News Health & Science

Local surgeon helps patients with knee and hip pain

As an orthopedic surgeon specializing in knee and hip replacement surgery, Dr. Adam Rosen advises patients on a range of treatment options, up to and including an operation.

Rosen, a Carmel Valley resident, will give a presentation about the full spectrum of treatment options for chronic knee and hip pain at Scripps Green Hospital in La Jolla at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 3. The hospital is located at 10666 N. Torrey Pines Road, and the presentation is free and open to the public. To register for the event, call 1-800-SCRIPPS.

According to Rosen, the first step for dealing with knee or hip pain is to try a low-impact exercise such as swimming, using an eliptical machine or stationary bike. Along with exercise, Rosen said, a patient may find pain relief by losing as little as five pounds.

Next on the spectrum would be an over-the-counter medication such as Motrin or Tylenol. If the patient is still suffering from pain, Rosen said, “That’s where my services come in handy.” Rosen might recommend a cortesone injection and, “If that fails, surgical options like knee replacement are discussed.”

In the majority of patients that he sees at Scripps Clinic, osteoarthritis is the underlying cause of their pain, although other physical problems, such as fractures or ligament tears, could also be the culprit. He differentiated between rheumatoid arthritis, a systemic disease that affects all joints in the body, with osteoarthritis, which comes from wear and loss of cartilage, and can affect a specific joint, such as a hip or knee, on one side of the body.

People with osteoarthritis can suffer from pain, inflammation and swelling, caused by bone-on-bone contact in the affected joint.

Most patients spend one night in the hospital and then go home, where they can continue physical therapy. Knee and hip replacement patients typically are up and walking the day of their surgery.

“The quicker they get up and moving, the faster they recover,” Rosen said. Most hip replacement patients fully recover in an average of two months, while the average recovery time for knee replacement patients is three months.

Hip and knee replacements have been shown to dramatically improve quality of life and reduce pain in patients, and age isn’t necessarily a factor. Rosen said he has operated on a patient as old as 97. (He began his practice at Scripps in 2006 after completing his medical studies in his native Philadelphia.)

“Lots of studies have shown that improvement of quality of life is so good, that’s why these patients are having these surgeries,” he said.

One advance in knee and hip replacements, said Rosen, is administering a nerve block or numbing agent before surgery, so that the pain is controlled during and after the operation. Doctors are also giving their patients non-narcotic pain relievers starting from before surgery, around the clock, which leads to less use of narcotics post-surgery, he said.

A challenge facing orthopedic surgeons, he said, is figuring out why a small number of knee replacement patients don’t do as well as the majority of patients in terms of pain relief. “That’s our big goal going into the future,” he said.

When he’s not seeing patients or scrubbing for surgery, Rosen enjoys cooking and camping with his family, as well as fly fishing. He and his wife have two school-age children.

Rosen is a strong proponent of eating healthy food and getting plenty of exercise, for his family and his patients.

“My biggest goal is making sure people try to get into habits of regular exercise and good eating habits. It goes beyond hips and knees, it’s good for their general health,” he said.

For more detailed information about knee and hip pain and treatment options, visit Rosen’s website at www.rosenhipandknee.com. Another resource is www.scripps.org/ortho.

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