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June 09, 2016

Recent patients point to an attentive staff and immediate return to home as major advantages

Surgical Center StaffDANBURY, CT – For decades, word of mouth advice has been important in the health care field, where people advise family and friends on their personal experiences, both good and bad, about practitioners, procedures, and results. That communication has been a key influence for many years on how people choose their care. So when the Western Connecticut Orthopedic Surgical Center’s (WCOSC) Total Joint patients stepped forward to talk about WCOSC, their voices were especially audible and noteworthy.

Opened in September of 2014, WCOSC is the first outpatient center of its kind in the region, offering patients a state-of-the-art facility, a highly trained and qualified staff, access to top surgeons, and, most importantly, the ability to go home to recover right after total joint surgery. “Our surgical center is specifically designed to meet the needs of patients who want to recuperate in their own homes,” says administrator Diane Heelan.

Today’s new healthcare model demands shorter hospital stays and cost-conscious care.  For patients who meet the qualifications to have total joint surgery on an outpatient basis, WCOSC is an important new offering in the Danbury area. The following patients were all part of the total joint replacement program at WCOSC, one of the only centers in our area providing this type of care.

Phil Ruckel had a total hip replacement at WCOSC in January and was amazed at the personal approach of the entire team at the center.  “I was most impressed that all of my questions were answered prior to surgery,” says Mr. Ruckel, a Brookfield resident. “The nurses, staff and my surgeon, total joint specialist Dr. John Dunleavy, motivated me with positive, encouraging attitude and an attentive style that built my own confidence which I believe really contributed to my quicker than expected progress.”

“WCOSC’s staff set up my home care through the Ridgefield Visiting Nurse Association (RVNA) which has also been a godsend,” he continues.  “Their Occupational Therapist came to the house the week before my surgery and evaluated what changes I would need to make in the house to make my recuperation easier.  Small daily things, like getting in and out of the bathtub, or getting my socks on or off, were planned out and practiced. Then, the visiting nurse arrived at my home about an hour after I did following my surgery.  That was such a comfort.  From that moment, I was on my way.”

Danbury resident, Bill Dempsey, a total shoulder replacement patient, has recovered from more medical emergencies than he would like to mention.  “In 2001, I fell from a tree and broke 20 bones.  I am more knowledgeable than most people about healing from orthopedic trauma,” continued Mr. Dempsey.  “I absolutely loved going home after this replacement surgery at WCOSC.  The center’s staff makes you feel at home from the minute they are introduced and begin to plan out your surgery.”

However, one of the most significant comments Mr. Dempsey shared was about post-surgical medication. “After my fall from the tree, I went through an enormous amount of surgery, spent many nights in the hospital, and was on a crazy amount of pain medication.  Having my recent shoulder replacement done on an outpatient basis allowed me to have very minimal medication, and I felt so much better almost immediately after my surgery. I am a huge fan of the practice, these doctors, and now of the surgical center.  I won’t go anywhere else,” raves Mr. Dempsey.

Gary Furtak, of New Fairfield, was the very first total joint surgical patient at the center.  As a landscaper, Mr. Furtak depends on his musculoskeletal system to handle a wide range of tasks, counting on his muscle strength to use the larger equipment needed for his job. He refers to his full knee replacement, performed by Dr. Robert Deveney, as one of his smoothest medical experiences ever . “If I had to rate my experience at WCOSC, out of 5 I would give it a 5+,” says Mr. Furtak. “I am overwhelmed with the attention I received at WCOSC. The nurses, staff and Dr. Deveney’s office not only prepared me extremely well prior to surgery, they have responded promptly to any question I have had since.”

Mr. Furtak’s wife, Marilyn, has been a nurse for over 31 years and was equally impressed with the attention, information and follow up care. She explains, “Gary was cleared to return to work in 28 days, and I attribute his speedy recovery not only to Dr. Deveney’s skill level, but to the support system provided by the nursing staff, immediate post-surgical home visits by the RVNA, follow up phone calls and subsequent therapy with David Jewell of Danbury Orthopedics Physical Therapy.” Mr. Furtak, who is becoming emotional about his experience, says with a tear in his eye, “I wouldn’t have changed anything.”

Police officer Robin Montgomery underwent a right total shoulder with Dr. Ross Henshaw in February  in order to continue his active lifestyle. “I didn’t hesitate as I have utmost confidence in Dr. Henshaw, and was delighted to learn that I could do the surgery on an outpatient basis at the new state-of-the-art surgical center,” says Mr. Montgomery.  He adds, “At every turn, the staff has responded to what I needed. I can’t recommend them enough.”


About Western Connecticut Orthopedic Surgical Center:

Western Connecticut Orthopedic Surgical Center (WCOSC) opened in 2014 to offer the highest quality, state-of-the-art orthopedic surgery on an ambulatory basis to the community. The outpatient facility offers the most advanced technology to assist orthopedic surgeons with routine and complex procedures. The surgical team includes physicians from OrthoConnecticut and Connecticut Neck & Back Specialists. For more information about the center and the surgical team, please visit www.wcosc.org or call 203.791.9557.


Press contact:
Kate Fitzpatrick
Brandmark Studios, brandmarkstudios.com
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May 01, 2016

Story by Ross Henshaw, MD, Sports Medicine Specialist, Danbury Orthopedics

family runnersDANBURY, CT – As any runner will tell you, this simple sport is one of the most rewarding and convenient exercise activities. It’s a wonderfully efficient way to improve your health, except when it produces chronic, nagging injuries. So what’s the best way to safely enjoy a running program? Start smart, with a progressive training schedule that gradually builds the intensity and duration of your workouts.

What the Pros Say

Typically, a running coach or trainer will recommend increasing distances no more than 10% a week. If you have never been a runner, seek advice from friends, trainers or your local athletic store. There are also great resources online and in print. But if you have an underlying health condition or are new to exercise, make your first step a consultation with your physician to be sure it’s OK to start running. Orthopedically, running is a safe exercise for most people but there are exceptions, even among athletes. So if you have a history of orthopedic injury or joint pains, particularly those involving the legs or spine, seek the advice of an orthopedic surgeon.

While any form of exercise can cause or aggravate a preexisting injury, endurance sports generate typical injury patterns. Endurance sports by definition involve prolonged repetitive motion. While a soccer player may run 3-7 miles in a game, depending on position, he or she is rarely only running straight ahead at the same speed. But runners go straight ahead at a maintained speed, which means your hip, knee, ankle and arm motions are roughly the same for the duration of the exercise. Hills change the degree of motion and add more jarring forces.

The longer the duration and hillier the terrain, the more our joints are cycling and the more our tendons and ligaments are pulling and rubbing around our joints. When we start an endurance sport like running and build up too quickly, the abrupt increase in joint motion can lead to ‘overuse’ injuries.

The Top 5 Complaints

In my practice, the most common running injuries are hip bursitis, kneecap pain, shin splints, Achilles tendonitis and plantar fasciitis. Here’s a quick anatomy lesson:

Hip Bursitis – ‘Trochanteric Bursitis’ is an overuse injury caused by friction between the illiotibial tendon band and the hip bone. This large tendon travels over the bony prominence on the outside of the hip, goes all the way down to the leg and attaches just below the outer side of the knee. When we run, this band rubs back and forth over the outer hip bone; over time the friction creates inflammation. Our bodies have natural ‘cushions’ called ‘bursa’ that are designed to reduced this friction, but if they have not had time to adapt they can swell and hurt. (A related injury is ITB syndrome.)

Kneecap pain and Patella Tendonitis – Often grouped as ‘anterior knee pain’, this refers to pain in the front of the knee and is common among runners. The quadriceps muscle in the front of the thigh powers our ability to straighten the knee. It works by using the kneecap or ‘patella’ for leverage across the knee. This generates pressure and can cause the kneecap to become sore. It’s especially evident when people walk down stairs or inclines and is precipitated by excessive downhill running. The quadriceps muscle tapers to become a tendon that attaches to the kneecap and then to the shin bone (tibia) via the patella tendon. When strained, the quadriceps and patella tendons can also develop micro tears and become inflamed. Treatment includes rest, anti-inflammatories, strengthening exercises, cross training and progressing back to running while avoiding hills.

Shin Splints – Shin splints, or ‘posteromedial tibial stress syndrome’, can occur on one or both shins, but most commonly on the dominant leg depending on your stride. Pain originates at the lower third of the inner part of the shin just behind the bone. The pain is usually discrete and easily reproduced by pressing on the trigger point. This condition is caused by inflammation where the Soleus muscle in the calf attaches to the tibia. As the muscle helps runners with ‘pushing off’ it pulls on the attachment site, which may become inflamed and swollen. This pain usually hurts only when running, early or later in a run. Some people try to run through the pain, which worsens it so that even walking becomes painful. Treatment for this overuse is rest and cross training. Some people may be predisposed to shin splints because of running style or leg, ankle or foot alignment.

Achilles Tendonitis – The strong Achilles tendon is prone to inflammation when starting a running program, particularly on hilly terrain. Our calf muscle tapers off to become the Achilles tendon that inserts into the heel and powers the push-off of the running stride. Running uphill demands more stretch from the calf, forcing it to work harder. This can lead to micro tears of the small Achilles fibers. Micro tears do not become full tendon ruptures, but cause inflammation and swelling as the body tries to repair and regenerate the area. The usual treatment for this pain is rest, stretching, strengthening, cross-training and as the pain dissipates, a gradual return to running with limited hills.

Plantar Fasciitis – Dreaded heal pain! Its most common early symptom comes not with running, but with the morning’s first step. The plantar fascia is a tight band of tissue that supports the foot arch. It attaches to the heel and traverses across the sole, attaching broadly across the end of the foot. When we run the plantar fascia can become overstressed at the smaller attachment on the heel, especially in individuals with tight calf muscles. Initially, inflammation starts after the run and hurts upon standing after a period of inactivity. When the foot and ankle bend to stand flat, the fascia stretches and hurts. Best treatment is to recognize it early and rest, cross train and take an anti-inflammatory. More severe cases may require calf stretching, night splints that keep the plantar fascia stretched, and heel pads.

Pain is a warning!

While it sounds like a lot can go wrong, most of us can enjoy running without ever suffering from these common maladies. As a sports medicine specialist, my best advice is to recognize symptoms early and not ignore the pain. Early recognition and treatment generally lead to a quicker recovery. I also recommend cross training. Even if you prefer running as your primary aerobic exercise, you’ll benefit by incorporating other forms of conditioning such as biking, elliptical or swimming into your routine. If you pay attention to symptoms and mix it up, you can help avoid painful injuries due to repetitive overuse of the joints … and stay active.

Accidents happen

Should an unexpected injury occur, runners in the region can access the orthopedic urgent care service offered at Danbury Orthopedics. OrthoCare Express, the walk-in, orthopedic emergency treatment center, is open 7 days a week in the heart of downtown Danbury, CT at 2 Riverview Drive in Danbury. The Center is staffed by fellowship trained orthopedic surgeons and highly trained Physician Assistants, and is open weekdays from 8 am – 8 pm, and on weekends from 10 am – 3 pm. No appointment is necessary. Visit orthocareexpress.com or call 203.702.6675 for more information.

Dr. Henshaw news imageAbout Dr. Ross Henshaw:
Dr. Ross Henshaw is a fellowship-trained knee and shoulder orthopedic surgeon, who specializes in the treatment of sports-related injuries. He earned his medical degree from Columbia University and fellowship training at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City. Dr. Henshaw is highly sought by athletes for his skill in arthroscopic surgery – a minimally invasive approach offering less pain, small incisions, and quick recovery times. Dr. Henshaw's professional experience includes being part of the medical teams covering Yankee Stadium, The New York Mets, the U.S. Open Tennis Tournament, and the NCAA Division I Men's Lacrosse Tournament. He is a Top Doctor on the prestigious lists of U.S. News and World Report, Castle Connolly and Connecticut Magazine.

About Danbury Orthopedics:
Danbury Orthopedics is a multi-specialty practice staffed by leaders in orthopedic care since it first opened in 1954; the practice is a member of Western Connecticut Orthopedic Specialists, along with New Milford Orthopedics and Coastal Orthopedics, providing comprehensive care to the community. The practice’s Centers of Excellence provide integrated treatment, offering individualized and compassionate care by a team of specialists. The goal of the practice is to help patients regain mobility, lead active lives and attain optimal well-being. To make an appointment with any of the practice’s specialists, or to learn more about this procedure, or other outpatient procedures at Danbury Orthopedics, please call 203.797.1500.

Press contact:
Kate Fitzpatrick
Brandmark Studios
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

March 29, 2016

From left, Dr. Ross Henshaw, Dr. John Dunleavy and Dr. Robert Deveney, are surgeons in Danbury Orthopedics recently completed outpatient surgery facility.From left, Dr. Ross Henshaw, Dr. John Dunleavy and Dr. Robert Deveney, are surgeons in Danbury Orthopedics recently completed outpatient surgery facility.

The News-Times — Doctors at the practice recently completed their first outpatient total knee, hip and shoulder replacements, which were performed at the practice’s new surgical facility that opened last year at its 226 White Street, Danbury facility. The introduction of the new service, doctors say, was driven by patients.

“These days, more and more of the expense and the burden of medical care is being transferred to the patient,” said Dr. Robert Deveney, who recently performed both a total knee and a total hip replacement on an outpatient basis. “As a result, it’s our goal to provide the highest-quality care in the most cost-effective environment.”

By providing total joint replacement on an outpatient basis, patients can often save thousands of dollars they might have had to pay as part of an overnight stay at an area hospital. The patients also receive extensive post-operative care in their home as part of their program to ensure a successful outcome.

Deveney said the practice is working with the Ridgefield Visiting Nurses Association to provide additional care for their outpatient clients including a visit to the home prior to the procedure. A nurse and a physical therapist are also at the home upon the patient’s arrival. Nurses also make daily visits to the patient’s home for up to a week after the procedure.

Dr. John Dunleavy, who also recently completed a total knee replacement, said joint replacement for outpatients isn’t the right choice for everyone, and that doctors carefully select who is a best fit. Someone who has a significant heart issue, for example, wouldn’t be considered for an outpatient surgery.

“Of course, the most important factor is the patient’s interest in having the procedure performed on an outpatient basis,” he said.

Dunleavy added, however, that advances in technology have allowed outpatient services that weren’t available in the past.

“Because the technology has advanced so much in the past 10 years, including anesthesia techniques and the smaller incisions that are now necessary, these outpatient procedures are now a reality,” he said.

Deveney noted that several practices in the Midwest have been performing total joint replacements on an outpatient basis for several years, and the service is now catching on along the East Coast.

He added that patients are also much more knowledgeable about their procedures than in the past.

Dr. Ross Henshaw, center, is a surgeon in Danbury Orthopedics recently completed outpatient surgery facility.Dr. Ross Henshaw, center, is a surgeon in Danbury Orthopedics recently completed outpatient surgery facility.

“In the past we would have taken a lot of time explaining the procedure itself,” Deveney said. “But these days people do much of their own research online and are already well informed. When they get to us, they usually have a number of questions including the length of the recovery time and when they can return to work. Much of these changes have really been driven by patient demand.”

While only a small percentage of the practice’s patients are eligible for the outpatient services, Dunleavy said that number will only increase as the program gains traction.

“Our experience so far is mirroring what other practices have seen in the Midwest,” he said. “They started with a select group of patients and began expanding the services out from there.”

Danbury Orthopedics completed the surgical center last year as part of a $5 million renovation of the facility.

February 20, 2016

Baseball Clinic Celebrates Max RosenfieldWe are pleased to support the Max Michael Rosenfield Foundation, dedicated to supporting a range of children’s activities and spread kindness and goodwill.

A baseball clinic to support the Max Michael Rosenfield Foundation will be held on Saturday Feb. 20 at the Danbury Sports Dome. Rosenfield, 7, died in 2012 and was an avid baseball fan, especially the Boston Red Sox.

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February 01, 2016

Norwalk surgeon first in Fairfield County to use custom-fitted knee prosthetics

By FRANCIS CARR Jr., Hour Staff Writer
Published 1:15 pm, Monday, February 1, 2016

Dr. Michael Lynch news image

NORWALK -- A Norwalk Hospital orthopedic surgeon is the first in Fairfield County to implement a new, hi-tech knee replacement procedure.

Working with a company called ConforMIS, Dr. Michael Lynch of the Norwalk Hospital Joint Replacement Center has begun offering a new type of knee replacement that uses a 3D printer to create femoral and tibial implants that are unique for each patient.

A standard knee replacement procedure, according to Lynch, usually involves reshaping the ends of a patient's femur and tibia so that the bones will fit one of several sizes of pre-made knee prosthetics.

Occasionally, there are problems with a one-size-fits-all prosthesis, Lynch said.

"If it overhangs (the knee bones), then a tendon might rub up against it," for example, Lynch told The Hour.

By contrast, a custom-fitted knee prosthetic could have a notch cut into it to avoid contact with the tendon, Lynch added.

In the new procedure, a CAT scan of the patient's knee is fed by ConforMIS into a 3D printer which fabricates a nylon mold that is then used to cast a metal prosthetic for the patient.

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