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Life Lessons

UHS ORTHOPEDIC SPECIALISTS PUT PATIENTS’ BONES AND JOINTS BACK TOGETHER AFTER TRAUMATIC INJURIES

Maribeth Lisnock of Starlight, Pa., had a lot of knee pain and was running late for an appointment with orthopedic surgeon Micah Lissy, MD. In her hurry, she made a mistake she will never repeat. She was backing out of her driveway when she realized she had forgotten something in the house, so she stopped the car and hopped out. What she didn’t realize was that she didn’t put the car in park, so when it started rolling down the driveway, she ran after it. As she was trying to leap into the driver’s seat, the open door knocked her to the ground and the front wheel ran over her ankle, crushing it. “I learned a life lesson,” she says. “Never try to get back into a moving vehicle.”

When she arrived at the UHS Wilson Medical Center Emergency Department, Dr. Lissy happened to be the orthopedist on call and diagnosed a pilon ankle fracture. Her ankle was so badly injured, with multiple fractures in multiple bones, that she was admitted to UHS Binghamton General Hospital, where inpatient orthopedic procedures are performed. There, her leg was stabilized for five days before the swelling was reduced enough for Dr. Lissy, a sports medicine specialist, and Vivien Fongue, DO, an orthopedic trauma specialist, to operate on it.

“I had the IKEA build-a-leg set put in — plates, screws and a bone graft,” jokes Ms. Lisnock, now 66. “Dr. Lissy didn’t pull any punches about how serious it was.”

“We did a fairly sizeable procedure,” Dr. Lissy explains. “We had to open up her ankle adequately to line everything back up and pin it in place with metal plates and screws.”

PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER

UHS Orthopedics doesn’t just put its patients damaged bones and joints back together; it brings together all the pieces needed to help its patients. The physicians coordinate with home care, rehabilitation and physical therapy providers to make sure every patient gets what they need to recover from an orthopedic injury or procedure.

“We communicate and integrate closely with physical therapy and home care. UHS is one system, where everything is connected,” says Dr. Lissy. “All the physical therapists have my direct phone number and call me freely to discuss patient care plans. That’s a big benefit.”

After three more days in the hospital, Ms. Lisnock began a months-long rehabilitation of physical therapy and rest. “I did whatever they told me, but it was a killer for me to spend the summer on the couch with my leg elevated and in a physical therapy office. However, it paid off,” she says.

Dr. Lissy is very pleased with the outcome, and says that Ms. Lisnock’s commitment was a big factor in her recovery, which was rapid considering the extent of the injury. “The doctor’s role is pretty small compared to the work the patients have to do,” he says. “She was a very compliant patient, which always helps, and she was otherwise active and in good health. Even so, she had a miraculous outcome.”

TRAUMA SPECIALISTS

UHS Orthopedics is uniquely qualified to care for complex orthopedic injuries like Ms. Lisnock’s. The practice has recently grown and includes subspecialists in a variety of disciplines, including joint replacement, sports medicine, hand and trauma. Dr. Fongue, an orthopedic surgeon who is fellowship-trained in orthopedic trauma, recently joined UHS, and explains that as a trauma subspecialist he attempts “to return patients to normal function as quickly as possible with techniques that minimize the risk of potential complication. I can take care of more complex injuries that general orthopedic surgeons are not used to seeing.”

While Dr. Fongue can repair just about any type of broken bone, his expertise is essential in complex cases such as pelvis and hip fractures. He is also specially trained to fix poorly healed fractures.

Ms. Lisnock can now do everything she used to do, including running and fly fishing. Her aching knee, which she was on her way to see Dr. Lissy about the day of her injury, has mostly resolved on its own. Nearly a year after her accident, she spent a long day at Disneyland with her grandkids.

“I was nervous about going because I still have some pain from the screws. Thanks to my exercises, a compression sock, some Advil, good sneakers and a glass of wine now and again, I can usually control it,” she says. “However, I was surprised to find that I could handle nine hours at Disneyland! My daughter’s pedometer said we walked 17,000 steps, and at the end of the day we were tired, but I wasn’t crying. I was so happy.”

READ MORE

  • Read more about how Dr. Lissy and the doctors and staff at UHS Sports Medicine get athletes of all kinds back in the game.
PUT AN END TO PAIN

Are you experiencing foot or ankle pain? UHS Podiatry can diagnose and treat conditions such as arthritis, bunions, tendinitis, flat feet or sports injuries. Learn more at a free seminar with Bradley Hart, DPM, at 3:30 p.m. on the first Wednesday of each month.

Does your hip or knee hurt? Learn about treatments including total joint replacement and minimally invasive surgical options at a free seminar by Lawrence Wiesner, DO, of UHS Orthopedics. Join him on Thursday, May 28, July 23, October 8 or November 9 at 3 p.m.

Seminars are held at the UHS Stay Healthy Center at the Oakdale Mall. Call 763-5092 or visit uhs.net to register.



NO BONES ABOUT IT …
UHS Orthopedics sees patients at its offices in Binghamton, Norwich and Sidney. In 2016, a large new comprehensive orthopedic and sports medicine facility will open next door to UHS Vestal. Get more information on UHS Orthopedics.