• October 27, 2020

Orthopedic surgeons back in business - Odessa American: Local News

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Orthopedic surgeons back in business

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Posted: Friday, September 18, 2020 2:20 pm

While Medical Center Hospital scaled back on some elective surgeries in March due to COVID-19, MCH Orthopedic Surgeon Dr. Vijay Borra said Friday that patients no longer have to wait for elective orthopedic procedures. 

“It is very, very safe to get elective surgery, orthopedic surgery, joint replacements, carpal tunnel release or anything elected.”

Borra said that when MCH shut down electives, they were still trying to help patients out by conducting steroid injections or other injections to help nurse patients along until they could do surgeries.

He added that many patients have had to push back their planned procedures and some missed out after losing their jobs and insurance coverage for their surgeries.

“That’s a big chunk of patients, unfortunately. The oil field going down, they lost their jobs and they wanted to get the knee replacement before their insurance ran out and now even though we’ve restarted, some of them don’t have the benefits so that’s been a big hit as well.”

To combat the spread of COVID-19, Borra spoke about precautions that the hospital has put in place.

“There’s a universal mask policy and we’re doing spinal anesthesia where no one is intubated. People are made numb from the waist down,” he said noting that MCH also has a rapid recovery joint care program to help patients get walking the next day, or sometimes even the same day.

“Most patients are walking within a few hours,” Borra said.

“There are temperature checks on all our staff on a daily basis as well,” he said detailing that there is a staff dedicated to direct patients’ whether for in-home patient therapy or out-patient physical therapy to help with the transition.

“The orthopedic program is now back in full swing,” Borra said, “We have a fully staffed, total joint care center that includes nurses, physical therapists, occupational therapists, everyone to help the patients post operative recovery.”

MCH gets a lot of referrals for redo surgeries where knees or hips installed 10 to 20 years ago have failed and need to be redone urgently, Borra said.

“Unfortunately, we’ve had to put them off so there’s a lot of people who’ve gone through a lot of pain and suffering because of not being able to get the surgery they needed, but I’m glad we’ve restarted and I think it’s very safe.”

MCH orthopedic hand surgeon Dr. Daniel Babbel started work in March and said that although some procedures have been locked down, he’s been getting patients from out of town.

“I just finished a case on somebody who was rather complicated. They weren’t able to get what they needed in a different city, so they came here,” he said.

“People need help because everything is slow. We’ve got lots of capabilities to get everything taken care of quickly.”

While Babbel does complex surgeries in the hospital, he also performs multiple procedures that can be done in the office at the ProCare Orthopedics and Rehabilitation Center like carpal tunnel releases and ganglion cyst removals while the patient is awake.

“Historically, people get freaked out thinking carpal tunnel. They remember the big surgeries, the big incisions, staying in the hospital and now as things have progressed. It’s becoming more standard in care around the country to do those that we can in the office. It saves people on money. It saves them on having to go to the hospital and all the extra stuff that goes along with that” he said.

Divisional Director Trapper O’Connell said that with in-office visits, people will be going home the same day which can help because there are hospital stay charges.

O’Connell added that they are to COVID-19 testing on patients prior to them having surgery as well including swab tests and antibody tests.

Odessa, TX

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