New procedures reported in the print media
In my own practice I have noted an increase in patients and their families wanting to discuss, when they come to the office, a medical article that they have read in the newspaper or a magazine.
All too often in recent years a surgeon promoting a new procedure bypasses the traditional methods of scientific processes and "goes public" with something new, which that particular surgeon is doing.
A case in point would be recent reports of a minimally invasive approach to total hip replacement. These reports have appeared without scientific scrutiny or publication in a medical journal.
Some highly respected orthopaedic surgeons take the position that given the well-documented safety, efficacy and durability of traditional total hip replacement it is hard to imagine a rationale that would support "going public" prior to careful analysis and peer review.
Economic and personal motives may lead to premature "press releases" before long term scrutiny uncovers late risks and disadvantages of a new procedure.
Thorough review and study of a new procedure is necessary before the release of information regarding innovative surgical developments.
The reader would be wise to consider whether the information that is being released was first published in a respected medical journal.
I am often asked by patients and occasionally by friends if I find the same degree of fulfillment in my work considering the significant changes in government regulations, professional liability and interference by insurance carriers in how medicine is delivered.
My answer is YES! I still find it personally rewarding to have the opportunity to care for orthopaedic patients and receive their gratitude when our work has had a major role in improving their quality of life and function.
It is very rewarding to relieve the severe sciatic pain caused by a ruptured disc when I perform a laminectomy to remove pressure from the nerve. Similarly to relieve the severe pain of arthritis in a knee or hip by doing a joint replacement is a source of personal fulfillment.