Methodist Hospital for Surgery Welcomes New President

In October 2014, Methodist Hospital for Surgery proudly welcomed Dan Gideon, FACHE, as its new president who has since been working to implement new programs and enhance current offerings. With almost 30 years of experience leading and managing hospitals and ambulatory surgery centers, Gideon is well-equipped to guide Methodist Hospital for Surgery toward continued success, which is ultimately expressed in quality outcomes and patient satisfaction.

“Becoming President of Methodist Hospital for Surgery is an incredible opportunity,” Gideon said. “In this role, I’m able to act as a leading influence in one of the nation’s most respected surgical facilities, and I trust that my team and I can find additional opportunities for its success.”

In the course of his 27-year career, Gideon has held the titles of chief executive officer, chief operating officer and chief financial officer, and has worked with both for-profit and not-for-profit organizations, to include hospitals and hospital management companies. Prior to joining Methodist Hospital for Surgery, he served as a group vice president for Nueterra and, during that time, was responsible for the overall operations of hospitals and ambulatory surgery centers in the Texas area.

Methodist Hospital for Surgery is one of the nation’s leading establishments for a variety of surgeries and is most noted for spinal and orthopedic procedures. In recognition of their excellent performance, the hospital has received the following awards: Healthgrades® Patient Safety Excellent AwardTM, Top 10% in the Nation for Public Safety, America’s 100 Best Hospitals for Spine SurgeryTM, Spine Surgery Excellence Award, Joint Replacement Excellence AwardTM, Top 10% in the Nation for Joint Replacement, Five-Star Recipient for Total Knee Replacement (2013, 2014), Five-Star Recipient for Back Surgery, Five-Star Recipient for Spinal Fusion Surgery (2013, 2014).

“This hospital has an incredible reputation, and it’s one I intend to reinforce and help expand,” said Gideon. “With advanced tools and equipment in the hands of award-winning surgeons and physicians, we have everything needed to continue performing as one of the country’s best hospitals.”

How Joint Wellness Classes Are Empowering Patients

For most people who are nervous about the idea of surgery, it is the fear of the unknown that concerns them most. No one likes to enter a situation with unanswered questions, but the feeling is seriously compounded when you add things like anesthesia and recovery to the equation.

To help ease surgery-related fears, Methodist Hospital for Surgery has developed a joint wellness class called Improving Your Moving. This free class is available to all Methodist Hospital for Surgery patients undergoing total hip or knee replacement and is taught by the hospital’s joint and spine coordinator, Candace Callegan, RN.

Total joint replacement is a unique surgery in that it is generally not an emergency; this means patients have time to plan, prepare and voice their concerns, which means they’ll know exactly what to expect going into surgery. In this one-day class, patients will learn numerous surgery-related topics, including how to prepare the home, what patients can expect on arrival and after discharge, what medications to take and avoid and how to manage pain.

Methodist Hospital for Surgery has been offering this class to patients for nearly three years, and the response has been tremendous. Most patients leave the class with a sense of relief, knowing what they can expect in surgery, and many have responded saying everything happened in just the way she said it would.

“By eliminating the fear of the unknown and getting all their questions answered, patients are better prepared,” explains Callegan. “Because they know what to expect, they can play an active role in their recovery, which leads to better outcomes.”

Dan Gideon, president of Methodist Hospital for Surgery, adds, “The overall patient experience is enhanced when the patient population is well informed because it reduces anxiety for both the patient and their family. With less energy given to worry, patients are better able to put their energy toward recovery.”

Patients are also encouraged to bring a friend or family member to class as their “coach.” By attending class alongside the patient, the “coach” is armed with the same knowledge and can help the patient in preparing for surgery and during recovery as well.

As a destination medical center for orthopedic surgery, Methodist Hospital for Surgery has a commitment to provide patients with the best possible medical care. The joint wellness class demonstrates this commitment by providing patients with information that empowers them and leads to an overall positive surgical experience.

Learn more and get details for the next Joint Wellness Class at Methodisthospitalforsurgery.com/joint.

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Understanding Chronic Pain & Pain Management

Chronic pain is a phrase often heard in medical practices, but what does it actually refer to? Aaron Lloyd, MD, is a pain specialist at Methodist Hospital for Surgery (MHFS) and recently shared some of his expertise and insight on this topic.

According to Dr. Lloyd, the term chronic pain describes a large and varied group of conditions, which makes it impossible to offer a single treatment solution. The underlying causes of pain are also varied, but often include one of the following:

  • Ongoing pain following an injury
  • Pain associated with an ongoing medical disease that has been medically treated but cannot be completely eliminated (e.g. rheumatoid arthritis)
  • Pain associated with a medical disease that causes irreversible injury and painful symptoms (e.g. diabetic neuropathy)

Dr. Lloyd believes the term “chronic pain” has become too commonplace among patients today. While some pain can be attributed to the sources listed above, there are also instances in which the patient simply needs to take greater responsibility for their health, wellness and management of any disease present. Overall, according to Dr. Lloyd, there also needs to be a decreased expectation of quick fixes and pills that claim to solve all pain.

When treating those with chronic pain, Dr. Lloyd finds it helpful to ask his patient to define what outcome(s) they expect in specific, concrete terms. For example, rather than leave it at, “I just want to be pain free” or “I just want to go back to normal,” Dr. Lloyd guides patients toward defining acceptable alternatives in terms of functionality. An example of this would be for a patient to say, “I want to be able to take care of my grandchildren” or “I want to be able to go for a 30-minute walk without sitting down.” These specific goals give Dr. Lloyd and his colleagues a measuring stick to guide their medical care.

While all pain is different, common treatment options for chronic pain include physical therapy, cognitive training, chiropractic care, medication management and surgical referrals. Dr. Lloyd warns against any type of pain treatment that promises a quick fix or any one therapy that claims to be the most successful for treating chronic pain.

In Dr. Lloyd’s opinion, what sets MHFS apart in the area of pain management is that the facility has unprecedented access to colleagues and state-of-the-art equipment, allowing pain management physicians to be an integral part in the MHFS competitive advantage in providing unprecedented patient care. Find out how his team of specialists can assist you by contacting our business office.

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What is a Medical Imaging Center?

To aid the diagnosis of various diseases and physical ailments, doctors often rely on diagnostic images of internal systems, organs, muscles and bones. Medical imaging centers, which may be standalone or attached to a facility and provide routine diagnostic and imaging services, help expedite the overall diagnostic process.

But not all imaging centers are created equal. To better understand what sets select imaging centers apart from the rest, Bobby Himel, the Imaging Manager at Methodist Hospital for Surgery (MHFS), shared his expertise and insight.

Interestingly, Mr. Himel began by noting that patients should know about the manufacturer and model of equipment being used at whatever imaging center they’re visiting. It’s just like buying a new car or home appliance—you know that some manufacturers stand above the rest. General Electric is the equipment manufacturer of choice at MHFS, and is one Mr. Himel regards as a top provider.
In addition to manufacturer information, patients should feel free to ask whether equipment is calibrated regularly and if routine preventative maintenance has recently been performed. Patients who make this type of inquiry at MHFS are provided detailed information, including preventative maintenance records and calibration information.

Of course the quality and reputation of imaging center staff tops the list of important factors, because equipment is only as good as those operating it. To that end Mr. Himel explains that all imaging center technologists hold advanced certifications in their respective fields. Similarly, the radiologists who interpret diagnostic tests are board-certified in radiology and can be further certified in select specialties. For example, if a patient at MHFS has an MRI of the knee, the MRI technologist who performs the study will hold an advanced registry in MRI; the radiologist who then interprets the study will be a board-certified orthopedic radiologist. At some facilities, Mr. Himel cautions, you may find an X-ray technologist who performs the MRI and a general radiologist who interprets the test.

Mr. Himel further explains that the MHFS imaging department holds an advanced certification with the American College of Radiology in CT and MRI. The rigorous process for certification ensures the quality of the scans performed at MHFS and ensures safety to the patient, helping the Imaging Center at MHFS stand out from all others.

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Understanding Total Knee Replacement

Of all the orthopedic surgeries available to patients, perhaps one of the most common is total knee replacement surgery. While this surgery has historically been reserved for older patients—typically mid-60s and on—newer technology is opening the door for younger patients to reclaim an active lifestyle following a knee replacement.

According to Dr. William Tucker Jr., an orthopedic surgeon at Methodist Hospital for Surgery (MHFS), the most common reason for a patient to undergo total knee replacement is arthritis, although the reason for the arthritis can vary. While arthritis is typically the result of cumulative wear and tear or medical conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis or lupus, some arthritis is brought on by previous sporting injuries.

For Dr. Tucker, the average age of one of his patients undergoing total knee replacement is approximately 63, although this age has decreased over time because the implants within the knee are more durable and the results much more predictable. Previously, patients would be advised to “tough it out” for many years before having their knee replaced. Nowadays, Dr. Tucker says he recommends patients undergo surgery as soon as their symptoms start to interfere with their quality of life or desire to remain active.

Newer techniques, such as minimally-invasive knee replacements, partial knee replacements and implant design have changed the way many orthopedic surgeons look at joint replacement. The newer knee implants are expected to last more than 20 years and give patients a better range of motion, so it’s easier for them to bend their knee, making the prosthesis feel more like a natural knee. This technology helps younger patients decide to go forward with total knee replacement surgery because they can better be assured that their quality of life will improve if they are no longer in constant pain and discomfort.

According to Dr. Tucker, total knee replacement is one of the most successful surgeries in all of orthopedics. Most patients are able to return to virtually all of their normal activities. The primary goal of the surgery is to relieve pain while also improving mobility and range of motion. Following surgery, patients can typically return to walking, playing golf, traveling, gardening and even lower impact sports such as doubles tennis or snow skiing, if they are comfortable doing so.

For Dr. Tucker, who is been in practice for 19 years, MHFS is set apart from other hospitals because it offers patients a facility which specializes in the care of surgical patients with a streamlined model that decreases wait times, minimizes the amount of time patients need to spend in the hospital after surgery, lowers the risk of infection and other complications, all while providing an unsurpassed patient experience.

Treat Your Feet Right

April is National Foot Health Awareness Month, which means now is a good time to take a closer look at your own feet and ask whether your shoe choice is helping or hurting them. According to Dr. Rick Miller, a podiatrist at Methodist Hospital for Surgery (MHFS) who’s been in practice for more than 35 years, shoe choice can play a major role in the overall health of feet.

Among the more common foot problems he treats, including bunions and hammer toes, most are found in women who wear high-heeled shoes (higher than an inch and a half) with an enclosed, pointy toe. This pushes toes upward and causes them to cramp, and also causes corns when toes rub against the inside of the shoe.

While Dr. Miller isn’t suggesting a woman should never pull out some killer heels for a special evening out, he does encourage sensibility in daily shoe choice. For instance, if a woman knows that in the course of the day she’ll be doing a lot of standing or walking, wearing high heels is not a good choice. However, if she’s going out to dinner and doing more sitting, then making a great entrance in high heels would be more appropriate.

But it’s not just women who need to match their shoe choice to their activities. For example, Dr. Miller often sees people at amusement parks walking around in flip-flops that offer no arch support and no protection for the toes. This shoe choice will fatigue the person wearing them more quickly than if they were wearing shoes with proper support. In a casual situation that requires lots of walking, Dr. Miller recommends a walking or running shoe that offers good support, lots of cushion and plenty of room for toes.

So what is the long-term outlook for those patients Dr. Miller sees who continue to make the wrong shoe choice? He said those patients could probably expect pain in the lower back, knees and arches, as well as deformities of the toes and ingrown toenails. To properly treat the effects of poor shoe choice, such as bunions, calluses and corns, patients should seek a medical professional to have them properly removed or trimmed, and then wear padding to keep them comfortable. If patients continue making poor shoe choices, then surgical procedures to correct deformities or even nerve damage may become necessary.

To learn more about what the podiatrists at MHFS can do to keep your feet healthy, please call 469-248-3900.

Ready, Set, Go: Sports Season & Adolescent Injury

The warming days of spring are right around the corner, which means parents and kids are gearing up for sports season. Whether it’s organized school or community sports or just playtime in the front yard with friends, kids are exceedingly active—and far more prone to injury—when weather gives them the freedom to be outdoors.

That means parents need to be ready for the risks of sports and outdoors activities.

This month, Dr. John McGarry, an orthopedic surgeon at Methodist Hospital for Surgery (MHfS), sheds some light on the precautions that could help prevent unnecessary injuries. In Dr. McGarry’s experience, the three most common sports injuries in children and adolescents are strains and sprains; overuse injuries such as stress fractures, apophysitis (inflammation of the bone) and periostitis (inflammation of soft tissue); and contusions.

Sprains and contusions are the most difficult kind of injury to avoid because they usually occur during play as a result of falls, collisions or missteps. On the other hand, overuse injuries can be readily avoided by gradually increasing intensity during practice or training, until the participant has re-attained the desired level of fitness; moving too fast from winter stillness to high-speed summer activity is what quickly leads to overuse injuries. Similarly, strains can be avoided by properly warming up with stretches and slow, simple exercises before high-intensity activity begins.

But injury can still be unavoidable. If your child sustains an overuse injury, Dr. McGarry recommends the following as treatment:
• Ice
• A non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID, such as ibuprofen)
• Rest
• Stretching
• Slow return to sports

Treating strains, sprains and contusions depends on the severity of the injury, though initial treatment will mirror the above (ice, NSAID, rest, stretching). In worst case scenarios, fractures or muscle tears may require orthopedic surgery, in which case the concerns include risks of surgery, healing time and how quickly a child can return to normal activity or sports involvement.

While every parent hopes to survive the sports season with their kids injury-free, medical intervention is almost always necessary for someone. In Dr. McGarry’s opinion, MHfS is exemplary in the field of child and adolescent orthopedic surgery thanks to fellowship-trained sports medicine surgeons who routinely care for adolescent athletes. For specific questions about adolescent orthopedic surgery, call Methodist Hospital for Surgery at 469-248-3900.

Simple ENT Surgery Can Make a Big Difference

Many people are skeptical that a simple ear, nose and throat (ENT) surgery can dramatically improve their quality of life. But the truth is ENT surgeries aim to do just that. With allergy season right around the corner, more and more people are aware of just how aggravating their chronic sinus and allergy problems are, but did you know there reasons beyond allergies to consider visiting an ENT? You might be surprised to learn just how many conditions these specialists can correct with simple surgery.

Some of the most common ENT surgeries and procedures performed at Methodist Hospital for Surgery (MHFS) include endoscopic sinus surgery, septoplasty, turbinectomy, tonsillectomy, thyroid surgery and tympanoplasty. While most of these procedures sound intimidating, an experienced surgeon at MHFS can help you understand why one of these procedures may be the ideal solution to your condition.

According to Dr. Rajiv Pandit, an ENT surgeon at MHFS since it opened four years ago, the typical cases they see in their office that could benefit from a surgical procedure include chronic sinus infections, snoring, sore throat, hearing loss, neck masses and thyroid nodules. Not all of these cases require surgery, but many patients are surprised to learn that a simple surgery can do more than alleviate their symptoms—it can effectively cure the underlying cause.

In addition to improving a patient’s overall quality of life, ENT surgery can also improve special senses, such as hearing, smell and taste, as well as special functions like speaking and hearing. As with all surgeries, the patient will need time off from work and select daily activities in order to recover. Dr. Pandit believes the state-of-the-art facilities and best equipment available help ensure patients a successful outcome.

So how do you know if ENT surgery is the answer? The first step is a consultation with the ENT team at MHFS. If it turns out your symptoms are recurrent or last more than three weeks, further evaluation will be sought in order to determine the right course of treatment. The unique thing about ENT specialists is they are both medical doctors and surgeons, so problems are first treated medically. However, if further treatment or surgery is needed, the same ENT specialist can follow through with surgery, so a referral to another doctor is not needed.

Methodist Hospital for Surgery Partners with Texas Surgeon for Operation Walk USA

On Monday, December 2, Christmas came early for Shelia K., of Bella Vista, AR, and Susan S., of Waxahachie, TX, when they received the unique gift of surgery, courtesy of Methodist Hospital for Surgery, orthopedic surgeon specialist, Dr. Kurt Rathjen, and charitable surgical program, Operation Walk USA.

Now in its third year, Operation Walk USA has provided free orthopedic surgery to almost 500 people in the U.S., and they provided both Shelia and Susan with a free knee arthroscopy.

Shelia K. spent her entire life suffering severe knee and leg pain and was first introduced to Dr. Rathjen after he’d replaced her dad’s knees.

“I don’t remember exactly when my first visit with Dr. Rathjen was,” recalled Shelia. “I want to say it was March 2012.” It was her parents who made the introduction and even paid for her initial visit, since Shelia’s physical state had cost her her job and left her without insurance.

“I was born with my hips out of socket, so my muscles and tendons didn’t develop properly,” Shelia explained. “As a kid, my knee would pop out of place. Doctors previously tried to shorten the muscles and insert some pins, and then they went in a few times to clean debris out.

“Right off the bat, Dr. Rathjen took X-Rays, and he asked me how I got up every day and made the decision to stand and walk. I didn’t know how bad they’d gotten, but he told me ‘you have permission to hurt worse than you’ve ever dreamed about.’”

Dr. Rathjen explained that Shelia’s right knee was the worst he’d ever seen, especially in someone her age—she was only 55 at the time—and that, in addition to severe arthritis, she had no cartilage remaining in her knee. After thorough examination, and knowing what Shelia faced without work or insurance, Dr. Rathjen presented her with an opportunity from Operation Walk USA.
“I quizzed him about it, just to make sure I wasn’t part of a lottery, but he reassured me that day, right then, that there would be nobody else who would come in and be worse [physically].” At that time, Dr. Rathjen had already selected his 2012 candidate, but said Shelia would be among his selections for 2013.

While the assurance of surgery the following year gave Shelia hope, she still faced 18 months of coping; but even for this she had Dr. Rathjen’s support. He schedule Shelia to receive regular cortisone shots and provided Tramadol for her pain. For her part, Shelia agreed to do anything Dr. Rathjen requested that might improve her physical condition before surgery so, following his instruction, she succeeded in losing weight and even quit smoking.

Following Shelia’s December surgery, she was admitted to the Remington Medical Resort, a transitional care facility in Richardson, TX, where she spent almost two weeks working through physical therapy.
“He gave me my life back.” She minces no words in trying to explain what the free surgery and after-care have meant for her future. “It’s been incredible. My surgery went perfect.”

Asked about plans for her new-found mobility, Shelia is quick to say that she wants to volunteer with her local Red Cross, which she describes as a very active chapter. Curiously, she then starts to laugh; she reveals that she is a widow who has shied away from new relationships, fearing that she’d be a burden.

“Now that I’m feeling better and feeling good about myself, the Lord may send me my Mr. Right.”
Susan S. also received surgery on December 2, and while her story begins in a very different place, it echoes the same resounding hope of a successful surgical outcome.
“Three or four years ago, the pain started getting unmanageable—it was bone-on-bone and there was nothing left to do except surgery.” After many years as an avid softball and tennis player, Susan had developed advanced arthritis in both knees. She tolerated the condition as long as possible, but when pain forced her into part-time hours at work, she felt the early pangs of desperation.
“I Googled ‘free knee replacement surgery’ but never dreamt there was an organization that did this.”
She was quick to contact Operation Walk USA once she discovered them, but was told she didn’t quite meet their financial criteria. At that time, Susan was faced with a minimum cost of $20,000 for one knee arthroscopy, and the only alternate plan she could conceive to cover such a price tag was to start selling her possessions.

“I’m only 54 and I couldn’t imagine how this was going to be,” she explained. “It was too painful to sit or walk or anything. [My knees] would lock in place and there was constant grinding. You take for granted the things you can do. Feed the dog, grocery shop, work in my garden; I couldn’t do any of them.”

In 2012, when Susan’s pain escalated to the point that she was forced to quit work, she wondered if Operation Walk USA might reconsider her case. She reached out one more time.

“Next thing I knew, [Operation Walk USA] had set me up an appointment with Dr. Rathjen. I thought I was going in for an initial evaluation; I didn’t realize they’d already contacted him and given him the go-ahead to do my surgery.”
After full evaluation of Susan’s condition, Dr. Rathjen told her that both knees needed to be replaced. Then, to her surprise, he told her simply to “pick one.” That’s when she realized she was a candidate.

“Dr. Rathjen is the nicest, most compassionate man I’ve ever met; I could tell he really empathized with my situation and his whole call was to restore my quality of life,” Susan recalls fondly. “It’s a godsend. It’s like you win the knee lottery—you can’t imagine a better gift to be given than a surgeon’s time. They open the doors and say ‘We got the cost, you just focus on getting well.’”

After Dr. Rathjen successfully replaced Susan’s left knee, she set her sights on employing him to replace her right.
“One way or another I’ll get the second one done and I’ll go back to Dr. Rathjen, too.” Following her surgery, Susan spent much of December working with an inpatient physical therapist who came to her home for private sessions. “There’s pain involved for sure, but I could tell the first time I put weight on my knee that the pain wasn’t the same I’d had, it was just the surgery site—I’m a
totally different person now.”

Methodist Hospital for Surgery and Dr. Rathjen have participated in Operation Walk USA since the program’s inaugural year, and once again, the surgeries they provided were a success. Working alongside Dr. Rathjen was the Methodist Hospital for Surgery staff, including two anesthesiologists and an attending physician, who donated their time during these unique procedures.
Both Shelia and Susan received their entire episode of care—consultations, surgery, physical therapy, follow-up—free of charge and their recovery is now well underway. Their joint replacement implants were donated by Smith & Nephew.

“We look forward to continued participation in Operation Walk USA,” said Chris Shoup, Methodist Hospital for Surgery president. “It’s impossible to ignore a call like this, when you know that by participating in the Operation Walk program you’re completely changing and improving the course and outcome of a person’s life. This is our mission and the foundation on which Methodist Hospital for Surgery was formed—it’s our calling, and knowing Dr. Rathjen, I’m confident he feels the same.”

Learn more about Operation Walk USA by visiting www.opwalkusa.com.