Whether it’s playing soccer with your kids, dancing with that someone special or just taking an evening stroll, some of life’s best moments include getting up and moving. But age, injury or medical complications can mean our knees, hips and other joints aren’t capable of what they once were. The Orthopedic Center at SSM Health DePaul Hospital offers a full range of services to prevent, diagnose and treat joint damage and other musculoskeletal issues, so you don’t have to compromise on the things you love doing.
Opened in 2004, the center and its team of eight orthopedic surgeons have received special recognition for knee and hip replacements, including the Joint Commission’s Gold Seal for Quality and mentions in publications like U.S. News & World Report. Its patient satisfaction scores routinely rank among the top 5% in the nation for joint replacement. “Patients have a wonderful experience because we understand that treatment is a team process,” says orthopedic surgeon Dr. William Schroer. “They get the benefit and expertise of dedicated surgical and nursing staff who are focused on joint repair.”
While the field has come a long way since its foundations more than 40 years ago, Schroer notes that the elective nature of these procedures keeps many people from visiting the orthopedic surgeon’s office. “Fear of surgery can lead patients to seek alternative treatments that have no scientific basis,” he says, adding that an operation is never the first course of action. Nonsurgical treatment options include exercise and physical therapy, anti-inflammatory medication, weight loss, and cortisone or hyaluronic acid injections.
When surgery is necessary to address the problem, Schroer says that most fears about the procedures are unfounded. “Joint replacement research is focused on making sure patients have the best outcomes,” he adds. “For our patients, the average pain score while doing physical therapy is 3.5 on a 10-point scale, and that’s the day after surgery.” To make sure patients fully understand the procedures, the center has all surgical candidates attend a preoperative education class, which also is open to people who have not yet decided on a course of action. “We educate people so they can make the decision that is right for them,” Schroer says.
SSM Health DePaul also has a clinical research program to make sure it is best addressing patients’ needs. Schroer received a research award from the Knee Society for his work on the positive impact of nutritional intervention on joint replacement outcomes. He and his team found that patients with a high-protein, anti-inflammatory nutrition plan similar to the Mediterranean diet experienced lower infection rates, faster wound healing and fewer return admissions to the hospital. “We’ve been very fortunate to have an ongoing research program,” Schroer says. “We really look at clinical questions and focus on how we can best take care of patients.”
At the center, recovery begins immediately, with many knee and hip replacement patients walking the same day as surgery. “After joint replacement, people can get back to doing their favorite activities, whether it’s biking, golf or tennis,” Schroer says. “Our goal is to keep them active. We like making the rocking chair business nervous.”
Attached to SSM Health DePaul Hospital, The Orthopedic Center provides a wide range of services that address prevention, diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of musculoskeletal disorders and injuries. Pictured on the cover: Dr. Gregory Nelson, Dr. William Schroer, Dr. Katherine Burn. For more information, call 314.291.7900 or visit ssmhealth.com/orthopedics.
Cover design by Julie Streiler | Cover photo by Bill Barrett
Pictured at top: Orthopedic surgeon Dr. William Schroer
Photo: Bill Barrett