Vail-Summit Orthopaedics shows off new-age equipment
SUMMIT COUNTY – Orthopaedic surgeon Peter Janes often refers to Vail-Summit Orthopaedics as the lower profile group. But its new equipment and patient care hardly fits that description.”We work hard, we take good care of our patients, and we tend to keep a low profile,” Janes said.The group provides personal attention and sees patients’ injuries through until they complete treatment, Janes said. They don’t overschedule, so patients don’t have to wait long, and doctors can still squeeze in emergencies. Plus, Vail-Summit Orthopaedics’ new office in Frisco almost doubles the size of the old Frisco clinic. It has 14 exam rooms with nine full-time physicians and eight physician assistants.The technological edge
One technology that helps patient flow is a new digital X-ray machine that delivers pictures to doctors – and patients’ exam rooms – in 6 to 8 minutes, rather than the 37 minutes traditional X-ray plates took to develop, said Chip Webb, CEO. Though 30 minutes doesn’t sound like a lot, it makes a difference during a full day of seeing patients. Doctors can call up the images on computers in the exam rooms, as well as from remote places, such as their homes, over a secure line.General Electric built the X-ray specifically for orthopaedic offices. It looks almost like a mechanical octopus, only the “tentacles” are attached to the ceiling and allow doctors to move the compact X-ray machine into a multitude of positions to obtain the most accurate shots of a injured body part. It moves circularly, horizontally and vertically, while a floating table, which patients lie on, moves around to further capture the best angles to take a picture. With digital images, doctors can zoom in and out and change brightness and contrast, whereas with traditional X-rays, if the image was too light, technicians had to reshoot, which meant more radiation for patients.So does going digital mean a more accurate diagnosis?”Oh, no question,” Webb said. “It’s almost as clear as an MRI.”And for even more crisp images, a state-of-the-art General Electric MRI machine delivers the highest quality imaging doctors can get, which also allows for better diagnosis, Webb said. Vail-Summit Orthopaedics is the only orthopaedic group in Summit and the Vail Valley with such an MRI. Hospitals have them, but the service is more expensive.
The 1.5 Tesla MRI machine, with its strong magnetics, has virtually removed exploratory surgery, Webb said. The MRI shows “beautiful, crisp images” of cartilage, meniscus, individual nerves that may be pressing on bones, and even bone bruises, which indicates more severe damage to a specific area, said Karla Revere, a 19-year radiologic technologist. The images give surgeons a blueprint, she said. Or, to put it a little more crudely (remember, she’s been at this for 19 years), “you start seeing a black-and-white rendition (as) if you chainsawed open the body and looked,” she said.Some local dentists even refer patients to the orthopaedic office to get an MRI of patients’ jaws, and doctors sometimes send patients over for a brain scan. The new orthopaedic equipment also allows surgeons to treat large fractures with plates and screws.”With the technology and expansion, we can offer a lot more to people,” Webb said.A team of specialistsEach physician at Vail-Summit Orthopaedics has a speciality. For example, Janes specializes in complex hand and wrist injuries. He views injuries as a normal part of being an athlete and strives to help patients find other activities to keep them mentally and physically involved until they recover. He also encourages them to recognize they may feel depressed, so mobilizing a support network is helpful.
Though Janes has practiced for more than 20 years, not a week goes by where he doesn’t see something new, he said. Continuing education keeps him up-to-date, and now the state-of-art office elevates everyone’s work, he said.Dr. Matt Buchanan is the only full-time foot and ankle specialist practicing between the Front Range and Salt Lake City, Utah. In fact, a foot and ankle focus is the latest subspecialty in orthopaedics.”People who have painful feet and ankles are miserable, and the more we understand about that the better,” Buchanan said.Before he resorts to surgery, he tries bracing, strengthening, rest and physical therapy. Often, approaches other than surgery can help patients considerably, he said.Similar to his colleagues, he takes as much time as a patient needs. He can relate to what patients go through with injuries because he has suffered a femur fracture and a broken hand and forehand.”I love all the things that bring people to the mountains – hiking, mountain biking – so when they’re telling me they want to get back out, I understand,” Buchanan said. “I really love the people. They’re so active and so motivated and unbelievably healthy.”
Dr. Todd Peters joined the group in 2001; his interest lies in treating patients with the latest and most minimally invasive treatments, both surgical and nonsurgical. His extensive training in cutting-edge spine and total joint surgery makes him a national leader in spine surgery techniques.Dr. Peters works closely with Scott Raub, who specializes in nonsurgical spine treatment, which allows Vail-Summit Orthopaedics to offer a full range of spine services.Dr. Terrell Joseph is a newcomer to the group. He has advanced training in sports medicine and hand and wrist injuries.Other orthopaedic surgeons in the group include Dr. Paul Abbott, Dr. John Gottlieb, Dr. Lonnie Chipman and Dr. Rick Cunningham. Abbott has focused on mostly shoulders in recent years, while Gottlieb’s specialty is ACL repair. Chipman treats a variety of knee problems, but he especially enjoys the challenge of addressing more complex injuries. Cunningham is fellowship trained in treating sports injuries, mostly knees and shoulders.Vail-Summit Orthopaedics also has offices in Edwards, Vail and Eagle.
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