Questions and Answers with Dr. Albert Reff:
Dr. Reff, let’s go back to something you said earlier. You claim that your office can provide the best orthopaedic care in the South Bay area. What makes that possible? Can you elaborate?
It has been quite few a years now, but I can say that there has never been a more exciting time than right now to be practicing orthopaedic medicine. Years ago, I decided to become an orthopaedic surgeon for one reason...and this may be a cliche, but I wanted to help people. It can be extremely frustrating to be sidelined in life by an injury, arthritis, other surgery, age, or other musculoskeletal problems and in many of those situations orthopaedic medicine can play a major role in getting people back to work, back to participating in an activity they love, or just simply walking again.
I take a tremendous amount of pride and get a tremendous amount of satisfaction in playing a part in that healing process. Because of some unique systems that we have put in place in our office, we feel very confident that we can provide the best orthopaedic care in the South Bay area. On our web site and on our literature we talk about “trust” and how crucial it is in our relationship with our patients. We firmly believe that without “trust” there can be no meaningful doctor/patient relationship and we spend every working minute with the expressed purpose of gaining our patients’ trust.
During your career, what changes have you seen in the orthopaedic field and what might those changes mean, not only to your patients, but to your practice, and orthopaedic medicine in general?
The world of technology has changed our lives. We see that everywhere we look and medicine is no exception. What we were doing in orthopaedics 40 years ago now seems pretty crude by today’s standards. But we did the best we could do with the tools and knowledge that was available at the time. When I began practicing we didn’t have the wonderful diagnostic tools we now have to help us “see” a problem. We didn’t have tools like computer-assisted systems to help us in the actual surgical processes. And, there have been great strides made in the quality and durability of joint replacement components. These innovations along with improved orthopaedic surgical procedures are paying off in better patient care in terms of less invasive surgeries, better pain management, and shortened recovery periods. It is truly exciting to see what is happening and I believe we are on the threshold of even more exciting things to come.
It’s easy to see how your unique approach would have very positive ramifications for your patients, but what have the effects been on your practice and what are some of the effects that we might see in medicine in general if more practices and hospitals start to adopt these procedures that you have been talking about?
These new procedures have had a dramatic effect on our practice in several ways. Since these processes rely on a patient-centered, team-based system, we have become more efficient and more effective in our ability to treat our patients. This in turn has been a source of pride for us and has made us a more cohesive unit. Doing a good job and being on the leading edge of your chosen profession is always satisfying. Although maintaining a private practice is a hefty challenge these days, our efficiencies have helped us deal more effectively with some of those challenges including reducing errors and complications and reducing hospital lengths of stay translating into lower costs for all involved.
On a larger scale, I believe every medical practice, large or small, and every hospital could reap benefits from adopting similar practices. It’s not going to solve this country’s health care crisis by any means but every little bit helps in the quest for consistent reproducible quality and better outcomes.
Are there options to surgery for patients with arthritis in their hip, knee, or shoulder?
In many case there are. That’s depends on the individual. Surgery is always the last option and we exhaust all other treatments before recommending surgery. Our goal is to get our patients back to normal as soon as possible with as little expense and discomfort as possible.
Frequently medications, joint injections, and/or physical therapy often can be enough to help a patient avoid surgery.