ONS Orthopedic Surgeon and Hand Specialist, Mark Vitale, MD Presents at 69th Annual American Society for Surgery of the Hand (ASSH)

Dr Vitale Portrait -sm web
Mark Vitale, MD

September 19, 2014, ONS orthopedic hand surgeon Dr. Mark Vitale traveled to Boston at the 69th annual American Society for Surgery of the Hand (ASSH), the premier annual hand surgery meeting where the nation’s leading hand surgeons gather to present new research and techniques for the care of hand, wrist, nerve and upper extremity problems.

Dr. Vitale presented two of the conferences’ 84 podium presentations to the community of hand surgeons in the U.S. and abroad. One of his presentations entitled, “Intra-articular fractures of the sigmoid notch of the distal radius: an analysis of progression to distal radioulnar joint arthritis and impact on upper extremity function in surgically treated fractures,” was a study that looked at fractures of one of the understudied joints of the wrist. This study will help surgeons guide treatment of these fractures to optimize wrist function in surgically treated fractures.

Traditional treatments for thumb arthritis involve removing the arthritic bone in the wrist called the trapezium which forms a joint with the base of the thumb and then using part of a patient’s own tendon to reconstruct the thumb. Dr. Vitale’s research revealed that the results with this more traditional “trapeziectomy” surgery are excellent and time tested.21

Dr. Vitale Speaking at the ASSH His second presentation, “A comparison of pyrolytic carbon hemiarthrioplasty versus Thompson suspensionplasty in the treatment of trapezial metacarpal arthritis,” was a study that compared a traditional treatment for thumb arthritis with a new pyrocarbon joint replacement for the thumb.

Pyrolytic carbon joint replacement is a synthetic implant to replace the arthritic thumb/wrist joint that was initially developed and first used in conjunction with hand surgeons at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN. It resurfaces the base of the arthritic thumb metacarpal bone while leaving more of the native trapezium bone in place. The pyrolytic joint replacement implant has been used since the early 2000s. The result of this study found some improved function in patients treated with the pyrocarbon joint replacement, but also a higher risk of need for future surgeries in those treated with the newer joint replacement.

Hand surgeons today debate about what surgical procedures are most appropriate for severely arthritic thumbs. The results of Dr. Vitale’s research will now help guide surgeons around the country to better treat patients.

Dr. Vitale commented, “The ASSH conference was a great success. The ONS Foundation for Clinical Research and Education has provided us with an incredible state of the art research and biomechanics lab from which we continue to drive the field of hand surgery, sports medicine and orthopedic surgery.”

Orthopaedic and Neurosurgery Specialists PC (ONS) is an advanced multi-specialty orthopedic and neurosurgery practice in Greenwich, CT. ONS physicians provide expertise in sports medicine, minimally invasive orthopedic, spine and brain surgery, joint replacement and trauma. For more information, please visit www.onsmd.com.

ONS Physical Therapist, Alicia Hirscht Gives Tips on Traveling With Joint Pain

This is a popular time of year for people to go on vacation and spend long hours travelling.   Several of my patients have asked me how to avoid exacerbating their various aches and pains while flying or driving.  By following these guidelines it could mean the difference between arriving at your destination with a smile on your face, or arriving with a desperate look of “where’s my bed!”

Alicia Hirscht, DPT, SCS, CSCS, Senior Clinical Specialist
Alicia Hirscht, DPT, SCS, CSCS, Senior Clinical Specialist
  1. KEEP MOVING! Our bodies are built to move, we are not built to stay in one position for long periods of time, even if it is sitting. Whether in a car or on a plane, try performing these exercises:
    1. Ankle pumps: Move your feet up and down in a pumping motion, repeat 30 times every half hour. This gets the circulation going in your legs and can minimize edema associated with travelling.
    2. Glute sets: Sit up tall and squeeze your buttocks muscles together, repeat 30 times every half hour. This helps take the pressure off your tail bone from sitting too long.
    3. Shoulder blade pinches: Sit up straight and squeeze your shoulder blades together, repeat 30 times every half hour. This gets you out of the slumped posture associated with driving or reading on a plane.
    4. Chin tucks: Sit up tall and look straight ahead. Pull your chin in towards your spine, giving yourself a “double” chin, 10 times every half hour. This resets your spine and stretches the muscles at the back of your skull.
  1. Maintain proper sitting position with lumbar support. A lumbar roll, like
    McKenzie Super Roll™
    McKenzie SuperRoll™

    McKenzie SuperRoll™, is convenient to place in your carry-on, and can be used both in a car and on a plane. Place it at your back, opposite your navel, supporting the natural curve in your spine. If you are in a car, look at the position of your seat: try to sit up tall, with your hips all the way back in the seat. Make sure your seat tilt is adjusted so that your hips are NOT lower than your knees.

  1.  Stand and Extend.  In order to restore your body’s balance and calibrate your spine, stand up and extend your back (put your hands on your waist and lean back).  Perform 5 back extensions each time you stop for gas, or when getting up to use the restroom.

Remember, keep moving. Hopefully, with these tips, you will start your vacation feeling healthy and pain free. Safe travels!

Orthopaedic and Neurosurgery Specialists PC (ONS) is an advanced multi-specialty orthopedic and neurosurgery practice in Greenwich, CT. ONS physicians provide expertise in sports medicine, minimally invasive orthopaedic, spine and brain surgery, joint replacement and trauma. For more information, please visit www.onsmd.com.