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Orthopedic Surgeon Dr. Jonathan Oheb Talks Preventative Care, Microvascular Surgery and Patient Recovery Success

By David Moore

At the North Valley Orthopedic Institute, Dr. Jonathan Oheb is busily working with the latest methods of orthopedic care. A graduate of SUNY Upstate Medical University, he came to orthopedic surgery because of its emphasis on compassion and performance.

In this enlightening interview, he reveals success stories like the near total recovery of a motorcycle accident patient and how he has managed to treat hundreds of people suffering with Carpal Tunnel syndrome. Then we get into the specific details of microvascular surgery as well as his tips for preventing serious injury from sports and risk-taking activity. Anyone interested in alleviating pain associated with the body should read on.

Dr. Jonathan Oheb - Orthopedic Surgeon

As an orthopedic surgeon, what type of patients do you treat and what are their common symptoms or injuries?

As an orthopedic surgeon I treat all types of patients, no matter their age. I focus on the diagnosis, care and treatment of patients with disorders of their bones, joints, muscles, ligaments, tendons, and nerves. The majority of my patients present symptoms of pain, decreased range of motion or recent inability to perform their usual work and leisure activities.

Your specialty is hand surgery, what made you choose that particular area?

Hand surgery is a unique field within orthopedic surgery that allows the surgeon to treat a wide variety of ailments of the hand and upper extremity. It includes the investigation, preservation and restoration by both conservative and surgical means the structures of the hand and upper extremity affecting both form and function. The wide scope of issues patients present with as well as the intricate nature of hand surgery that attracted me to the specialty.

You were inspired to take on Orthopedic surgery because of the mixture of compassion, precision, physical maneuverability, and finesse the field required. Is there a specific story you can share that illustrates these concepts?

A recent trauma patient that I treated after a motorcycle accident suffered a complex fracture of his distal humerus, an open elbow injury, radial and ulnar nerve injury, and an elbow ligament injury. Needless to say, after his traumatic experience he required the repair and reconstruction of multiple injuries. First, he needed a larger operative fixation of his bone with plate and screws and the repair of his ruptured triceps tendon. Then, there were smaller surgeries dealing with nerve dissection and ligament repair/reconstruction.

The four principles mentioned were all at play in helping the patient successfully recover. The process of nerve dissection and ligament repair requires increasingly precise technique. After recovery, compassion is required to keep the patient focused and motivated to continue to work to heal. Physical maneuverability is necessary to develop a treatment plan that is tailored to the patient's injury. Finally, finesse with the fine details of the procedures makes all of the difference for a successful outcome. In this patient's case, it was a near total recovery.

Can you share some success stories of patients you've worked with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome or other associated diseases?

Over the course of my career and training I have treated hundreds of patient with carpal and cubital tunnel syndrome both of which involve nerve entrapment and symptoms of pain, numbness, tingling, weakness. After a thorough preoperative exam and evaluation once the decision is made to operate the patients have over 95% success rate.

What is Microvascular Surgery and when is it most useful?

Microvascular surgery is the use of an operative microscope to repair arteries, veins, nerves, often only 3-5mm in diameter. It is frequently used in the repair of these structures in the hand after a laceration, partial amputation, or full amputation of the fingers where a replantation procedure is performed.

Many weekend warriors seem to injure themselves, what should people avoid or look out for?

Overall tips to keep in mind to avoid injuries include staying hydrated, pre and post activity stretching, wearing protective equipment, taking at least 1 day off per week for rest, following rules of safe play for each sport, and stopping the activity and seeking immediate medical care if you are injured or are having pain.

Does participating in different sports make people susceptible to different types of injuries and when should participants seek medical help if they have symptoms of pain or an injury?

Yes. Different sports require the use of different muscles and biomechanical principles. These lead to different sport specific injuries that occur most often. Nobody who has a sports injury should attempt to wait out the pain, no matter how minor an injury may seem it should be addressed promptly.

Often things that patients feel are minor injuries, if not diagnosed and treated promptly, can lead to long-term disability and dysfunction. Do not attempt to continue playing if you have been injured. Make an appointment with an orthopedic surgeon for further evaluation.

If you experience severe pain, swelling or numbness, inability to place weight on an injured area, or joint instability then you should go to an emergency room immediately, although this list does not preclude emergency visitation for other or lesser signs and symptoms.

How do you see orthopedic surgery advancing in the next decade?

There are many exciting developments in the fields of advanced bone healing, tendon repair, cartilage regeneration, and improved hardware biomechanics that continue to push the boundaries of what orthopedic surgeons can do to improve the quality of life of their patients. I look forward to these advances and the promise they hold for the future of orthopedic surgery.

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