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NEWS | March 25, 2013

MCAHC orthopedic surgeons care for military ‘family’

By Airman 1st Class R. Alex Durbin 633rd Air Base Wing Public Affairs

The rhythmic beeps from the Electrocardiogram machine reverberated off the high ceilings as medical professionals worked diligently. The surgeon moved the laparoscopic scope and shaver skillfully, focusing intently on the images displayed on the high-definition screen.

Less than 20 minutes later, the orthopedic surgeon removed the tools from the patient's knee and stitched the two small incisions closed.

With the procedure complete, the patient's recovery began. This new beginning would not have been possible without the skilled orthopedic surgeons at Fort Eustis' McDonald Army Health Center.

Orthopedics is the branch of medicine focused on conditions involving the musculoskeletal system. Orthopedic surgeons use both surgical and nonsurgical means to treat musculoskeletal trauma, sports-related injuries, degenerative diseases, infections, tumors and congenital disorders.

According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, one in seven Americans suffer from an orthopedic impairment, making orthopedic complaints the top reason patients seek medical care.

The orthopedic center is a referral based, sub-specialty clinic that boasts three orthopedic surgeons and two physician assistants that provide years of knowledge and experience. The clinic treats roughly 100 patients daily and performs 15 surgeries weekly, focusing on personalized, in-depth care.

"Military medicine allows us to give our patients exactly what they need," said Dr. [Maj.] Todd Feathers, McAHC orthopedic surgeon. "Our doctors do what is best for the patient, not what's best for the bottom line."

A new operating room is set to open April 26, and will increase the amount of surgeries each department will be able to offer. The new OR will be equipped with the latest technology to provide complete, comprehensive care.

"The new operating room with be an important addition to our institution," said Dr. [Maj.] Rasel Rana, Orthopedic Clinic chief. "It will allow us to accommodate and treat more complex and chronic cases, ultimately expediting overall patient care."

With a young, active population, the orthopedic surgeons are well-equipped to treat sports-related injuries, but they strive to care for all patients that can take advantage of their services.

"Not everyone knows we're here," Rana said. "Our job is to take care of our Service members and get them back to their mission, but we're here for all warriors, past and present."

To ensure their skills stay up to scratch, the doctors at the clinic plan to "take call," or perform procedures, at local civilian treatment facilities to work with cases they do not often see at MCAHC.

"It's an exciting time for us; it's amazing to be part of a growing hospital," said Rana. "We are committed to use our new capabilities to care of our patients just like they're our family."