During my internship at Myers Sports Medicine and Orthopaedic Center, I learned more about orthopaedics than I ever thought I could. The most important part of my internship was paying close attention to detail, and asking questions whenever I could. For starters, I had heard about ACL surgery my whole life growing up in sports, but I never really knew how it could be reconstructed. I learned from Dr. Myers that there are many methods that doctors use, but he only refers to three. The most common method involves taking a strip of tendon out of the hamstring, and using that as the new ACL. This gives the patient a higher chance of a successful surgery and recovery, because the body will recognize the tendon, and grow around it, making it more stable. The second method is taking part of the patellar tendon, but this can cause long-term problems in the patella down the road. Lastly, the cadaver graft, a piece of tendon from a deceased person’s body, is used to reconstruct the ACL. This method has a newly exposed high failure rate, and Dr. Myers hasn’t performed this surgery in many years. His favorite is using the hamstring.
I also learned about a new method of bone and soft tissue healing. It involves centrifuging the patient’s own blood, and separating the plasma and the concentrated cell platelets. These platelets are then injected into the area of concern, allowing an easier method of repairing bone or soft tissue. The platelets will trigger an immune response from the body, to send more help to the targeted area, allowing healing to occur without having a surgery. The only problem with this method is that there have not been any medical studies that prove that it definitely works, although many doctors swear by it. It can be an easy solution to a possible surgery, with no down time.
I have also learned the two different recoveries for a meniscus tear. If Dr. Myers deems appropriate, he would much rather sew the patient’s meniscus back together rather than scrape out the mess, although this is not always the situation. The pushback most patients have with sewing the meniscus back is because the patient will have to be on crutches significantly longer, than if he just scraped out the torn meniscus. The fascinating fact about Dr. Myers is that he is always looking out for the patient in long term. Doing that, he tells the patient, that although they will be on crutches longer at first, they will have more cartilage in the long run, prolonging the inevitable process of arthritis. He always encourages sewing the meniscus back for that reason, if he can that is. Sometimes the tear is too shredded to sew back.
I could write quite a few pages on all of the things I have learned from my experience, but I only picked a few of my favorites. I also learned how to prepare an injection station, different tests performed on a patient to check for tears, different parts of the knee and shoulder, scars sun burning, and blood clot concerns with flying. I think the most important part of my experience was the extremely welcoming, supportive, and friendly staff at Myers Sports Medicine. Dr. Myers and his team helped me get involved, and that is the main lesson that is supposed to come from internships. I could study a book all day, but the hands-on experience I got could never be forgotten. I want to thank Dr. Myers and his staff for allowing me to intern, and I hope to be back soon.