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The June 25, 2007, issue of U.S. News & World Report cited JAAOS and quoted several AAOS members as part of a four-part fitness feature.


Published 8/1/2007
Nicholas DiNubile, MD

AAOS responds to negative portrayals, sets positive examples with PSAs

From spine and knee surgery to injury prevention tips, the AAOS made news

After a recent article about knee replacements in The New York Times, the AAOS collaborated with the American Association of Hip and Knee Surgeons (AAHKS), The Knee Society, and the Scoliosis Research Society (SRS) to write a response. The New York Times article suggested that surgeries such as lumbar fusion are a monetary gain for doctors. The piece also attributed expensive medical procedures, such as knee replacements, as “medically questionable care.”

The response was signed by the four presidents—James H. Beaty, MD (AAOS); Daniel J. Berry, MD (AAHKS); Michael A. Kelly, MD (The Knee Society), and George H. Thompson, MD (SRS)—and assured readers that orthopaedic surgeons make a firm commitment to their patients: “Orthopaedic surgeons are committed to ensuring that the American public has access to high-quality, affordable health care and has the facts about orthopaedic surgical procedures that are medically necessary.” It was published in the New York Times the following week.

If you’re flying on United Airlines during August, check the in-flight magazine, Hemispheres. Douglas M. Lange, MD, and William L. Healy, MD, were interviewed for a feature on golfing and knee replacement. In addition, Joshua A. Siegel, MD, addressed Better Homes and Gardens readers on how to keep knees feeling young, noting that knee problems are one of the most common reasons that people visit orthopaedic surgeons.

Diagnosis: Boomeritis
Because baby boomers are now reaching their 50s and 60s, “HBO Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel” featured a segment on Boomeritis and overuse injuries. On this segment, my 57-year-old patient, Steven Madva, and I discussed the baby boomer’s workout mentality. Steven has had eight orthopaedic surgeries over the past 15 years. He is one of the millions of baby boomers trying to work harder and stay active with an aging frame.

A four-section series in U.S. News & World Report on “Smart Fitness for Grown-Ups” highlighted ways to stay injury-free while exercising and included tips for weekend warriors. The series cited an October 2005 study from the Journal of the AAOS and quoted several AAOS members, including myself; Scott A. Rodeo, MD; Andrew L. Chen, MD; and Vonda Wright, MD.

Geezer Jock, a Masters sports and fitness magazine, featured a piece on what activities baby boomers should and should not do immediately following a joint replacement surgery. Jason L. Koh, MD, and Mitchell B. Sheinkop, MD, were quoted, and statistics from the AAOS were included in the piece.

Wheels on shoes?
As mentioned last month, the AAOS press release on the dangers of ‘heeling’ made news around the globe. Matt Lauer of “The Today Show” featured Leon S. Benson, MD, a member of the AAOS Public Relations Oversight Group, who discussed the potential injuries to children from heeling, such as wrist or elbow fractures.

Nearly 700 print, broadcast, radio, and online news services have featured safety tips and/or included interviews with Academy members. Thanks to Dr. Beaty; Michael T. Busch, MD; Gail S. Chorney, MD; Scott A. Hoffinger, MD; Erik King, MD; Franz Kopp, MD; Jay D. Mabrey, MD; Leah M. Pike, MD; Edward Seade, MD; and Norman Y. Otsuka, MD, for serving as spokespeople on this hot topic.

Surgery, joints, and implants
A recent study on back pain and surgery published in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) prompted an interview with David W. Polly, MD, for American Medical News. The NEJM study reported that patients with back and leg pain may do just as well with a nonsurgical treatment strategy as they would with spine surgery. According to Dr. Polly, it depends on the patient’s tolerance for pain. Surgery is a reasonable and reliable option that benefits many people.

Another study, in the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, found that artificial hips and knees are almost certain to set off alarms at airports, but lighter implants such as plates, screws, nails, and wires often go undetected. Scott A. Rubinstein, MD, discussed the study in two Chicago papers, the Chicago Sun Times and the Daily Southtown. The Boston Globe also picked up this piece.

A recent column in the Chicago Tribune highlighted various joint replacement procedures—ranging from hip and knee to toe and shoulder replacements. Vivek Agrawal, MD, contributed to the piece and referred readers to the Academy’s patient education Web site (www.orthoinfo.org) for more information.

Public service announcements
In a Web exclusive, Newsweek focused on osteoporosis and included interviews with Laura L. Tosi, MD, and Dr. Beaty. Dr. Beaty stressed the Academy’s commitment to preventing future bone health problems and highlighted the 2007 public service ad, “Almost Past Her Prime,” a joint effort by the Academy and the National Institute for Child Health and Human Development.

As part of the AAOS and the National Athletic Trainers Association campaign on falls prevention, Prevention magazine interviewed Dr. Wright. The piece offered readers a guide to maintaining balance and remaining active and fall-less as they age.

Nicholas DiNubile, MD, is chair of the Public Relations Oversight Group. AAOS members who are interested in volunteering as spokespersons for the Academy should contact the public relations department at julitz@aaos.org.