On the Mend
Abington Health Orthopaedic & Spine Institute at both Abington Memorial Hospital and Lansdale Hospital gets patients moving again
by Glori Gayster

When it comes to orthopaedic and spine care, patients throughout the area have benefited from a mini-revolution—“mini” being short for “minimally invasive”—underway at the Abington Health Orthopaedic & Spine Institute (OSI). At both Abington Memorial Hospital and Lansdale Hospital, physicians and dedicated staff use advanced technology to provide virtually every kind of minimally invasive surgery imaginable. This includes more than 1,000 joint replacements performed each year.  In addition, the new facility at Lansdale Hospital offers personalized, patient-focused care with a specially designed rehabilitation area, private patient rooms and Wi-Fi areas.

“We are extremely excited to be offering these services at the Orthopaedic & Spine Institute at Lansdale,” says Andrew M. Star, M.D., medical director and chief of orthopaedic surgery. “It has been a dream to standardize joint replacements and spine services at both hospitals and to expand these services to residents of the Lansdale Hospital community, bringing the most complex care close to home.”

Over the years, Dr. Star has pioneered many advanced techniques in minimally invasive orthopaedic surgery and care. He explains one of the greatest misnomers is that having a hip or joint replacement requires extensive downtime. “That’s no longer the case. New technology has revolutionized treatment options and patients of all ages can get back to work and life’s normal routine far more quickly.”

Dr. Star leads a team of more than 75 physicians, with surgical expertise, performing corrective procedures for degenerative conditions and traumatic injuries. From hips and knees to shoulders and hands, patients are treated by specialists in sports medicine, pain management, rehabilitation medicine, rheumatology and podiatry as well as, a dedicated support team of OSI nurses, all skilled in musculoskeletal care. OSI readily performs hip and knee replacements, hip resurfacing, and ankle, shoulder, elbow, wrist and finger surgeries. Using minimally invasive techniques, highly trained spine experts , both orthopaedic spine surgeons and neurosurgeons, are also available to perform fusions, microdiscectomies and bone grafting.

Not Shooting from the Hip
After years of studying hip pain, Dr. Star has learned that each case is as unique as the patient. OSI specialists therefore carefully evaluate one’s condition before prescribing the optimal care. Medical treatments can include cortisone injections or medications to reduce inflammation of the fluid surrounding the joint.  In certain long-term cases, OSI will perform one of a selection of advanced minimally invasive procedures to eliminate pain and restore range of motion.

A trademark procedure is OSI’s approach to anterior hip replacement, which is performed on a specially designed table, allowing surgeons the optimal position to access the joint and spare muscle and tissue. OSI is proud to be one of a select few hospitals that offers the hana surgical table. Available at both Abington Memorial and Lansdale hospitals, this new technology works with the surgeon. “We don’t move the patient; we move the table,” Dr. Star says. “This minimizes trauma beneath the skin by precise patient positioning not possible with conventional tables.”

Hip replacement is not the only option for patients. For younger, more active adults suffering with osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis, hip resurfacing is one of the latest advancements—and OSI is among the select locations nationwide to perform it. It can be the perfect solution, as it factors in patients’ pain, loss of function, age, gender and overall health in the treatment plan.

These are just a few of the new developments advancing minimally invasive best practices. Under Dr. Star’s guidance, OSI successfully discontinued the use of post-operative catheters to reduce urinary-tract infections. “We have also implemented the use of rapid mobilization therapy. With continuous passive motion in place of intermittent mobilization, we are able to lessen the likelihood of blood clots,” he explains.

From Head to Toe
According to Dr. Star, “Age is only one contributing factor, and poor joints result from any number of reasons. The increase in young athletes, active lifestyles and obesity has led to more cases.” Still other causes include rheumatoid arthritis and traumatic injuries.  No matter the reason, patients have one thing in come: an unrelenting desire to get moving again.

Worn joints impact more than the hip. At OSI, specialists also provide expert care to patients with knee, shoulder, hand and spine conditions using the most advanced minimally invasive techniques.  One such example is in total and partial knee replacements. “Until recently, most reconstructive knee procedures were total knee replacements, using conventional, longer incisions to replace the entire joint with artificial implants,” Dr. Star says. “Today, we are able to use innovative reconstructive techniques and arthroscopic surgery to diagnose and repair certain conditions.”

The same holds true for the utilization in minimally invasive spine procedures. OSI sets itself apart from other hospitals with leading-edge therapeutic interventions. “We take a very conservative approach,” says Dr. Star. The neurosurgeons and orthopaedic spine surgeons have advanced expertise in artificial disc replacement, fusion procedures, vertebroplasty and all facets of spine care. “As part of our treatment, we work alongside physiatrists and pain-management specialists to provide all-around care.”

The Difference is in Care
Abington Health is well recognized for its high quality and comprehensive continuum of care. A five-tiered approach includes outpatient services, pre-operative care, patient education, thorough evaluation and in-hospital treatment from admissions to post-treatment therapy.

Abington Memorial Hospital’s and Lansdale Hospital’s hip and knee replacement track record has earned them Gold Seal of Approval from The Joint Commission. The Abington Memorial Hospital location has also been designated as a Blue Distinction Center at as part of Blue Cross Blue Shield’s Blue Distinction Program for hip and knee and spine surgery.

The commitment to patient care was further affirmed in June 2012 when Lansdale Hospital achieved the Pathway to Excellence designation from the American Nurses Credentialing Center. This recognition has been received by only 81 facilities across the country. Specifically, Lansdale Hospital is one of two in Pennsylvania and the only facility in the Delaware Valley given such a designation. Nancy G. Hesse, R.N., chief nursing officer, says she is “extremely proud of our nursing staff. Every day I hear examples of their practice excellence and the positive impact it has on our patients’ experiences and their outcomes.”

For those at Lansdale Hospital, the Pathway to Excellence designation shows its commitment to nurses, their importance in defining practices and the value placed on their contributions in the workplace. The benefits, which include improved satisfaction, teamwork and quality, directly translate to patient care. 

Dr. Star goes on to say that, when it comes to care, “the little things really make a difference. With this in mind, we continue to raise the bar.”

Lansdale Hospital
100 Medical Campus Drive  
Lansdale, PA 19446

Abington Memorial Hospital
1200 Old York Road
Abington, PA 19001