Is Newer Better?

Is Newer Better?

Many times, the most effective treatments and devices have been around for decades, and more expensive or newer devices provide no improvement in care or outcome.  Still, physicians are inundated with new products and devices promising superiority, and we evaluate them because we have an obligation to use best practices and offer our patients the best care possible.

And every so often a new device comes to market that brings a major shift in how we practice.  Here are two examples:

First is the latest generation of implant to stabilize and correct flat foot. This 15 - minute outpatient surgery has the ability to change how we treat pediatric or adult flat foot. While not all flat feet are the same, where it is appropriate this implant (Hyprocure) allows much earlier functional return. This device has the proven ability to lessen recovery time and provide for lasting effects. It is also easily reversible, which in surgery uncommon.

Second is the latest advance in arthritis treatment of the big toe joint. The Cartiva has been shown in studies to reduce big toe joint pain  by 93%, improve function by 168%, improve range of motion by 50% and take as little as 30 minutes to perform. Until now, surgeons have been replacing or fusing joints, with few other options. The other options are still available for patients for whom the device does not work.

In practice we love to use the latest advances. We have seen wonderful new advances in orthobiologics, stem cell applications, minimal incision surgeries, arthroscopy, endoscopy, and bone and cartilage repair.  Our plates and screws are now more advanced and imaging is magnificent.

So yes, medicine changes slowly and there are techniques that have stood the test of time. But, every so often....newer is better....

Author
Dr. Mark Jones Dr. Mark Jones, DPM with the Methodist Physician Group in Merrillville, IN specializes in all things podiatry: diagnosis and treatment of conditions that affect the foot and ankle. Dr. Jones underwent training at the William Scholl College of Podiatric Medicine with honors in clinical studies. He went on to complete his surgical residency training, acting as chief resident in his section. He received national recognition after obtaining advanced training in a complex nerve surgery.

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