May 1999 has been proclaimed National Arthritis Month in the United States. At this occasion, America's Health Network announced the webcast of a live hip-replacement surgery on May 18th, as part of Arthritis Action Day. The procedure, to be performed by Dr. Scott Oliver at Jordan Hospital, Plymouth, Massachusetts, would enable Richard Shurtleff, 69, to once again walk without the need for crutches. The webcast has been the first Massachusetts surgery live on the Internet for public viewing.
Hip arthritis is a painful and frustrating condition that occurs in many people, according to Dr. Oliver. Thanks to the advancements which were made in treating hip arthritis over the past 30 years, a lot of patients now have returned to full activities after hip replacement surgery. Currently, thousands of people who suffer from osteoarthritis and similar debilitating conditions may benefit from hip replacement surgery, as stated by J. Tod Fetherling, president of America's Health Network. As a matter of fact, the webcast was meant to educate the public about their options.
Especially for Arthritis Action Day, a wide variety of Web sites has offered information and resources about arthritis. In this regard, the Action Day On-Line Partnership, created by the Arthritis Foundation and America's Health Network, has provided a large number of moderated chats, news and information reports on arthritis issues ranging from new medication to living with arthritis.
Osteoarthritis, probably the most common joint disorder in the world, affects approximately 16 million people. It is sometimes referred to as degenerative arthritis since it leads to the "wearing out" of both cartilage and bone, which can result in significant pain and stiffness. Many patients with osteoarthritis are often unable to perform normal activities such as walking, bending, or even getting dressed.
During the live surgery, the damaged hip joint ball and socket were removed and replaced with a metal and plastic socket and metal ball with a shaft that extends within the marrow of the thigh bone. With a proper physical therapy programme, most patients are able to begin resuming their daily activities, pain-free, as soon as three weeks after their operation. More than 150.000 hip replacements are performed every year.
Howmedica Osteonics, a global leader in the orthopaedic industry, has been sponsoring the webcast hip replacement procedure, and provided the total hip replacement system. Howmedica Osteonics is dedicated to the research, development, and manufacturing of innovative products such as total hip, knee, upper extremity, trauma and spinal systems to help people around the world enjoy healthier and more productive lives.
Dr. Oliver is a board certified orthopaedic surgeon, and is at present one of two partners at Plymouth Bay Orthopaedic Associates in Duxbury. He has served as president of the medical staff at the Jordan Hospital in Plymouth, and is currently on the board of directors of the Massachusetts Orthopaedic Association. Founded in 1901, Jordan Hospital is a full service, acute care community hospital. The Jordan Hospital serves the residents of Plymouth County, South Shore and the upper Cape region.