Singing the Praises of Monmouth's Total Joint Replacement Program
David L. Chalnick, M.D., the medical director of the Joint Replacement Surgery Program at Monmouth, was one of the first doctors in the area to perform minimally invasive hip replacement surgery. Over the last decade, the results of this new approach have been impressive: faster recovery, decreased immediate and long-term pain, and an accelerated return to normal activity.
“A patient exploring the possibility of hip replacement has usually exhausted other forms of treatment," said Dr. Chalnick. "The degenerative nature of these arthritic conditions eventually affects the patient’s quality of life. Adaptation becomes an obstruction, and they find themselves looking for a surgical remedy to what has become constant pain.”
Like the minimally invasive procedures now common in general and gynecologic surgeries, hip replacement procedures that utilize a much smaller incision are becoming the standard of care. Dr. Chalnick, assistant director of the orthopaedic surgery residency program at Monmouth Medical Center and a clinical professor with Monmouth’s teaching affiliate, Drexel University College of Medicine, has been among a handful of New Jersey surgeons at the forefront of this innovative approach. This advance has allowed surgeons to reduce the incision for a hip replacement from eight to 12 inches to an incision as small as three inches.
One person who can truly appreciate these surgical advances is Long Branch resident Carrie Penn. The active 72 year old is a member of Second Baptist Church choir and president of the church's first aid unit; participates in the health education committee; and serves as a worship leader for Bible study each Tuesday. Recently, however, Carrie found herself unable to participate in activities due to extreme pain caused by many years of rheumatoid- and osteo-arthritis.
"I should have had surgery years ago, but I didn't want to have it done. When it finally got to the point where I couldn't walk and participate in church activities,
I knew it was time to finally do something about it," said Carrie.
After speaking with several people — including Kenneth B. Wasser, M.D., Carrie's rheumatologist, and Marshall P. Silver, MD, her primary care physician, both of Monmouth Medical Center, as well as her friends from Second Baptist — Carrie decided to make an appointment with Dr. Chalnick.
Over the course of six months, Dr. Chalnick performed three surgeries on Carrie: a left hip replacement in February, followed by a right hip replacement in April, and, most recently, a bilateral knee replacement in July.
“Mrs. Penn came to me in a wheelchair and was pretty debilitated, but she was extremely motivated,” Dr. Chalnick says. “Through a combination of minimally invasive surgical technique, effective pain management, and aggressive rehabilitation, we were able to replace four of her joints in a relatively quick period of time.”
From diagnosis through rehabilitation, patients like Carrie expert care from Monmouth Medical Center’s experienced, multidisciplinary Total Joint Replacement Surgery Program team that in addition to the total joint surgeons includes specially trained nurses, rehabilitation physicians and therapists. The program has a dedicated clinical nurse coordinator to help patients and their families through what could otherwise be an overwhelming experience. Dana Delatush serves as the patients’ personal navigator and liaison with the orthopaedic team to coordinate their care, beginning with a preoperative class to educate patients about their procedures.
"My experience with Monmouth’s Total Joint Replacement Program was excellent,” Carries said. “Dr. Chalnick is a doctor for all seasons; he's kind, professional — words can't describe him. Whenever anyone asks for a recommendation, I'm ready with Dr. Chalnick’s information - that's how highly I think of him."
Now, although she is still recuperating and undergoing physical therapy, Carrie is back to participating in church activities and spending time with friends.
"I could kick myself for waiting to have surgery and for suffering in pain as long as I did — if I had to do it all over again, I wouldn't wait,” she said. “Dr. Chalnick helped me tremendously."
“As a surgeon, it is extremely gratifying to see the return of her quality of life,” adds Dr. Chalnick, who became interested in joint replacement surgery as a bioengineering major at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.
After graduation from medical school at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey and upon completion of his residency at Albany Medical Center, New York, Dr. Chalnick studied with the world-renowned joint replacement surgeons at the Insall Scott Kelly Institute at Beth Israel North Hospital in Manhattan. There he completed a fellowship in adult reconstruction, and gained subspecialty training in knee, hip and total joint replacement and revision.
Today, as an educator and practitioner, Dr. Chalnick is actively keeping Monmouth Medical Center at the forefront of the latest advances in minimally invasive orthopaedic surgery. In fact, he has been honored by the Student Government Association at Drexel University College of Medicine, with the Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Teaching. Faculty and residents at any of the 12 academic affiliates of Drexel are eligible to be nominated, making these awards extremely competitive.
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