Buildings in Jaipur, India

Lecturing in India

When I was a child I remembered about reading how cows were considered sacred and they would roam the streets. Well I can now attest that this is indeed true. I just returned from a trip to India. I had the good fortune to be invited to lecture in Chennai India. The meeting topic was an exciting one. This was the first annual ArthroPreserve Meeting. The concepts were quite fascinating. The meeting was about how we can preserve the joint rather than replace it. The meeting concerned methods that included surgery many of which I have done and some that were new to me. Unlike, some of the meetings that I have lectured at this meeting was essentially attended by orthopedic surgeons. I certain felt at home since I have practiced Orthopedic Surgery for the last 34 years.

Many people need to realize that Orthopedic Surgery unlike other surgical specialties involves treating patients outside the operating room. A good portion of an orthopedic surgeon’s practice involves non-operative orthopedics. This is inherent in our training. I chuckle when I read an idea espoused by some that there is a new field called “interventional orthopedics”. Hello, the last I checked the field of orthopedics surgery was built on intervention. Giving an injection into a joint or tendon could be considered “intervention” but I think calling it interventional orthopedics is misleading to patients. It gives the patients perhaps a false sense of expertise concerning the doctor. There is only one recognized board of medical specialties that has the word orthopedics and that is the American Board of Orthopedic Surgery (or equivalent in other countries).

Does this mean that non orthopedic physicians who are performing regenerative medicine using PRP and Stem Cell injections are not competent. The answer is absolutely not! Some of the best minds I have met in the PRP and Stem cell field are not orthopedic surgeons yet I hold them in the upmost esteem. They are not calling themselves interventional orthopedists. They are calling themselves regenerative medicine physicians.

Taking this concept one step further, I was approached by a few individuals with the idea of forming a board called the American Academy and Board of Regenerative Medicine (AABRM). We have gone ahead and took this idea to fruition. The board is now up and running. It is a non profit organization and none of the board members receive any type of salary. It is also non political.

Unfortunately, the world of Regenerative Medicine has taken on some politics of its own. Unlike many boards, the AABRM has moved into the 21th century. This organization recognizes the importance of PHDs in the field of Regenerative Medicine as it pertains to stem cells etc. The PHDs give us the concepts to use in the real world. Without the PHDs our progress would be stymied. The Academy welcomes PHDs to be part of this growing field of medicine. Also, the current board members have written approximately a 120 question examination. In order to become a member a candidate would have to pass the examination. The questions were designed to stimulate thought and at least show some acquisition of a fund of knowledge. Also one needs to show some experience in this field. We have designed a syllabus. The other interesting aspect of the organization is its willingness to help the industry. We would offer training programs to sales people of all companies selling items to the regenerative physician. Unfortunately, a poorly trained sales person is sometimes the first contact a new regenerative medicine physician has. The last thing we want is to have bad science perpetuated. If the sales person has a good fund of knowledge that will do nothing but help the field. The other concept that the Academy wrestled with was should only physicians in the United States be members. We feel that there should be chapters outside the United States but they must maintain our rigorous standards. We have been contacting various physicians and PHDs to become founding members and the actual Academy launch should come shortly.

I realized that I may have strayed from my original topic a bit namely my India trip. Perhaps it is because I am at the end of an 18 hour plane ride. My lecture was well received and then I did a few cases in India. I did a demonstration of the new Marrow Cellution needle from Ranfac. This needle is a quantum leap in bone marrow aspiration in that it takes samples from a new geographic area as the aspiration is being performed. This will dramatically increase stem cell yields and in the end better outcomes. I had the honor of doing one case with Dr. E. Kon of the Rizzoli Institute of Italy. It is a world famous facility known for its strides in orthopedics and regenerative medicine. The needle was well received. This was my second lecturing trip to India and I must say I have cultured many more friendships there. In India they are no different than the United States. They are seeking what works and what doesn’t while staying within the guidelines of what is allowed.


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