Exploring ways to improve surgical techniques and patient quality of life

Palmetto Health-USC Orthopedic Center Trauma and Fracture Team

Drs. Michael Tucker and Thomas Jones actively participate in research and continuing education, having presented at more than 50 meetings at the regional, state and national levels. They have authored nearly 20 publications, and most recently collaborated on a textbook chapter entitled Patella Fractures and Injuries to the Extensor Mechanism, published in the AAOS, OKU Trauma 5th edition. Each is a fellow of American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS), a member of the Orthopaedic Trauma Association (OTA), the Southeastern Fracture Consortium (SEFC), and the South Carolina Orthopaedic Association. They serve as faculty at the annual Southeastern Fracture Symposium (SEFS).

Drs. Tucker and Jones recently have reported on their novel positioning and reduction techniques for subtrochanteric femur fractures, with this work having been selected for a poster presentation at the South Carolina Orthopaedic Association and the Southern Orthopaedic Association annual meetings. They also have recently reported on their experience of dual plating of highly comminuted supracondylar femur fractures, with these results presented at the USC School of Medicine Annual Scholarship Day.

We are actively participating in several multi-center clinical trials, including one evaluating whether operative or non-operative treatment of humeral shaft fractures will lead to better outcomes, and another focusing on whether the Reamer Irrigator Aspirator (RIA) device reduces complications and improves outcomes in patients with femoral shaft fractures. These ongoing clinical research projects aim to provide other physicians with information to guide treatment decisions and improve outcomes for their patients.

Clinical initiatives

The Orthopedic Trauma and Fracture Care team is actively involved in guiding fracture care for Palmetto Health. Most recently, Drs. Jones and Tucker were instrumental in the establishment of the Palmetto Health Geriatric Fracture Care Pathway.

With support from the Palmetto Health administration, they collaborated with representatives from a multitude of medical and surgical specialties, including orthopedics, internal medicine, geriatrics, anesthesiology, cardiology, emergency medicine and physical therapy to develop a coordinated care model for this group of patients. The model will not only focus on safe and efficient surgical care of the acute injury, but also will address the comprehensive care of these patients from admission through their recovery and subsequent follow up. This multidisciplinary approach will be tailored to the specific needs of the geriatric fracture patient, taking into consideration each patient’s medical, family and social situation.

This longitudinal approach to geriatric fracture care has been shown to decrease hospital length of stay, reduce preoperative morbidity and mortality, hasten return to function and reduce the likelihood of these patients sustaining another fracture. The Palmetto Health Geriatric Fracture Pathway currently is in use at Palmetto Health Richland, with plans to expand it throughout the Palmetto Health system in the
coming months.