Dr. Hansen Discusses Arthritis Fellowship Training
Dr. Hansen explains why arthritis fellowship training is linked to better patient care and better outcomes.
Feeling that first twinge of arthritis pain can be discouraging. Because modern medicine can’t yet cure this condition, many people are under the mistaken impression that arthritis pain can’t be treated. In reality, medical management of arthritis pain is an orthopedic subspecialty. Physicians can take arthritis fellowship programs to receive training in an increasing array of effective treatments. Arthritis specialist Dr. Dane Hansen explains how his arthritis fellowship equipped him to design personalized treatment plans for arthritis patients.
Arthritis fellowship training improves patient outcomes
“The trend toward medical specialization is exciting,” says Dr. Hansen. “That’s why I chose to do a fellowship in the treatment of arthritis. Fellowship training is based on observations that patient care and patient outcomes are better when people are cared for by the physician who is most knowledgeable and experienced in the specific procedure they need. I wholeheartedly agree. If my mom is having a medical procedure, I’m going to find the doctor who focuses on that procedure, has done a large number of them, and has a great reputation. That’s what matters for me, and that’s what matters for my patients. My arthritis fellowship training equipped me with the tools to achieve the best outcome for my patients.”
An arthritis fellowship includes advanced surgical techniques
Dr. Hansen completed his arthritis fellowship at Chicago’s Rush University, a center nationally regarded for championing minimally invasive joint replacement. “Not every patient with arthritis needs surgery,” states Dr. Hansen. “At Summit, we begin with conservative treatments to manage arthritic pain. But as arthritis advances in the hip and knee, joint replacement surgery becomes a treatment option. Expertise in various surgical techniques can significantly improve outcomes.
“Many people think ‘minimally invasive’ means making a small incision, but it’s a lot more than that,” Dr. Hansen points out. “The idea is to minimize the trauma you cause to the joint by limiting soft tissue trauma around the knee and by not putting the knee in extreme positions during surgery. Extreme positions make the procedure easier for the surgeon. But they can also lead to increased swelling, bruising, and damage to muscles and tissues around the knee. This damage potentially slows recovery or increases postoperative pain for the patient. I learned techniques during my fellowship that minimize trauma to the joint and give my patient a more comfortable recovery.”
Patients benefit from an array of surgical options
Arthritis surgery doesn’t always mean a total joint replacement. “My arthritis fellowship exposed me to a range of surgical options, especially for younger patients with knee arthritis,” says Dr. Hansen. “I’ve worked with patients who are completely debilitated by knee arthritis at 40 or 50 years of age. They believe that they can’t have a joint replacement until they are 65. But these patients don’t have to spend their years between 40 and 65 in a walker. Depending on the symptoms and type of arthritis, a partial knee replacement might be an option.
Arthritis fellowship training teaches physicians how to treat surgical complications
“Because Rush University is such a large center, they get a lot of referrals of complications,” notes Dr. Hansen. “A fellowship provides extensive experience treating surgical complications like infections, fractures, and doing revision procedures. Treating complications helped me appreciate their causes. Rush does a lot of infection research, because an infection related to a joint replacement can be a devastating problem. My fellowship training gave me insight into managing these complications to get people to the best outcome. It also taught me how to handle initial procedures in a way that lowers risk of infection complications.”
Fellowship expertise ensures a medical treatment program that’s right for you
“Every patient has a personal activity level and a threshold for when they are willing to have surgery,” says Dr. Hansen. “Some people have concerns about surgeries, and rightly so. For those patients, injections and other conservative treatments can help them function at a level that they consider acceptable. Other very athletic people may consider surgery sooner. My arthritis fellowship training gives me the knowledge and resources to explore options with each patient. We’ll go through the decision-making process together to create the treatment plan that’s right for you.”
When to seek treatment for your arthritis
Arthritis doesn’t have to spell the end of an active life. If you are experiencing worrisome symptoms or persistent pain, the renowned arthritis specialists at Summit Orthopedics can help. We work with you to confirm a diagnosis and develop an appropriate conservative treatment plan. If nonsurgical treatments fail to support your lifestyle goals, fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeons will consult with you and discuss appropriate surgical options. Summit is home to innovative joint replacement options. Our Vadnais Heights Surgery Center is one a select few nationally to receive The Joint Commission’s Advanced Certification for Total Hip and Total Knee Replacement.
Summit has convenient locations across the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area, serving Minnesota and western Wisconsin. We have state-of-the-art centers for comprehensive orthopedic care in Eagan, MN, Vadnais Heights, MN, and Woodbury, MN, as well as additional community clinics throughout the metro and southern Minnesota.
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