Success Stories - Archive

The Tale of the Smashed Wrist

I first met Emma earlier this year in the Emergency Department. She is a 72 year old lady who had slipped and fallen on her right hand and wrist as she tried to catch herself.

She was in a great deal of pain and very distraught (understandably!). I felt her fracture could be “set” and treated in a cast. I like to do these in surgery so the anesthesiologist can make the person completely comfortable while I do my setting or closed reduction and cast application. So far so good. I was happy with the x-ray appearance of the fracture. Emma went home. Oops! When she was seen in the office in 7 days the fracture had lost position and looked awful. Fractures can do this at times.

She was taken back to surgery and an external fixator or frame and pins were placed to stabilize the fracture. This device held the fracture in excellent position for 6 weeks and then was removed.

It is a wonderful way to treat a fracture that has lost position.

Key Point. I have to see the patient and the fracture again in the office at an early time to check to see if the position is maintained in the cast.

I am happy to say that Emma has recovered and after some occupational therapy is doing well.

I Can’t Use My Arm Anymore

Ernest is 74 years old and thought he was in reasonably good health. After doing some early Spring work at home he began one evening to have pain in the left shoulder and arm to the elbow. Ernest went to see his internist thinking it could be angina. A heart evaluation did not confirm this, however.

I saw him in the office because his internist and the patient became aware that the left shoulder was very weak. I confirmed this and noted also that his shoulder was weak and painful, but he had a good range of motion that is no stiffness.

Plain x-rays were normal. MRI showed a very large tear of the rotator cuff.

Ernest said he did not want to live with the pain and weakness so the decision to operate was easy for me.

This is a fairly common problem we see in the office. In many patients like Ernest it is really disabling. Repair of a very large rotator cuff tear is not easy for me or the patient. I have been amazed how these patients improve after surgery is done.

They have turned out to be some of our most grateful patients. A painful, weak shoulder gives the first clue in trying to solve the mystery.

Dr. Haverbush

The Case of the Mangled Finger

Some Orthopaedic Surgeons avoid seeing hand trauma patients because they are often difficult problems that don’t have a good result.

I have never felt that way and have responded when consulted.

In May 2010, Chuck a 34 year old worker was injured when his left ring finger was somehow caught by the ring he was wearing. He is left handed. The injury shredded the skin and extensor tendon, dislocating the finger and making survival of the finger look very uncertain.

Chuck was taken to surgery and the finger was assessed. I decided to meticulously repair and pin it. He was able to return to work in early July with partial use of the left hand after two operations and many office visits. By early September he was working with full use of the hand and very good function.

I am glad I was called by the ER to take care of him.

Dr. Haverbush

Doc, My Thumb Is Killing Me!

Janet is a 52 year old R.N. About 2 years ago she noted mild nagging pain in her left hand mostly on the thumb side. X-rays were ordered by her family doctor, which were reported to her doctor as “negative”. Since her x-rays were normal (or so she thought) she was told to take Tylenol and wait to improve. She didn’t.

When I saw Jan she had typical arthritis changes at the base of her left thumb. This joint is where the thumb joins the little wrist bones. X-rays of the hand are often under reported by the radiologist. Family doctors rarely see the x-rays done at the hospital. They see the “normal” report.

So – I felt it would be worth a try to inject the thumb joint in the office with a X-ray fluoroscopy unit. In this way the steroid is placed right in the joint.

So far she has improved “100%”.

This is a very common story I encounter in the office.

The injection may last for several months. Perhaps the injection will need to be repeated at some point.

In time Jan may even require surgery to resurface the joint.

For now though she is happy I have “given her hand back”.

Dr. Haverbush

Too Young For a Knee Replacement?

Alfredo P. is a 48 year old postal worker who has always enjoyed a very active life – until recently. He had injured his right knee playing high school football. An occasional twinge and mild swelling never held him back.

Over several months pain and swelling increased greatly. He was losing sleep and jogging was out of the question.

Conservative treatment had helped. X-rays in my office had shown too much arthritis for anything less than a total knee replacement.

Gulp! Only 48 years old.

Fortunately for Alfredo, it isn’t 20 or 30 years ago when he would have been told by most doctors to wait “several years” until he was “older”.

Now with the Depuy, Inc. LCS Total Knee Replacement, I didn’t think twice about recommending and doing knee replacement surgery even at age 48.

I’m pleased to say he is doing fine and very happy he had it done.

The surgery is no piece of cake, but the benefits in pain relief and better function are huge.

I think to be able to do this for another person is why I continue to do what I do.

Dr. Haverbush

Hip Arthritis Can Ruin Your Life

When I saw Bill a few months ago in the office he was limping. He is a 70 year old retired auto worker who had never been injured.

Recently he has had pain at night and his family noted he was limping.

Tylenol was not helping.

After a thorough exam of the hips and back and plain x-rays of those areas, I diagnosed severe arthritis in one hip and moderate arthritis in the other.

At times, and this was one of them, nothing but a total hip replacement would help because of the severity of the arthritis.

After talking it over with his family and studying my website article “AML Total Hip Replacement” Bill decided to proceed with AML Total Hip Replacement surgery.

His surgery was a complete success. He walks with a cane for now, but feels he will be able to set that aside soon. He has no pain at night anymore and he walks comfortably. He hopes to be able to play a few holes of golf early this Fall. I think he will make it.

Our goal is simple – to help people return to more pain free, functional lives.

Carpal Tunnel Treatment Is Often Delayed

Camille is a 32 year old teacher who did not have typical carpal tunnel findings. She had been told for years she had “bad circulation” and possibly arthritis as well from a previous injury.

A nerve test had been equivocal in the past. She came to see me almost in tears.

What to do? Experience is a great teacher.

I encounter these difficult to diagnose carpal tunnel cases on occasion. If I am convinced that carpal tunnel is the problem, I will go ahead and do the surgery.

Her symptoms disappeared in a few days after the surgery confirming that she indeed had carpal tunnel syndrome.

Our goal is simple – to help people return to more pain free, functional lives.

Painful Arthritic Knee Treated with Supartz

I recently saw Mary B, a 59 year old grandmother, in the office. Two years of increasing pain and no longer able to lift her grandchildren – she had had enough.

There was too much arthritis for arthroscopic surgery and she didn’t want a total knee replacement.

After five once weekly injections of Supartz she is pain free. She said I had “given her life back”.

See Online Orthopaedics Library article on Supartz (Sodium Hyaluronate).

Our goal is simple – To help people return to more pain free, functional lives.