Patient-Centric Care and the *Personality of an Injury* #hcsm

Many patients present to my office with the same injury… but should the same injury, or orthopedic issue be treated in an identical manner across all patients?  Probably not.   And I am not talking about rationing 🙂

Is a meniscus (cartilage tear) in a 75 year old the same as a tear in a 20 year old… usually not.  Sometimes our tissues simply wear out.  Attrition or tissue degeneration leads to tears of the rotator cuff, meniscus and many tendons throughout our body. 20 somethings typically do not suffer from degenerative issues.  Their tears are traumatic.  Traumatic tears behave differently than degenerative tears.  And most 20 somethings are more active than most 75 year olds (although I have some 80 yr old who are clearly more active than some 20 somethings).  Do both patients require surgery to “fix” their mensicus tear…. probably not. 

The same can be said for rotator cuff pathology… there is a portion of the rotator cuff in many individuals that seems destined to “tear”, or perhaps dissolve, with age.  Many of these patients lead very active and pain free lives without surgery.   Traumatic rotator cuff tears following a fall in a 40 year old active laborer is another issue entirely.   His/her tear will need to be addressed to maintain proper strength, motion and hopefully function. 

 I could go on and on… the same *injury* does not behave in the same manner in all patients… we as physicians must take into account someones age, activity level, co-morbidities, pain level, quality of life and other variables when considering what treatment plan to pursue in individuals across the *age* spectrum … 

We must define the *Personality of the Injury* and work with the patient to determine the appropriate treatment plan.


About hjluks

A busy Academic Orthopedic Surgeon, Digital Strategist, Chief Medical Officer and father... intently and efficiently navigating the intersection of Social Media and Health Care.
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One Response to Patient-Centric Care and the *Personality of an Injury* #hcsm

  1. Verria Kelly says:

    This is fabulous! You are right on point! I work with my clients to determine the “personality of their injury ” as well as what I call the “anatomy of their symptoms” (for those suffering from mystery symptoms) BEFORE they visit a doctor. Armed with this information, they’re able to effectively participate in the decision making process. I often find that those clients not willing to do their part are not yet ready for the healing process. In other words, they have to be willing to participate in their own health care. Unfortunately, preparing for healing is a learning process because mainstream has taught the symptom->doctor->drug paradigm which is void of any patient input.Thanks for the great post!

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