With the advent of space-age ways to replace joints, resurface hips, implant artificial discs and re-attach severed limbs, orthopedics has become a major profit center for hospitals, and several have noteworthy centers. Today the buzz word in orthopedics is “mini,” as in minimally invasive, and hip and knee replacements can now be done with tiny incisions that considerably shorten recovery. High-tech computers guide surgeons to perfectly align new prostheses and test the range of motion while the patient is still under anesthesia. Whether it’s relieving the pain of a pinched nerve by treating a bulging disk with a hot probe, injecting glue into a tiny spinal fracture, or reversing a shoulder rotation to shift the load to a stronger muscle, all the doctors at the centers listed below have boned up on the latest developments and can perform them with outstanding skill. We’ve divided the group into academic and community hospitals, because while the former tend to be nationally recognized for excellence, the latter service huge numbers of people a very high level.
The Rothman Institute at Jefferson Hospital is the gold standard for classic and innovative orthopedic surgery, ranked 13th nationally by U.S. News World & Report in 2007. More than 50 specialists backed by dozens of support staff are among the busiest and best regarded in the city. At the Foot and Ankle Service, Steven Raikin performs the most total ankle replacements in the region and is one of the few surgeons in the country adept at an alternative to replacement when large cysts invade the ankle bone and cartilage (925 Chestnut Street, 800-321-9999, Rothmaninstitute.com).
Robert Booth and his colleagues at 3B Orthopedics, part of the Penn Orthopedic Institute, have more performed more total knee replacements than anybody in the world, and Jess Lonner was one of the first in the area to offer minimal-incision knee replacement. Ranked by U.S. News at 33rd in the nation, it has a program dedicated to treating both benign and cancerous bone tumors and the only full-time neuro-orthopedist in the country, Mary Ann Keenan. Her remarkable work operating on muscles and tendons to straighten limbs deformed by strokes or accidents is truly miraculous. The Foot and Ankle Center performs all the routine but complex foot surgeries as well as high-tech procedures like cartilage replacement and limb lengthening (locations at HUP, 3400 Spruce Street; Presbyterian Hospital, 39th and Market streets; 3B Orthopedics at Pennsylvania Hospital, 800 Spruce Street; 800-789-PENN, pennhealth.com/ortho/).
Temple Orthopedics and Sports Medicine was founded in 1974 by Joseph Torg, who practically invented this specialty. The center is now directed by Ray Moyer, who’s in the Pennsylvania Hall of Fame for his work in the field. Aging weekend warriors and high-school football players alike are seen within 24 hours. In addition to all the cutting-edge treatments and state-of-the art physical therapy, the staff and faculty conduct an active outreach educational program in 33 public and several Catholic and suburban schools (3401 North Broad Street, 215-707-2111, tuh.templehealth.org/orthosports, with satellite locations at Northeastern Hospital in Port Richmond, Northeast Philadelphia, Fort Washington and Marlton).
The Cooper’s Bone & Joint Institute offers a full range of joint and spine surgery options, and also has Lawrence Miller, a leader in sports medicine, heading an excellent division noteworthy for its work educating and collaborating with coaches and trainers in South Jersey schools and colleges. A major focus is the evaluation and treatment of sports-related concussion, a common injury among young competitive athletes (3 Cooper Plaza, Camden, 800-8-COOPER, cooperhealth.org).
Abington Memorial Hospital’s Human Motion Institute handled 3,500 cases in 2007, including 1,100 joint replacements — more than any other hospital in the area. It boasts all the latest technology and has the gold seal of approval for hip and knee replacement from the Joint Commission, the blue-ribbon group for hospital accreditation (1200 Old York Road, Abington, 215-481-8969, amh.org).
Boasting specialized programs for spine, joint replacement, arthritis, rehab and sports medicine, the Joint Commission-certified Institute for Musculoskeletal Health at Virtua performs more than 1,000 spine procedures a year and has taught surgeons from as far away as Japan how to do minimally invasive total knee replacement (2309 Evesham Road, Voorhees, 888-VIRTUA-3, virtua.org).
Specializing in joint replacement for 30 years, the Orthopedic Center at Bryn Mawr Hospital recently built a new orthopedic unit with all private rooms; adapted to post-op care, it has a gym with a car simulator to teach recovering patients how to get in and out of automobiles (1300 South Bryn Mawr Road, Bryn Mawr, 610-526-3000, mainlinehealth.org/bm).