are entering medical and graduate schools, but women constitute only 12 percent of academic faculty in orthopedics and only seven percent of practicing orthopedists, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Likewise, just 11 percent of engineering school faculty members are women. The Perry Outreach Program seeks to increase those numbers.

In 2011, Beaumont’s department of orthopedic surgery hosted the first ever Michigan-based program, with the goal of encouraging local high school women to consider careers in orthopedic medicine or engineering. Last weekend, the program drew 35 new attendees from several southeast Michigan high schools, one college freshman from Wayne State and one student from Kansas.

Perry Initiative“The focus of our program is to encourage young women to consider their future and a career in medicine or engineering,” explains Rachel Rohde, M.D., Beaumont orthopedic hand and upper extremity surgeon and Perry Outreach Program site coordinator. “How better to judge if it might be a career fit than to spend a day here with professionals from those fields.”

In addition to Dr. Rohde, many other Beaumont-affiliated professional women volunteered their time and expertise at the event.

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ACL injury sidelines Lindsey Vonn from Sochi Olympics

by James Bicos, M.D., Orthopedic Surgeon & Sports Medicine Specialist; voted Top 10 Sports Medicine Surgeons by Sports Illustrated for cartilage issues

(Photo via Franck Fife/Getty Images)

(Photo via Franck Fife/Getty Images)

In the sports world, we had heartbreaking news today. Lindsey Vonn will not be able to compete in the 2014 Winter Olympics. Vonn, age 29, is one of the most successful skiers in U.S. Olympic history and a winner of four overall World Cup championships. She sustained a partial tear to her already reconstructed ACL in November 2013 and although physicians said that she may be able to heal the injury and compete in the Olympics in Sochi this year, she did not feel that her knee was stable enough to compete.

Lindsey is very familiar with knee injuries. In 2007, she suffered a partial tear to her ACL of the same knee she injured now. At that time, it was treated without surgery and she went on to compete at the Vancouver Olympics in 2010. Unfortunately, in February of this year, she suffered a horrific accident at the World Championships in Austria. That is where she completely tore her ACL, her MCL and she had a tibial fracture. She underwent immediate surgery and rehabbed to the point of trying to make a run for the 2014 Olympic Games. Then the unimaginable happened, she tore her ACL again, just 9 months after the surgery that was supposed to fix her enough to get a gold at the Olympics.

Three thoughts come to mind: Bad Luck, Olympic Pride, and She Will Be Back!

Bad Luck

Over 100,000 ACL reconstructions are done each year. And as with any surgery, there are a certain number that just don’t heal, are not strong enough to get back to sport, or because of other factors we don’t understand, certain people are just prone to retearing the ligament.

In the case of Lindsey Vonn, her surgeon is one of the best around, so how could this happen? There is a known retear rate of ACL reconstructions. No matter how good you are, a few will tear again. Studies have shown that rate is anywhere from 3 – 6 percent.  In addition, there was a tight timeline. The level of sport that Lindsey needed to get back to pushes the limits of healing and ACL reconstruction repair techniques. I believe that if Lindsey had more time to recover from the first injury that she would not be in this position. The same thoughts also go for her need for the knee to hold up to going 80 MPH down a mountain.

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Beaumont and Playworks Detroit Brighten Bennett Elementary School

Move that bus!

The Bennett Elementary School playground in Detroit received an extreme makeover this weekend from Beaumont’s department of orthopedic surgery and Playworks Detroit volunteers. The volunteers spent their Saturday afternoon painting and creating a beautiful, vibrant playground for the students.

This project began as a vision of the late Dr. Harry Herkowitz, former chairman of orthopedic surgery at Beaumont.

“Dr. Herkowitz had a vision and the Playworks project was only the first step,” said Tammy Breece, Dr. Herkowitz’s former assistant. “We have a stellar department and he knew we could come together as a team and do something great for the community. I’m grateful to everyone who came out on a Saturday morning to make Dr. Herkowitz’s vision a reality. ”

Take a look at the transformation of the playground – before, during and (most importantly) after!


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5 Most Common Sports Injuries | Stay off the Bench

by James Bicos, M.D., Orthopedic Surgeon & Sports Medicine Specialist; voted Top 10 Sports Medicine Surgeons by Sports Illustrated for cartilage issues

(Photo by Brad White/Getty Images)

(Photo by Brad White/Getty Images)

The Major League Baseball regular season is over (go Tigers!) with teams playing a total of 2,432 games since April. That’s a lot of throwing, batting, running and sliding, as the MLB disabled lists can attest. The New York Times has kept a running calculation of which players are currently on each team’s disabled list and how much those players are costing their teams while recovering from injury. The cost of being injured, though a little more expensive than for you and me, isn’t that much different for the average person.

If you are a weekend warrior and you injure yourself, there’s the potential that you’ll miss work, be unable to perform everyday tasks or function normally. That means lost wages and a lower quality of life. That’s why prevention and treatment of common athletic injuries are crucial components in keeping you off the bench—and off the disabled list.

barLow Back Pain: Matt Holliday (St. Louis Cardinals)
Those who’ve suffered with low back pain know how it can affect everything from work, sleep and even sitting at the dinner table enjoying a meal with the family. Low back pain is usually caused by overuse and ligament strain and the good news is that it usually gets better on its own after a few days or weeks. St. Louis Cardinals slugger Matt Holliday was forced to take three games off for a bad back with his team fighting to make the playoffs in September. “I just think it tightens up every once in a while,” Cardinals Manager Matheny told “I think people with bad backs understand it just happens. It comes and goes.” Holliday already missed 10 games in July with a hamstring injury (more on this soon), costing his team roughly $1.1 million while he recuperated.

Treatment and prevention advice: Severe cases of low back pain require a trip to your doctor, but for nagging pain, rest and proper treatment helps the recovery process. Once the pain is gone, exercising your core is the best way to keep low back pain at bay. Working glutes, hamstrings and the abdominals will help stabilize the body and spinal mobility exercises will help keep your back healthy for activity.

barPlantar Fascitis: Albert Pujols (Los Angeles Angels)

Even MLB superstars aren’t immune to plantar fasciitis, caused by repeated stress on your feet which causes pain in the tendon that runs along the arch of the foot. Some people, like Los Angeles Angels star Albert Pujols, battle through the pain until it becomes too intense to resume activity. In Pujols’ case, he ended his season early after dealing with foot pain for months, putting the $16 million player on the disabled list.

Treatment and prevention advice: Plantar fasciitis might seem like a minor ailment, but it can become a major pain if not treated properly. Proper footwear is one of the best preventative measures, as is a dedicated regime of stretching before and after activity. Once you start to have symptoms of plantar fasciitis, proper post-workout treatment and dialing back your activity could prevent a prolonged stint on the bench.

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Boomers opting for new knees to keep moving

by James Bicos, M.D., Orthopedic Surgeon & Sports Medicine Specialist; voted Top 10 Sports Medicine Surgeons by Sports Illustrated for cartilage issues

knee_replacementNBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams recently announced that he will be taking leave to have knee surgery. He’s certainly not the only one. We are seeing more and more baby boomers (born between the years 1946 and 1964) with cartilage injuries and arthritis. One of the main factors for this is their activity. Williams had a traumatic incident that caused his arthritis many years later. Other people suffer from cartilage (i.e. meniscal) tears that also lead to arthritis later because they lose their shock absorber to their knee.

As technology improves, we are able to offer knee replacements at a younger age. People still need to be aware that a knee replacement is a mechanical piece that can wear down with time, just like any other mechanical piece in a car. Those pieces can break or may need replacement. In addition, arthritis encompasses a broad range of knee issues, from minimal narrowing in the joint to bone on bone. So, not everyone with arthritis qualifies for a knee replacement or should have one.

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Injury prevention tips for high school athletes

by James Bicos, M.D., Orthopedic Surgeon & Sports Medicine Specialist; voted Top 10 Sports Medicine Surgeons by Sports Illustrated for cartilage issues

hs_sports_injuriesFall high school sports are right around the corner. Whether you’re playing football, tennis, volleyball, running cross country or playing golf, these quick tips well help you avoid an injury that may cut your playing season short.

  1. Learn proper warm-up and cool down routines. Don’t forget the cool down! It helps with muscle recovery and you can also use the time for a mental review.
  2. Do not increase your training more than 10% per week. Studies have shown increased rates of injury with increasing routines too quickly.
  3. Eat a balanced HEALTHY diet! Avoid caffeinated beverages. Drink your water and stay hydrated.
  4. Get plenty of rest – sleep allows your body time to recover and regain energy.
  5. Don’t ignore pain! Achy pain is fine, as long as it gets better with rest. Always tell your coaches or parents if pains persists to avoid issues such as tendonitis or stress fractures.  Remember, you are in the game for life!

Dr. Bicos and Kelly Delind, physical therapist at Beaumont Hospital, Grosse Pointe, were on Fox 2 Doctor (Aug. 7) for the Doctor Is In web chat providing answers to your questions about preventing and rehabilitating sports injuries.

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I felt a pop… | Meniscus Tears

by James Bicos, M.D., Orthopedic Surgeon & Sports Medicine Specialist; voted Top 10 Sports Medicine Surgeons by Sports Illustrated for cartilage issues

Four words that could spell doom for an athlete and their career. Feeling a pop or tear in the knee could be many things, but one of the most common diagnoses is a meniscal tear.

Darius SlayDetroit Lions fans were concerned to read that 2nd round draft pick Darius Slay has a torn meniscus. Oklahoma City fans learned that Russell Westbrook would be out the remainder of the NBA playoffs after surgery to repair the torn meniscus.

The meniscus is a piece of cartilage in the knee that sits between the femur bone and the shin bone. It looks like a “c-shape” and there is one on the inside and outside of each of our knees. Its main function is a shock absorber for the knee. It helps to dissipate forces of walking or running so that less stress goes to the cartilage on the ends of our bones. But much like shocks on a car, they can either wear out with age or tear from an injury.

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Rehabilitating a Compound Fracture | Kevin Ware’s Injury

by James Bicos, M.D., Orthopedic Surgeon & Sports Medicine Specialist; Dr. Bicos recently served as one of the official team docs for the NCAA Division I 2nd and 3rd rounds at the Palace of Auburn Hills.

(Kenny Klein / University of Louisville via Reuters)

Ware was up on crutches Monday morning. (Kenny Klein / University of Louisville via Reuters)

It was early in Sunday’s Louisville/Duke game that Louisville basketball player Kevin Ware suffered a compound fracture of his right leg. The video of the injury was grim and Ware’s rehab for this injury is going to be tough.

The first step is getting the bone to heal. Without looking specifically at the x-rays to know how many pieces the bone was in, this can take up to 3 months without complications. The more pieces the bone is in (official term called comminution), the higher the risk that it may partially heal or not heal at all.

Another thing Ware will have to overcome is to make sure the site does not get infected. It was an open fracture, and the prognosis for infection depends again on the amount of comminution in the bone, the status of the tissues (i.e. skin) after the injury, and the time to getting the bone fixed in the operating room.

The fracture is fixed by putting a metal rod down the center of the bone (i.e. tibia).This is a very strong fixation and he will be on crutches for the first couple of weeks to let the skin injury heal and make sure the swelling goes down.After that, he will progress to assisted walking and then normal ambulation by about 12 weeks after the surgery.The bone from a tibial shaft fracture can continue to heal for many more months after that, making his rehab significant.The other things to consider also include any injury to the surrounding muscles and tendons around the bone. Those injuries can lead to scar and make the rehab even more challenging.

His long-term prognosis is tough to predict, because it all depends on getting the bone to heal. But knowing the determination of high-end athletes, such as Kevin Ware, we are bound to see him back. We wish him the best of luck and a speedy recovery.

This information is for educational purposes only. Dr. Bicos has no first-hand knowledge of Ware’s case.

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Beaumont sports medicine docs are P-T-Pers, baby! | NCAA Tournament

Photo courtesy of the Palace of Auburn Hills

Photo courtesy of the Palace of Auburn Hills

As many NCAA basketball fans fill out their March Madness brackets and choose an eventual winner, Beaumont orthopedic surgeons and sports medicine specialists, Drs. Guettler, Bicos and Biglin are preparing to serve as the official team docs for the NCAA Division I 2nd and 3rd rounds at the Palace of Auburn Hills.

The three docs will be there for all six games, as well as the team practices, which begin today. Because the physicians are covering all of the games at the Palace, they’ll be the official team docs for both local schools – Michigan State University and the University of Michigan.

We’ll be posting updates of their experience through Saturday. Check back or subscribe for updates!

We asked each physician about their expectations going into the tournament:

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