Dr. Tom Beck of Atlantic Orthopaedics is the Eastern Shore’s foremost authority on the revolutionary Visionaire system — a procedure proven to be more advanced and less invasive than traditional knee replacement surgery
Pete Marshall has been active all his life: touch football, softball until he was 50, racquetball through his mid-60s and golf to this day. The wear and tear, as well as his wife’s position as the office manager for a Rockville, Md. orthopedics group, led to more than a passing acquaintance with the five physicians there.
“They all worked on me at one time or another,” Pete said with a laugh. “I was an old athlete. I played a lot of sports, and I guess I paid for it."
His knees didn’t really start to give him trouble until a few years ago, after he had retired from a management position at Safeway and moved to the Shore. First it was his left knee, the pain getting so bad that he finally had to retire his racquetball racquet. His primary-care provider recommended Dr. Tom Beck at Atlantic Orthopaedics.
After therapy failed to relieve his discomfort, Pete had a knee replacement at the Center for Joint Surgery at Atlantic General Hospital. It was such a positive experience for him that when he began having trouble with his right knee a couple of years later, he knew immediately where to turn.
“Pete is an interesting case history,” said Dr. Beck, “because his left knee replacement was a traditional procedure, but when his right knee needed to be replaced, we did a Visionaire procedure, which had been relatively new at the time.”
The Visionaire system is a set of instruments, rather than an actual implant. Using a three-dimensional model of Pete’s knee that was generated by an MRI, Visionaire created surgical cutting blocks that were specific to Pete’s knee. These cutting blocks fit over the knee and allow for more precise incisions than traditional methods would yield.
“The other thing the Visionaire apparatus does,” Dr. Beck offered, “is that it eliminates the need to drill certain holes in order to achieve optimum alignment, thereby inflicting less trauma to the bone and the soft tissue around it. The result of a procedure that is not only more precise but also less invasive is a smoother, somewhat shorter and less complication-prone postoperative recovery period.”
Dr. Beck went on to say that the benefits of Visionaire tend to include less rehabilitation time and the ability to bear weight and get around immediately after being discharged from the hospital, which is typically two days after the procedure.
“It’s true. People can start walking around as soon as they get home,” said Dr. Beck, who with practice partner Dr. Phillip Spinuzza are the only surgeons on the Eastern Shore certified by Visionaire to perform the procedure. “Patients will initially use either walkers or canes for some extra stability, which is a good idea, but they can basically begin engaging in routine daily ambulation right away. The real danger is that often, patients feel so good after the procedure that they start overdoing it and take a temporary step backward in their recovery.”
“Compared to my first knee replacement, the Visionaire knee replacement seemed much easier, not nearly as invasive,” Pete said. “The recovery period was much shorter, and I was able to do things faster — off the walker within one week and off the crutches not very long after that. I played golf 12 weeks after my first total knee replacement but just eight weeks after the second one.
“Dr. Beck really hit a grand slam!” Pete continued. “I have dealt with a number of orthopedists over the years, and I can honestly say that Dr. Beck far exceeds all of them with his skill, communication, bedside manner, extreme professionalism and the quality of his staff. I cannot say enough about Atlantic Orthopaedics and the AGH Center for Joint Surgery. They are second to none when it comes to sincerely caring for the patient.”
The surgeons of Atlantic Orthopaedics include Drs. Beck, Spinuzza and Bontempo, who teamed with AGH to develop the Center for Joint Surgery in order to meet the growing local demand for joint-replacement surgery and other advanced orthopedic procedures. Using a team-based approach involving surgeons, nursing staff and physical therapy staff, the center features eight private suites with amenities not normally found in such settings, creating a relaxed, healing environment in which patient comfort is a top priority. It offers the latest advances in orthopedic surgery, including total joint replacement with new alternate bearing materials, such as ceramic and Oxinium implants, in addition to many other cutting-edge orthopedic procedures.
CENTER FOR JOINT SURGERY
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