Hip and knee surgery have come a long way, baby. Just ask Alexander Rosenstein, MD, who has been instrumental in helping to advance orthopedic surgery for his patients over the past 25 years.
Rosenstein was a bioengineer before going into medicine, which led him to improve some of the very techniques and devices used in his profession today. He holds U.S. and Canadian patents as well as Food and Drug Administration approval for implant designs used in joint reconstruction.
“I like to bridge the gap between engineering and medicine so patients can have a better quality of life,” Rosenstein said.
Rosenstein graduated from the University of Minnesota Institute of Technology with a degree in bioengineering. He then earned his medical
degree from the University of Minnesota School of Medicine and completed his orthopedic residency training at the University of California, San Diego Medical Center. Rosenstein was awarded the Girdlestone Scholarship and completed his fellowship training in adult reconstruction and joint replacement at Oxford University.
Rosenstein is one of the first U.S. orthopedic surgeons to implant the Oxford Unicompartmental Knee, which allows for restoration of complex, normal motion of the knee. This minimally-invasive procedure preserves bone and ligaments and is usually associated with less discomfort after surgery, faster recovery and a shorter hospital stay.
“With unicompartmental knee replacement, we don’t have to replace the entire knee,” Rosenstein said. “We can preserve the parts of the knee that are still in adequate condition, and only replace the damaged parts of the knee. It only requires a small incision, and it does not completely change the mechanics of the knee as total knee replacement devices do.”
Muskuloskeletal issues are at the forefront of the aging U.S. population, with an estimated 50 million Americans suffering from arthritic disorders and half of them reporting significant disability. But orthopedic problems don’t just affect the elderly.
According to the National Arthritis Foundation, baby boomers are now at prime risk for arthritis. More than half those affected are under age 65, and as a result, arthritis is now the leading cause of disability in the U.S.
“Hip and knee replacement surgery is one of the greatest medical advances of our time. These procedures can improve a person’s quality of life by relieving pain, improving range of motion, and restoring function. There are also many effective non-surgical techniques, including a variety of injections and bracing that can prolong the use of joints before surgery is necessary.”
It is estimated that over 700,000 hip and knee replacements are performed in the United States each year.
A replacement joint that wears out, loosens or develops a problem can be resurfaced or revised with a second procedure, called joint revision surgery, which Rosenstein specializes in.
Joint revision is more complex than the original procedure because of the alteration to a patient’s bone structure that was made during the initial surgery, but it is likely to become more common as an increasing number of younger patients (under 55 to 60) have joint replacement surgery and as the population continues to live longer and outlive their implants.
To promote patients’ comfort and to expedite the recovery after joint replacement surgery, Rosenstein uses “multi-modal” pain management techniques that involve combining medications and administering them at key times during and after surgery to effectively control pain with fewer side effects.
In the past when using narcotics alone following joint replacement surgery, patients had to experience pain before it was treated, which resulted in more pain and required more medication to relieve pain, thereby increasing the chance of side effects. With multi-modal pain management, the goal is to stay ahead of the pain so patients can recover faster.
With so many options in joint replacement surgery and therapies today, Rosenstein says people don’t have to live in pain or leave the area for the most advanced procedures.
“We’ve redefined orthopedic surgery in recent years so patients of all ages have more options and can live active lives longer,” Rosenstein said. “Best of all, everything patients need can be found right here.”
Dr. Rosenstein is board certified by the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery and specializes in adult hip and knee, joint preservation, joint replacement and revision surgery.
Before joining CAMC Physicians Group as director of reconstructive and orthopedic surgery in January 2013, Rosenstein served as professor of orthopaedic surgery and chief of adult reconstruction division at the University of Texas Medical School Houston and adjoint professor of biomedical engineering at the University of Texas Austin. He has held academic positions of assistant clinical professor of orthopaedic surgery at the University of California Irvine and associate professor of the department of orthopaedic surgery and adjunct associate professor of the department of mechanical engineering at Texas Tech University. Rosenstein has also served as chief of surgery and chief of medical staff at South Coast Medical Center in Laguna Beach, CA.
Rosenstein has co-authored a book for arthritis sufferers titled: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Shoulder, Hip and Knee Arthritis but Didn’t Know What to Ask.