Have you been injured on your job? Do you have a workers compensation injury? Or maybe you are a weekend warrior or student athlete that went left when you should have gone to the right, and now you are preparing for an upcoming orthopedic surgery. If so, and you live in the greater mid south region of Memphis, you might also be thinking about packing your comfy clothes, regular medications, insurance cards and important documents for the big surgery day.
But this is only part of the surgery preparation equation. Dr. John Lochemes of Titan Orthopedics, an award-winning orthopedic clinic in Memphis, TN says that “being prepared for orthopedic surgery is like solving a good mystery”. Meaning that, all of the reasons for a patient's pain and discomfort have to be identified and processed through the HUMAN BRAIN AI and then a conclusion is made. Even in 2023, a doctor's “human processor” is still superior to AI.
This is not always as simple and straightforward as one would think. Dr. Lochemes says that patients often come to him saying that they NEED surgery after having been seen by other medical professions, having an MRI, or being assessed by (AI) Artificial Intelligence available for data collection, processing and evaluation. These are all important and effective ways to help identify POSSIBLE causes and reasons for pain, orthopedic limitations, and discomfort. Patients may be ELIGIBLE for surgery but benefits have to be offset by risks.
Patients will frequently be requested on forms to check boxes on pages of questions about their condition. These questions are designed as a fact finding tool to get the most amount of information from a patient in the least amount of time. Diagnostic tools such as MRI’s (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) give amazing pictures below the skin and can even come with diagnostic surgical recommendations. Patients also have many opportunities to get multiple opinions from medical professionals with varying points of view.
Complacency can creep into the equation as well. Why do today, what can be put off till tomorrow? After all, surgery is a big commitment and if you can still keep moving and performing daily tasks – then maybe you can decide to wait a little longer. This type of approach usually works until it doesn't. Meaning that at some point procrastination gets the best of the situation and what started out as a manageable disability turns into disabling.
Given all the different options available (ex. telemedicine, teladoc, ortho express, virtual doc etc…) for a person to be seen and treated for shoulder, knee, ankle, and foot pain, it can be quite common to become overwhelmed with analysis paralysis. After all, orthopedic surgeons spend over 10 years after high school studying medicine and then continue their education as new technology and research evolve. This can easily leave the rest of us dazed and confused as we navigate decisions for orthopedic surgery.
Take for example the results of an MRI of your knee. It is very common for people over 30 years old to experience knee pain. With the availability of high quality medical facilities and MRI machines in the greater Memphis Metro area, people are able to get a lot of diagnostic anatomical information.
If an MRI identifies a torn meniscus, it will most likely also recommend surgical repair. But what if you also have arthritis, and the truth is that the most effective treatment to lessen knee pain, is to address and treat the arthritis rather than have surgery for a torn meniscus? Does this mean that the MRI reported an error in diagnosis? Not exactly, a tear may exist to whatever extent…but a doctor specializing in knee surgery procedures will know the difference.
But most importantly, says Dr. Lochemes, “is that a patient's personal description of the problem is well understood by the orthopedic physician that is going to do the surgery and put it into medical terms to filter it through a proper medical diagnosis. This process sets the foundation for making effective surgical decisions. In other words, deciding if a surgery is necessary and if so, what surgery to perform.
Here is a brief diagnostic checklist that is used by Dr. Lochemes for each of his patients.
- Truly listen to the patent and hear what they are saying…
- Review prior medical records and diagnostic results
- Analyze, process and filter patient data according to over 30 years of orthopedic care and award-winning surgical experience
- Make medical recommendations as necessary for patient comfort and relief
If orthopedic surgery is recommended as a treatment and solution, for shoulder, knee, ankle, or foot pain at Titan Orthopedics in East Memphis, Dr. Lochemes encourages frequent and easily scheduled FREE post surgery appointments. This is because Dr. Lochemes, “likes to keep small things small”. This means that he likes his patients to let him know about any concern or problem while it is small so that he can address and solve it quickly to keep it small. Issues or concerns that are ignored can easily turn into big problems later on. Physical therapist Chris M. Valas, PT, DPT offers amazing in-house and doctor coordinated, post-surgery physical therapy to get you back up and going again. Call Titan Orthopedics at (901) 255-6532 or request your appointment online.
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