Going Strong
From surgical care to nonsurgical therapy, advances in orthopedic medicine help patients get back on their feet more quickly.
by Jill Lupine

The human body is an amazing machine. Even when it breaks down, it has an innate ability to heal itself and regain its strength. The methods used to treat injuries have evolved considerably, too.
Orthopedic surgery is a fine example. With total knee and hip replacements, for example, patients may have the surgery in the morning and be out of bed and walking in the afternoon, according to John A. Avallone, D.O., an orthopedic surgeon with St. Mary Medical Center in Langhorne. While the road to recovery may come with its share of bumps, the combination of preoperative planning and postoperative rehabilitation help surgical candidates return to their normal activities sooner than they might have thought possible.
Likewise, remarkable advances in orthopedic medicine extend to nonsurgical treatment. Some sports-medicine practices have come to embrace “complementary medicine,” referring to therapies that fall outside the scope of traditional scientific medicine but can be used as supplemental measures to promote healing. Examples include acupuncture and dry needling, both of which may help to alleviate pain associated with orthopedic insults.
“We certainly do see acute patients come in, but most of the these issues for the general population happen more gradually,” says Dhimant J. Balar, D.O., a sports medicine physician with Princeton Brain, Spine and Sports Medicine, which offers treatment at campus locations throughout the Greater Philadelphia Area. “A middle-aged patient might present with nagging shoulder pain or knee pain and find they have a partial rotator-cuff tear or meniscus tear. Those kinds of injuries don’t necessarily need to be fixed through surgery.”
Dr. Balar suggests the path toward recovery begins with helping the patient acquire an in-depth understanding of what’s causing his or her specific problem. By understanding the nature and extent of an injury and how it came about, the patient can then pursue the best course of treatment.
“Often these injuries result from doing something that’s repetitive in nature,” he says. “An example would be a bus driver who’s always opening the [bus] door with their right arm, or someone who’s experiencing progressive elbow pain because of spending too much time on the computer. … Unless you modify the true cause [of the injury], you’re not treating the actual problem.”
Adjusting exercises in the gym, taking more frequent breaks from working at the computer, or improving one’s posture may help to alleviate symptoms, for example.
Given societal changes in recent years, Dr. Balar has seen increases in two disparate patient groups seeking his care: older, active patients whose bodies experience wear and tear from age or overuse; and younger patients who are dealing with acute pain from sports injuries or chronic pain associated with sedentary activities, such as spending too much time on their phones, computers, or playing video games.  
“If you help a patient understand ‘This is why you’re having discomfort,’ and show them how to make changes to lessen the discomfort, there’s more of a chance that they will get long-term relief from their symptoms,” Dr. Balar says. “Some people need surgical intervention, and I may recommend progressing to that point if they don’t respond to more conservative treatment.
“The option for surgery is always there,” he continues. “Whether or not the patient needs it depends on their symptoms.”

2020 Top Orthopedic Doctors
We asked readers to share their thoughts on the go-to orthopedic specialists in the Greater Philadelphia Area, and they responded in kind. The following list includes their choices, as well as a few of our own, based on individuals and organizations we’ve featured in the pages of this magazine recently. In addition to leaders in orthopedic surgery, we also included physicians who practice in allied subspecialties such as hand surgery, neurosurgery, and sports medicine.

Dr. Joseph A. Abboud
Dr. Christopher M. Aland
Dr. D. Greg Anderson
Dr. William V. Arnold
Dr. Matthew S. Austin
Dr. Steven A. Caruso
Dr. P. Maxwell Courtney
Dr. Charles L. Getz
Dr. Michael F. Harrer
Dr. Alan S. Hilibrand
Dr. J. Gabriel Horneff III
Dr. William J. Hozack
Dr. I. David Kaye
Dr. Christopher Kepler
Dr. Mark F. Kurd
Dr. Marc J. Levine
Dr. Jess H. Lonner
Dr. Surena Namdari
Dr. Andre J. Pagliaro
Dr. Matthew L. Ramsey
Dr. Jeffrey A. Rihn
Dr. Arjun Saxena
Dr. John R. Schnell
Dr. Rachel Shakked
Dr. Alexander R. Vaccaro
Dr. Gerald R. Williams Jr.
Rothman Orthopaedics
Multiple area locations

Dr. Jeffrey S. Abrams
Dr. Jon W. Ark
Dr. Steven R. Gecha
Dr. W. Thomas Gutowski
Dr. David J. Lamb
Princeton Orthopaedic Associates
Princeton, N.J.

Dr. Kenan Aksu
Dr. Jonathan P. Garino
Dr. Mark E. Tantorski
Dr. Richard Ziegler
Premier Orthopaedics
Multiple area locations

Dr. Ashley H. Anderson
Dr. Michael A. Campbell
Dr. Scott Ritterman
Brandywine Hospital - Tower Health

Dr. John A. Avallone
Dr. David A. Cautilli
Dr. George Cautilli
Dr. Richard Cautilli Jr.
Dr. Edward J. Ford
Dr. George T. Stollsteimer
St. Mary Medical Center

Dr. John L. Beight
Dr. Leonard A. Brody
Dr. Todd Chertow
Dr. Walter W. Dearolf III
Dr. Michael J. Kimball
Dr. Seth D. Krum
Dr. Robert E. Mannherz
Dr. Marc Manzione
Dr. William J. Markmann
Dr. David E. Reinhardt
Dr. Todd Schwartz
Holy Redeemer Hospital

Dr. John H. Benner IV
Dr. Christopher J. Lyons
Dr. Cheston Simmons Jr.
Chester County Hospital | Penn Medicine
West Chester

Dr. Benjamin I. Chu
Dr. David V. Craft
Dr. Thomas E. Greene
Dr. Victor W. Hsu
Dr. Andrew M. Star
Abington-Lansdale Hospital

Dr. Linda P. D’Andrea
Dr. James T. Guille
Dr. Scott Ritterman
Pottstown Hospital - Tower Health

Dr. Jamie L. Engel
Chestnut Hill Hospital - Tower Health

Dr. David L. Glaser
Dr. Eric L. Hume
Dr. Craig Israelite
Dr. Frederick S. Kaplan
Dr. L. Scott Levin
Dr. Brian J. Sennett
Dr. Keith L. Wapner
Dr. Kristy L. Weber
Penn Medicine
Multiple area locations

Dr. Evan Kovalsky
Dr. Michael J. Messina
Dr. Karl Rosenfeld
Dr. Mark A. Schwartz
Dr. James A. Shaffer
Phoenixville Hospital - Tower Health

Dr. Scott A. Rushton
Lankenau Medical Center

Dr. Daniel Fletcher
Dr. Asif M. Ilyas
Dr. Michael Rivlin
Rothman Orthopaedics
Multiple area locations

Dr. Leonid Katolik
Abington-Lansdale Hospital

Dr. Marc J. Lamb
Princeton Orthopaedic Associates
Princeton, N.J.

Dr. Eon K. Shin
St. Mary Medical Center

Dr. Gordon H. Baltuch
Dr. M. Sean Grady
Penn Medicine
Multiple area locations

Dr. James C. Barrese
Dr. Seth Jossefer
Dr. Mark McLaughlin
Dr. Richard J. Meagher
Dr. Nazer Qureshi
Dr. Nirav K. Shah
Dr. Matthew Tormenti
Princeton Brain, Spine & Sports Medicine
Multiple area locations

Dr. Ana Bracilovic
Dr. Grant Cooper
Dr. Scott Curtis
Dr. Marco Funiciello
Dr. Jason Kirkbride
Dr. Zinovy Meyler
Princeton Joint & Spine Center
Princeton, N.J.

Dr. Lee M. Buono
Capital Institute for Neurosciences Center for Spinal Disorders and Spinal Oncology
Pennington, N.J.

Dr. Alberto Esquenazi
Dr. Michael H. Marino
Dr. Nathaniel H. Mayer
Dr. Jeffrey North
Dr. Christopher Plastaras
Dr. Michael Saulino
Dr. Miriam Segal
Dr. C.R. Sridhara
Dr. Thomas Watanabe
Multiple area locations

Dr. Jeffrey A. Gehret
Dr. Saloni Sharma
Dr. Jeremy I. Simon
Dr. David S. Stolzenberg
Rothman Orthopaedics
Multiple area locations

Dr. Dhimant J. Balar
Princeton Brain, Spine & Sports Medicine
Multiple area locations

Dr. Michael G. Ciccotti
Dr. Evan J. Conte
Dr. Christopher C. Dodson
Dr. Michael R. Duch
Dr. Michael Duncan
Dr. William Emper
Dr. Robert W. Frederick
Dr. Kevin Freedman
Dr. William Gomez
Dr. Sommer Hammoud
Dr. Marc I. Harwood
Dr. Joshua S. Hornstein
Dr. Bradley J. Smith
Rothman Orthopaedics
Multiple area locations

Dr. Matthew Lewullis
Penn Medicine
Multiple area locations

Dr. Lawrence Wells
Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia


Published (and copyrighted) in Suburban Life magazine, March 2020.