Category: ‘Blog’

Meniscus Surgery: Tips on Myths and Facts

Posted in Blog, Press Releases | April 26, 2017

Dr. Kevin Plancher with Plancher Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine explains key details about surgery to repair or replace knee cartilage

New York, NY & Greenwich, CT (PRWEB) April 26, 2017

There’s no mistaking the negative effects a tear in the knee’s meniscus – the C-shape of cartilage cushioning the space between the thighbone and shinbone – can wreak on patients’ daily lives. But a swirl of myths surround surgery to repair or remove the meniscus, can blur patients’ ability to decide whether this treatment may be right for them, says orthopaedic surgeon Kevin D. Plancher, MD, founder of Plancher Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine.

More than 400,000 surgeries to remove or repair a torn meniscus took place in the United States between 2005 and 2011, according to a 2013 study in the American Journal of Sports Medicine. Meniscus tears are common for good reason: There’s double the opportunity to injure the meniscus, since two such cartilage pads are located in each knee joint, Dr. Plancher says. Tears stem from several causes, including sports injuries involving squatting and twisting motions, such as a football tackle or sudden basketball pivot; trauma such as car crashes; excess body weight, which strains the entire knee; and aging, which weakens and thins knee cartilage over decades due to less lubrication in the knee.

Symptom severity ranges from patient to patient, but typical signs of a torn meniscus include pain, stiffness or swelling in the knee that gradually worsens over days. Some patients feel a slipping or “popping” sensation in the knee, notes Dr. Plancher, also a Clinical Professor in Orthopaedics at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York.

Conservative treatments are almost always tried first after a meniscus tear — including rest, ice, compression or physical therapy – but if a patient doesn’t experience symptom or pain improvement or can’t straighten the knee, surgery may be considered to either repair or remove part of the meniscus.

Tips on Truth vs. Fiction about Meniscus Surgery
In addition to normal concerns about surgery, those facing a meniscus operation often aren’t privy to correct information about the surgery itself and whether meniscus repair or removal is advised. Dr. Plancher, who lectures globally on issues related to orthopaedic procedures and sports injury management, offers these myths and facts about meniscus surgery:

Myth: The surgeon always knows before meniscus surgery whether the meniscus needs to be repaired.
Fact: Sometimes surgeons must visualize the inner knee at the start of the procedure before a final determination can be made whether repair is possible or a piece of the meniscus must be removed. Among other factors, the decision is also based on the patient’s age, activity level and overall health along with where the meniscus tear is located, its size and pattern. Saving the meniscus is important and when possible should be performed.

Myth: Removing the entire meniscus is always preferable to leaving any piece behind.
Fact: The lack of any meniscus tissue to cushion the knee joint may eventually lead to degenerative arthritis in the knee, which may necessitate an artificial knee joint down the road. So whenever possible – and especially in younger patients – preserving and if possible repairing the meniscus is preferable to removing it completely. In fact, studies have demonstrated that the more meniscal tissue removed from the knee, the more likely you will be to develop knee osteoarthritis.

Myth: Meniscus repair surgery involves large incisions.
Fact: In the past, larger incisions were needed during meniscus surgery. Advances in surgical equipment now enable tiny incisions or small poke holes to be used. Surgeons insert tools and a camera through these slits to either repair the meniscus or trim away damaged areas, a procedure lasting about an hour.

Myth: Failure rates for meniscus repair surgery are high.
Fact: 2013 research in the American Journal of Sports Medicine notes that many prior studies suggested between 20% and 40% of meniscus tears repaired surgically later re-tear with higher re-tear rates in medial (or the inside of your knee) versus lateral (or the outside of your knee) meniscal repair. But the 2013 research indicated those numbers were inflated, with less than 10% of meniscus patients experiencing a re-tear. Patient selection and the pre- and postoperative rehab program is essential.

Myth: Meniscus surgery will require patients to keep the knee immobilized for an extended period.
Fact: After the same-day procedure, patients can bear weight on the knee within a day or two but must wear a brace to keep the leg straight for 4 weeks. Physical therapy exercises are begun within days and the patient must bend the knee to 90º to avoid any long-term stiffness. While meniscus repair surgery generally takes longer to recover from because some of the meniscus has been preferred, this is still a more optimal result. Most patients that undergo meniscus repair will fully recover within about 6 weeks after wearing a knee brace and/or using crutches during that period. Patients with a small portion of their meniscus removed can expect to recover in 5 weeks.

Fact: All patients who require meniscus surgery must insist upon a plain, standing x-ray even if they have an MRI to avoid worsening symptoms.

Kevin D. Plancher, MD, is a board-certified orthopaedic surgeon and the founder of Plancher Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine.

Plancher Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine is a group of fellowship-trained surgeons with expertise in knee, hip, and shoulder arthroplasty, sports medicine, hand and microvascular surgery, foot and ankle and cartilage specialty procedures. Offices are located in NYC and Greenwich, CT with office hours 6 days a week.

Dr. Plancher provided opinion for Energy Times on getting good golf shoulders

Posted in Blog | April 10, 2017

Getting Good Golf Shoulders

Spring is coming and the links are calling…but will your shoulders be ready for tee time?

“Playing golf well relies heavily on the strength and fitness of the muscles, tendons and joints in the shoulders just to drive the ball off the tee,” says orthopaedic surgeon Kevin Plancher, MD, ofPlancher Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine.

Weak shoulders can not only wreck your game but leave you prone to injury. To avoid major issues, “do sensible things, such as stopping play if your shoulder starts hurting during a game,” Plancher advises. “Avoid carrying a golf bag with a sore shoulder, and learn good technique for your swing.”

Plancher suggests the following preseason exercise routine to get your shoulders up to snuff.

Head rolls: Roll your ear gently to one side, toward the shoulder. Tilt head back and forth, repeating on opposite side. Continue for 60 seconds.

Shoulder stretches: Raise right arm in front of you, then bring to left, wrapping left elbow around right arm and pulling that arm closer to your chest. Reverse for left side. Continue 2-3 minutes.

Side stretches: With feet shoulder-width apart, raise right arm directly above head and lean shoulders to the left, swaying right hip slightly out. Feel the stretch along the right side of your body. Reverse for the left side. Continue 1-2 minutes.

Prone T: Lie face down on floor with a folded towel under your forehead. Arms should be out to the sides with palms facing floor. Squeeze shoulder blades together and left hands off floor until parallel to floor. Hold for 3 seconds and lower, repeating 10-12 times.

Lunge with a Twist: Stand in upright position and step forward with your right leg, maintaining your right knee over your right ankle. Rotate your trunk to the left and then return to the starting position. Repeat the exercise on the opposite side. Perform 3 sets of 10 repetitions on each side.

Forearm Plank with Arm Raise: Place your forearms on the ground with the elbows aligned below the shoulders. Raise your right arm out in front of you and hold for 2 seconds then lower back to the starting position. Repeat with the left arm. Perform 10 times on each side and then rest. Perform 3 rounds.

Reverse Chop with a Squat: Start in a squatting position, holding a weight or medicine ball with both hands next to your left hip. Keeping your arms straight, raise the weight across your body and overhead above your right shoulder while standing up from the squatting position. Lower back to the starting position. Repeat 10 times and then switch. Perform 3 sets of 10 reps.

New and Here Now: Collagen Meniscus Implants for the Knee

Posted in Blog | March 22, 2017

Dr. Kevin Plancher with Plancher Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine details newest treatment he performs for torn knee cartilage.

New York, NY & Greenwich, CT (PRWEB) March 22, 2017

There’s no question our knees take a beating every day, but now there’s a new treatment option for those who’ve been plagued by knee pain stemming from damage or injury to the meniscus on having previously had surgery requiring the removal of a segment of their meniscus, the cartilage pad wedged between the thigh and shin bones, says orthopaedic surgeon Kevin D. Plancher, MD, founder of Plancher Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine. (more…)

Dr. Plancher was quoted in Health’Sass about running on a treadmill

Posted in Blog | March 2, 2017


You may be using the treadmill wrong

Especially at this time of year, many people exercise indoors–even runners.

But orthopaedic surgeon Kevin D. Plancher, founder of  Plancher Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine, says you may be injuring your knees if you don’t run at a slight incline.

A zero-percent incline, he explains, is not like running on flat ground, it’s like running slightly downhill, which stresses the knee and patellar tendon (front of thigh, helping the thigh straighten the leg).

Higher inclines also may be fun and challenging but can lead to sharp knee pain.

Treadmills come with inclines programmed in for a reason, Plancher says. Running at a slight incline works the big muscle groups and also helps you avoid shin splints.

The slight incline of 3% is optimal.

If something starts hurting, the doctor says, stop doing it. Try biking, swimming, or the elliptical and give your knees a break.

Well, not a break…you know what I mean.


Protect Your Knees While Running on the Treadmill

Posted in Blog, Fitness, Injury Prevention | March 1, 2017

Dr. Kevin Plancher with Plancher Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine Offers Tips That Can Lead to Fewer Knee Injuries – “A Small Incline.”

New York, NY & Greenwich, CT (PRWEB) March 01, 2017


March 2017 – All year round the treadmill represents freedom for many runners, especially in the winter months when people don’t want to stop training to brave the cold weather, snow or ice. Treadmill running poses special challenges to the knees – and setting the treadmill to a small incline can help protect these vulnerable joints, says orthopaedic surgeon Kevin D. Plancher, MD, founder of Plancher Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine. (more…)

Weekend Warriors: Play Hard, Have Fun and Stay Injury Free

Posted in Blog, Injury Prevention, Press Releases | January 17, 2017

Dr. Kevin Plancher with Plancher Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine with tips for weekend warriors

Greenwich, CT and NY, NY (PRWEB) January 17, 2017


Weekend warriors are people who find little time to play in their favorite sports during the workweek, but instead, pack a weeks’ worth of them into the two short weekend days. The goal for these folks is to enjoy their sports while staying injury free.

“The good news is that ‘weekend-warrior’ type exercise is beneficial to the cardiovascular system,” explains Kevin Plancher, M.D., founder of Plancher Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine. The benefits of physical activity, even if just on the weekends, include improved overall health, increased energy, weight management and sheer fun. “So while we encourage our patients to exercise regularly, if that’s not possible, we are happy for them to get out on the weekends and play a game, run a bit and work up a sweat, adds Dr. Plancher. We offer the following tips for understanding the risks for injury helping them to stay healthy.”

‘Weekend Warrior’ Risks

Dr. Plancher offers that sometimes ‘Weekend Warrior’ activities are welcoming for injury. “They are often greater in intensity than weekday exercise sessions,” he explains. For example, many weekend warrior sports like soccer, basketball, golf and tennis tend to involve groups of players. “Playing a sport with a group of buddies or on a team can inspire a more competitive spirit than, say, walking or jogging alone,” says Dr. Plancher. “The more competitive the game, the more likely we are to push our bodies past their limits, increasing the risk of injuries,” he says.

According to Dr. Plancher the typical weekend warrior injuries are most likely to occur in the joints and muscles of the knees, shoulders and elbows. “That’s because they are the three key areas that receive the most shock and friction during these ‘Weekend Warrior’ activities.”

Ready, Set, Play

Dr. Plancher offers the following tips to prepare the body for a weekend of intense sports activity:

Sneak in some weekday activity. “’Weekend Warriors’ can take small steps during the week to prepare themselves for their weekend activities,” Dr. Plancher points out. For example, he suggests taking a quick 20-30 minute walk at lunch each day, or keeping a set of light weights in the office and fitting in a couple of sets of lifts during the day. Dr. Plancher also suggests using a resistance band to stretch the shoulders and back muscles while in the office. Lastly, where possible, core strengthening such as planks or sit-ups can help prevent back injury. In all, any movement that can keep the muscles engaged and the joints moving will help prepare the body for the more intense activity on the weekends.

Make sure to warm-up and stretch on game day. Dr. Plancher advises that it is critical to warm-up the body and muscles before getting out on the field or court. He suggests a short jog or brisk walk in advance of the game to get the blood flowing and increase joint flexibility. He also advocates for some gentle stretching work to prepare the muscles for a more intense workout.

Know when to rest “’Weekend Warriors’ should be mindful of when they are over doing it and should allow for reasonable resting during long games or physical activities,” Dr. Plancher advises. “It’s OK, in fact, imperative, to take regular rest breaks and to hydrate the body. If substitutes are available, take the opportunity for a rest. You don’t need to be the last guy down the mountain or play all 4 quarters of a Saturday basketball game to have some fun. The odds for injury increase when players are tired.” he adds.

Don’t over-do it. “Knowing when you’ve had enough is not always easy, but it’s particularly important for ‘Weekend Warriors’. Dr. Plancher advises to pay attention to signals from the body indicating that it is overworked, or injured, and immediately stop the activity.” Dr. Plancher warns that “some sports-related joint and muscle injuries require immediate medical attention to minimize further damage. If you feel that you might have injured your knee or shoulder during a game, take a rest and if pain persists, see a doctor sooner than later.

Most importantly. Make sure your health can allow for exercise. Check first with your internist before starting any new exercise regimen.

“Weekend sports are lots of fun and when played with a reasonable attitude and attention to safety, they can be a wonderful way to enjoy a Saturday or Sunday afternoon with friends or family,” adds Dr. Plancher.

Kevin D. Plancher, MD, is a board-certified orthopaedic surgeon and the founder of Plancher Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine.

Plancher Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine is a general orthopaedics and sports medicine practice with offices in New York City and Greenwich, CT.

Dr. Plancher was published in WAG Magazine on Ski Injury Prevention

Posted in Blog, In the News, Injury Prevention | January 10, 2017




By Kevin Plancher

As the team physician for the United States’ men’s and women’s downhill teams, as well as the snowboarding and freestyle teams, I understand the needs of skiers and snowboarders perhaps better than most.

Together, their disciplines attract more than 28 million participants each year, with the athletes — both weekend and professional — pushing the envelope by adding challenging tricks and lengthy bump runs in both sports. At Plancher Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine in Greenwich’s Cos Cob and Manhattan, the ultimate goal is to keep even the novice injury-free while out on the slopes. Proper conditioning can prevent many of the associated downhill injuries by adding strength and flexibility to the muscles, tendons and ligaments that are used in the sport.

Common injuries for skiers are to the knee and shoulder, whereas snowboarders need to remain particularly aware of the ankle and wrist. By following some simple guidelines, you can greatly decrease the incidence of injury to any body part. Focus on the four areas below to ensure a great season:

  1. BALANCEBalance is the first step toward safe skiing. The better your balance, the less likely you are to fall. The ability to balance on one leg can be achieved with a few simple exercises. A single-leg dead lift while holding light weights works well, as does simply standing on one leg.
  2. FLEXIBILITY:Increasing your flexibility can protect your joints during a downhill run as well as during an unexpected fall. Flexibility decreases the chance of falling while also providing better and safer falling. Make stretching a part of your post-cardio exercise program to ensure all muscles are warm and ready to go.
  3. STRENGTHENING:Strengthening muscles, tendons and ligaments is imperative to good form. Squats and rotations on a Bosu ball, a device with a large flat surface on top and a soft ball-shaped underside, are excellent starting points. You can build strength in your lower legs with band work and strength-training machines, but we do caution you to avoid deep knee squats and weighted leg extension exercises as they can put unnecessary strain on the knees.
  4. CARDIO:There is no question that improved cardiovascular fitness can make a better skier and snowboarder by increasing stamina and decreasing fatigue. We recommend a fitness/aerobic program that includes at least 30 minutes of conditioning each day. You can choose biking, running, swimming or even walking. You can begin slowly with the end goal of achieving 60 minutes of cardiovascular training each day.
  5. CORE DEVELOPMENTA strong and stable core equates to better balance, better coordination and overall increased power on the hill. These are critical components to avoid injury. Core strength can easily be achieved with yoga, Pilates or dance classes. It can also be achieved with proper sit-ups, planks or oblique reaches.

Remember, skiing and snowboarding are fun group activities that are exhilarating for all of the senses. We, at Plancher Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine, believe that with the above training program in place and with thoughtful preparation, enthusiasts can enjoy a healthier and safer season. So get out there, have fun and stay injury-free.

Kevin D. Plancher, MD, is a board-certified orthopedic surgeon and the founder of Plancher Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine, a general orthopedics and sports medicine practice. For more, visit


Dr. Harvey was quoted in Energy Times on Avoiding Gym Injuries

Posted in Blog, In the News | January 6, 2017


January 6, 2017 as seen on the Energy Times Facebook page

Avoiding Gym Injuries

So…you’re nearly a week into that big New Year’s resolution to exercise every day when you bend over to pick up a weight–and throw out your back in the process. It’ll be a week, at least, before you can even think about walking around the block, never mind getting back to the gym.

Sound familiar? Injuries are not only problems in themselves but can stop a fitness plan dead in its tracks. If you want to avoid that fate, Margaret Harvey, DO, an orthopedic surgeon with Plancher Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine (, offers the following advice.

Start with a warmup. Run in place for a few minutes before stretching, then gently and slowly practice the motions of the exercise to follow.

Don’t skip the stretch. Start stretching slowly and carefully until reaching a point of tension. Hold each stretch for 20 seconds, and then slowly and carefully release it.

Don’t cling to machine handrails. Keep your hands resting lightly on them. The rail death-grip causes a hunched position that can lead to improper spine alignment.

Cross train. Switching from one activity to another prevents mental burnout and since different activities target slightly different muscle groups, the result is more comprehensive conditioning.

Focus on muscle groups. The best exercises are those that work several muscles at the same time–not just the biceps or the abs, let’s say–to build functional strength. Wait at least 48 hours before working the same muscle group again.

Pay attention to your shoes. If you play a sport more than three times a week, get the right shoes for that activity. Regular exercisers should replace their shoes every twelve months or at the first signs or wear (running shoes should be replaced every 480 to 800 kilometers).

Accept your limitations. The bodily changes of aging leaves people more vulnerable to injury. Keep going to the gym, but use more caution as you get older to protect your body.

Consider hiring a professional.Signing up with a personal trainer, even for just a couple of sessions, may pay off in fewer injuries through machine misuse down the road. And use the mirrors, if available, to monitor your form and technique.

Treatment for Tennis Elbow, Highly Effective New Procedure

Posted in Blog | January 5, 2017

Dr. Kevin Plancher with Plancher Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine with tips on non-surgical and minimally invasive treatments for common elbow condition.

Greenwich, CT & New York, NY (PRWEB) January 05, 2017


Here’s a bit of irony: Most cases of so-called tennis elbow don’t affect tennis players, but people whose jobs or activities tear the area of muscle and tendon around the outside of the elbow. The good news is that most tennis elbow gets better on its own with rest, but for those stubborn cases a new procedure called Tenex Health TX™ can provide relief and return you to work in a short period of time, says orthopaedic surgeon Kevin D. Plancher, MD, founder of Plancher Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine.

Affecting between 1% and 3% of the general population, less than 5% of tennis elbow diagnoses are actually related to playing tennis, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. The condition, known medically as lateral epicondylitis, occurs more often in men and most commonly affects those between ages 30 and 50.

“Those whose sports or activities require repetitive arm, elbow and wrist movement – such as golfers, baseball players, bowlers, lawn workers, painters, carpenters and others – are most prone to developing tennis elbow,” Dr. Plancher explains. “The condition is usually diagnosed by the description of pain when shaking hands, squeezing or reaching for objects. Confirmation of the diagnosis is often done by physical exam, ultrasound or MRI.”

Tips on non-surgical tennis elbow treatments
Once diagnosed, tennis elbow treatments aim to reduce pain and inflammation in the sore elbow to allow it to heal and decrease further stress on the elbow joint. 95% of cases respond to conservative measures, Dr. Plancher says. These include:

  • Rest: Avoid any activity that causes pain when the elbow is extended for several weeks.
  • Ice: Apply ice to the affected area several times each day for 20-minute periods. Avoid burning the skin. Don’t put the ice directly on the skin.
  • NSAIDs: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen or Advil can lower pain and inflammation.
  • Steroid injections: Your doctor can inject an anti-inflammatory into the affected area. Try to avoid more than one injection and be aware of depigmentation to the skin. Topical steroid creams can also help.
  • Splint: Sometimes doctors will prescribe a splint made by an occupational hand therapist used to stabilize and protect the injured elbow.
  • Equipment check: Those whose tennis elbow stems from playing a racquet sport may want to check their equipment for proper fit. Racquets that are stiffer and/or looser-strung can lower stress on the forearm, or a smaller racquet head may help prevent recurring symptoms.
  • PRP/stem cell injections: A newer non-surgical tennis elbow treatment involves injecting platelet-rich plasma, or PRP, or stem cells into the elbow area. Derived from a patient’s own blood, PRP contains high concentrations of growth factor proteins that can help speed healing. “While still considered developmental, PRP injections and stem cells are a very promising method of tennis elbow treatment,” says Dr. Plancher, also a Clinical Professor in Orthopaedics at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York.

New Tenex procedure for stubborn cases of tennis elbow
About 5% of people with tennis elbow won’t see an improvement of their pain and inflammation with conservative treatments. For those cases surgery becomes an option to repair the injured muscle and tendon area surrounding the elbow, Dr. Plancher says.

“The type of surgical approach used, whether open or laparoscopic, typically depends on the severity of tennis elbow and the patient’s overall health,” Dr. Plancher says. “But most surgeries involve removing diseased muscle and re-attaching healthy muscle to bone and taking out the primary cause of tennis elbow.”

The Tenex procedure evacuates scar tissue, of the ultimate sources of tennis elbow pain. “Performed in an office or operating room under light sedation, a tiny incision is made to insert a toothpick-sized tissue removal system that breaks down scar tissue using ultrasonic energy,” explains Dr. Plancher, who lectures globally on issues related to orthopaedic procedures and sports injury management. “It’s a quick, 20-minute procedure with a small incision, so small at times it doesn’t require stitches. Patients can go back to their regular sports and full activities hopefully in 1 to 2 months.”

Kevin D. Plancher, MD, is a board-certified orthopaedic surgeon and the founder of Plancher Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine.

Plancher Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine is a general orthopaedics and sports medicine practice with offices in New York City and Greenwich, CT.

Dr. Plancher provided commentary for Becker’s Spine Review on patient education

Posted in Blog, General Orthopaedics, In the News | December 21, 2016


Spine and Orthopedic Practice Management

Looking at the entire patient — Dr. Kevin Plancher weighs in on digging deeper and the importance of patient education

By Mary Rechtoris | December 21, 2016

Surgeons can make patients active participants in their treatment plans to bolster the patient experience, which is exceedingly important as healthcare transitions to value-based care. New York-based orthopedic surgeon Kevin Plancher, MD, aims to do just that.

“Medicine is about listening to people and it’s a lot of work. I have the good fortune of being able to take time with my patients so that I can really listen — a luxury that not every physician is afforded,” Dr. Plancher says. “I find that by taking my time, and digging deeper, I can spot red flags that may take me away from orthopedics for a bit, but it all comes full circle. The body is a whole, and orthopedics is simply a part of that interactive whole.”

In September 2016, Dr. Plancher performed rotator cuff surgery with a right bicep attachment on Lena Cavanna, as she was experiencing pain in her bicep following exercise. Dr. Plancher walked her through every detail of the treatment plan. Prior to a procedure, Dr. Plancher notes it is crucial to manage a patient’s expectations and educate them about the ins and outs of their procedure and recovery process.

“When he takes care of you, he takes care of everything. He is not only looking at the area that needs surgery, but the entire patient,” Ms. Cavanna says. “When he came into the pre-op room and looked at my chart, he went through each section of the chart to make sure that everything was in order and to guarantee my safety and understanding of the protocol leading up to my surgery. He further inquired whether the anesthesiologist had been in to see me and if I was comfortable with him.  His main concern was my welfare and to relieve any apprehensions because he knew I was nervous and apprehensive about having surgery. He wanted me to go into surgery as relaxed, comfortable and feeling as secure as possible. His attention to detail and to me gave me tremendous confidence.”

Dr. Plancher has found success through looking at the whole patient to assess other factors that may impede the healing process. By doing this, he can learn whether a patient seeking an orthopedic procedure has diabetes or another underlying condition and make the necessary adjustments to the treatment plan before the patient has surgery.

“If I have an 18-year-old rower that comes to my office with continued lower back pain and lower extremity numbness and tingling, well that’s just not normal — he’s too young,” Dr. Plancher says. “I must think out of the box if an MRI is normal. I’m not just going to order physical therapy and an anti-inflammatory, I need to dig deeper — why is this happening?  I will order blood tests and I look for other things like autoimmune and rheumatoid disorders. It’s more common than you think, unfortunately sub-specialization has made us look at people with blinders on every day, but we need to resist this and trust our patients and what they say to us.”

Following surgery, Ms. Cavanna received a protocol regarding treatment, rehabilitation and a list of dos and don’ts. A successful recovery entails three key components, which Dr. Plancher refers to as the “Orthopedic Trifecta.” The components include:

A surgeon well versed in a patient’s pathology and anatomy. Dr. Plancher notes this surgeon should also be updated on the latest literature and techniques. “This surgeon should care for the patient more than the person cares for himself or herself,” he adds.

A patient who will adhere to the surgeon’s post-op protocol.  “You can be set up with the perfect architecture but if you don’t have equal participation by the patient all can be lost,” Dr. Plancher says.

A physical therapist that is both well studied and capable. Dr. Plancher said he has worked nearly 28 years with physical therapists who understand both his and his patients’ expectations.

“A bonus is to have an orthopedist that has had surgery on him or herself so they have the empathy to understand what the patient is feeling,” Dr. Plancher adds.

Dr. Plancher provided the name of a physical therapist who Ms. Cavanna noted did not deviate from Dr. Plancher’s treatment plan, which she said highly contributed to her successful recovery.

“If you follow Dr. Plancher’s protocol to the letter, you will heal quickly,” Ms. Cavanna says. “I don’t have any pain and I have full range of motion.”

Dr. Kevin Plancher also passes along his expertise professionally; he was the chair of the Orthopaedic Summit 2016: Evolving Techniques, which was held in Las Vegas. More than 550 orthopedic and sports medicine physicians attended the event. He is a founding member of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons’ Educational Enhancement Fund.

After earning his medical degree from Georgetown University School of Medicine in Washington, D.C., he completed his residency at Harvard University’s combined orthopedic program. He underwent a fellowship at Indianapolis-based Indiana Hand Center and Vail, Colo.-based Steadman-Hawkins Clinic.