December 19, 2019
U.S. Navy Orthopaedic surgeons from around the world presented their cutting edge research regarding musculoskeletal trauma care at the 61st Annual meeting of the Society of Military Orthopaedic Surgeons in West Palm Beach, December 17-20.
Research was offered in the form of panel discussions, stand-alone presentations and poster sessions and included a variety of topics from specific surgical practices to pain management strategies. In general, the research presented showcased how military medicine is working to find ways to support patient recovery speed and efficiency to ensure readiness of our forces through medical power.
One poster session, presented by Lt. Aaron Olsen, focused on using the large data set available in the TRICARE system to take a look at pre-surgery indicators for total knee replacements in patients under 50 years old. His research pointed to an interesting correlation between a prior rupture of the ACL as an indicator of a need for knee replacement before age 50.
“When a young soldier, sailor, Airman or Marine comes in and needs a ACL reconstruction, you can start to have the discussion of the future of their knee early and possibly save them from having to go through a full knee replacement later,” said Olsen. “The goal of this research is to give both the military physician and the service member a more comprehensive understanding of what happens after an ACL reconstruction.”
Presenting during a general session panel, Lt. Cmdr. Marvin Dingle, reported his findings that a specific type of wrist surgery, called open dorsal wrist ganglia (DWG) excision, was confirmed to be effective in returning service members ability to conduct physical activities specific to the Navy and Marine Corps.
Another poster session, presented by Lt. Stephanie Price, follows the results of a new technique for repair to ankle tendons being utilized at Naval Medical Center San Diego utilizing graft material. The method is not currently discussed in the Orthopaedic literature and the results so far are promising and could lead to a new standard of practice and increased readiness among surgeons and better outcomes for patients.
“The idea behind this is that there is a lot of literature that looks at different types of reconstruction and this offers another type of reconstruction,” said Price. “The nice aspect about this is the learning curve for surgeons is lower, it’s a single bone tunnel, so you get a lot of bang for your buck.” The Society of Military Orthopaedic Surgeons is a forum for the exchange of medical knowledge as it relates to the practice of Orthopaedic surgery in the military. The annual meeting offers an opportunity for sharing scientific research, discussion of best practices and a look at the future of military medicine.