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NEWS | Feb. 6, 2013

Growing to meet your needs: Langley Orthopedics is 'bad to the bone'

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

Editor's Note: This story is part of a series highlighting the ongoing changes at U.S. Air Force Hospital Langley.

The shrill whine of the saw filled the room, as a latex-gloved hand held the tool tightly, preparing to make the first cut.

Nothing could be heard over the sound of the blade as the technician held the man's arm firmly and continued to cut. When the work was done, the technician lay the saw aside, and a loud, cracking noise abruptly replaced a momentary silence.

A few moments later, the patient left the Orthopedic Clinic, located inside the Multispecialty Surgical Clinic at U.S. Air Force Hospital Langley at Langley Air Force Base, Va., relieved his time wearing a cast was over.

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, orthopedic complaints top the reasons patients seek medical care, and orthopedic injuries are responsible for more than 7 million hospitalizations each year.

"The Orthopedic Clinic offers comprehensive care," said Dr. [Maj.] Michael Tompkins, 633rd Surgical Operations Squadron orthopedic surgeon. "We have a group of highly trained professionals to treat a wide variety of orthopedic cases."

The Orthopedic Surgery Clinic boasts a staff of four orthopedic surgeons, one podiatrist, and two physician's assistants who provide a wealth of knowledge to offer a wide range of services, including treatment of sports-related injuries, joint replacements and acute musculoskeletal care to all members of the Joint Base Langley-Eustis community.

While the clinic assists between 7,500 and 10,000 patients per year, it focuses on personalized care and puts emphasis on a patient-centric approach to medicine.

The clinic also offers cutting-edge facilities and care to patients. As a testament to this, construction of a new in-house radiology suite is set to be complete in the near future. The new suite will give the orthopedic patients a more seamless transition, negating the need to leave the Multispecialty Clinic while receiving care, ultimately reducing wait times.

"The new facility offers clinic space which allows providers to adequately assess and treat patients," said Dr. [Maj.] Michael Laidlaw, 633rd Surgical Operations Squadron Director of Orthopedic Services. "We know everyone's time is precious, so we try to treat patients in a timely manner while giving them the best care possible."

The Multispecialty Surgical clinic not only provides an efficient space to treat patients, but it also fosters a unique environment for medical providers to work closely with professionals in other specialties to ensure patients' needs are met in an efficient, thorough manner.

"This clinic is the first of its kind in the Air Force," said Laidlaw. "It affords medical professionals the ability to call on colleges in other sub-specialties to provide personal, comprehensive care for each patient."

Even while sharing space with other specialties, the clinic offers more room for orthopedic professionals to triage and treat patients, including a new cast room featuring five beds to tend to acute orthopedic injuries in a timely fashion.

"You do have a choice when it comes to your health care," said Laidlaw. "The new Multispecialty Surgical Clinic not only gives patients the opportunity to receive high-quality care, but to be treated in an environment that puts the patient first."