Orthopedic Experts Have Many Ways to Deal With Joint Pain

“Some people have the misconception that when you go to an orthopedic surgeon at age 60, you’ll immediately be scheduled for a knee replacement,” says Frank Liporace, MD, Chairman of the Department of Orthopedics at Saint Barnabas Medical Center (SBMC) and a member of RWJBarnabas Health Medical Group. “In fact, there are a number of steps

Frank Liporace, MD
Frank Liporace, MD
we take first to decipher what the problem is, and then there is a whole range of care we can offer.”

Even before an X-ray is done, the doctor takes a history that can provide information about whether the issue is a ligament, joint cartilage or meniscus problem—or a combination. “In addition to learning what symptoms the patient is experiencing, we consider what result he or she has had from prior treatments,” Dr. Liporace says.

After a diagnosis is made, a customized plan of treatment is created. “There was a mentality 20 years ago that you start small and work your way up to more invasive treatments,” Dr. Liporace explains. “Now we know that it’s very important to tailor care based on a patient’s need. For some patients, total knee replacement is called for, and less invasive steps would not be appropriate. For many, however, that’s not the case.”

“Our goal is to restore patients’ quality of life,” says Richard Yoon, MD, an orthopedic surgeon at SBMC and a member of RWJBarnabas Health Medical Group. “Whether it be with

Richard Yoon, MD
Richard Yoon, MD
nonoperative treatment or surgical treatment, we strive to get the diagnosis and plan of care that will get you back to where you want to be.”

A Range Of Treatment

Nonsurgical treatments can include medications, such as oral or topical anti-inflammatories, or injections that may be cortisone-based or hyaluronic acid-based. Physical therapy to balance muscles related to the knee may also be prescribed. If those aren’t effective, arthroscopy—a minimally invasive technique for knee surgery—is an option.

Don’t resign yourself to living with pain, says Dr. Yoon. “If you’re changing the way you live in order to perform daily activities, that’s a sign that something needs to be done. Are you going down the stairs one at a time? Having trouble after sitting in a car for a while? Having trouble getting on and off the toilet? When you’re at home, do you plan a trip to the bathroom to coincide with getting a drink of water or a snack, so you only have to make one trip, because of the pain? If so, let us help you get moving again without pain.”

“We can offer the whole gamut of care, following all of the evidence-based medicine available, using all the technologies available,” says Dr. Liporace. “We have it all here, along with some of the shortest hospital stays and lowest complication rates in the area.”

To learn more about orthopedic services at Saint Barnabas Medical Center, call 973.322.7005.