1. What is an Orthopedic Surgeon?

An orthopedic surgeon is a medical doctor who specializes in the treatment of the musculoskeletal system. This system includes bones, joints, muscles, and any related painful conditions.

2. What is a Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (DPM)?

A Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (DPM), or podiatrist is a licensed healthcare professional who is qualified by their education and training to diagnose and treat conditions affecting the foot, ankle and related structures of the leg. Podiatrists are uniquely qualified among medical professionals to treat the foot and ankle based on their education, training and experience.

3. What is a Physician Assistant (P.A.)?

Physician Assistants (P.A.s) are licensed healthcare professionals who practice medicine with physician supervision. As part of the physician/P.A. team, P.A.s diagnose and treat illnesses and injuries. They deliver a broad range of medical and surgical services to diverse populations in both rural and urban settings throughout the United States. Their focus is patient care, which may include education, research, and administrative activities. P.A.s can treat patients when the physician is away from the practice and can write prescriptions.

4. What is a cortisone injection?

Injectable cortisone is synthetically produced and has many different trade names, such as Celestone, Kenalog and Depomedrol, but is a close derivative of your body’s own product. It can be injected into areas of the body that have become inflamed from overuse, injury, or arthritis, with significant relief of symptom. Common areas for injection include the major joints such as hips, knees, or shoulders for arthritis or bursitis. Other problem areas such as tennis elbow, trigger finger, carpal tunnel syndrome or plantar fasciitis in the foot are common sites for injection. Cortisone injections usually work within a few days and the effects can last for several weeks. Often physicians do not want to give more than three cortisone injections at least 3 months apart. If the response is not helpful, repeating it may not be worthwhile.

The most common side effect is a ‘cortisone flare,’ a condition where the injected cortisone can cause a brief period of pain worse than before the shot. This usually lasts a day or two and is best treated by icing the injected area. Careful injection technique is used to decrease the risk of infection. For patients with diabetes, there may be a transient increase in their blood sugar, so it should be monitored closely.

5. What is a Synvisc injection?

Synvisc is a different kind of treatment for patients with OA (OsteoArthritis) of the knee that actually replaces damaged knee fluid in the knee joint. Only your doctor can decide if Synvisc is a good option for you if mild exercise and physical therapy or simple pain relievers like acetaminophen or other anti-inflammatory medications haven’t given enough relief. It is administered directly into the knee, one injection a week for three weeks. It may reduce OA knee pain for up to 6 months, with maximum relief usually 6-8 weeks after the series. Some people may begin to experience pain relief after the first injection of Synvisc, however all three injections are recommended for maximum benefit.

The side effects most commonly seen when Synvisc is injected into the knee were pain, swelling and/or fluid build-up around the knee. Rarely a rash has been seen post injection. Tell your doctor if you are allergic to products from birds, such as feathers, eggs, or poultry.

6. What is arthroscopic surgery?

Arthroscopic surgery is a modern method of performing surgery inside the joint through very small incisions. The incisions are usually about a quarter of an inch in length with two or three incisions per joint necessary. A video camera is attached to the end of a long thin microscope, which is placed inside the joint. Other long, thin, frequently motorized instruments are used to perform surgery inside joints. Knees and shoulders most commonly benefit, but other joints such as ankles, hips, and wrists may also be done.

7. What does the term total joint replacement mean?

Total joint replacement means replacing both sides of the surface of a joint. In the knee it means replacing both the thin cartilage surface on the lower joint surface which is the tibia, and the upper joint surface which is the femur. Also, the joint surface under the kneecap is replaced. This requires removing the thin cartilage surface and a thin surface of bone for replacement with a metal and plastic surface. This allows all movement of the joint to occur between the metal and plastic parts rather than the raw bone left by arthritis.

8. What should I bring to my appointment?

We ask that you bring:

  • Your insurance card or other health coverage information, your driver's license or other photo ID, and your co pay to your appointment.

  • *Please be aware that many insurance carriers require you to have a referral (authorization from your primary care physician) before treatment is provided by a specialist, such as an orthopedist. Please check with your insurance carrier if you have any questions about your plan.

  • A list of prescription medications including doses and how often you take them.

  • Referral if required by your health insurance plan.

  • Any X-rays or MRI’s that have been taken at your PCP or Reliance.

  • If this is your first visit to Orthopedic Associates P.A., please fill out the New Patient History & Physical form and the Payment policy form, available here.

Should you have any general questions prior to your visit, please feel free to contact us at 505-327-1400 and we will be happy to assist you.

9. What do I do if I need my physician after hours?

Emergencies arise occasionally when our patients need to contact our physicians regarding pain or other symptoms. Our clinic always has physicians “on call” in case of after-hours emergencies. If you need to contact an Orthopedic Associates PA physician when the clinic is closed (after hours or on weekends), please call Orthopedic Associates PA at 505-327-1400 and the answering service will notify the physician on call to contact you. For non-emergency prescriptions or prescription refills, please call during normal hours of operation. Please be aware that any request for a prescription or prescription refills prior to 3 p.m. on any business day will be answered in order of receipt on that same day. Any request for a prescription or prescription refills after 3 p.m. will be answered in order of receipt on the following business day. All requests will be addressed as quickly as possible.

10. How do I get medical records?

If you need to request medical records or films from our office, please be aware that it could take up to 10 business days for you to receive your records. We will make every effort to fulfill all medical records requests as quickly as possible. You will need to fill out the authorization for release of records, available on line here. Please contact us at 505-327-1400 to request a copy of your medical records or should you have any questions regarding your medical records.

11. What do I need to know if I need surgery?

Our physicians perform surgeries at Four Corners Surgery Center and San Juan Regional Medical Center. Needing to have surgery is a very anxious time for anyone, whether you have had previous surgeries or not. In order to make the experience a better one for our patients, you will be provided with detailed information about when to arrive at the surgery center or hospital and what to expect after your surgery has been completed. When packing your bags to go to the hospital, remember to pack the following: Any specific, individualized instructions/information provided to you by your physician. A complete list of all prescribed and nonprescription medications that you are taking. Loose, comfortable clothing (including shorts). Athletic or walking shoes. Insurance/Workers’ Compensation information. Picture I.D.

12. How do I refill a medication prescription?

Orthopedic Associates PA providers will only refill medications they have originally prescribed. Please double check the name of the ordering provider before contacting our office for a refill. It is best to notify us at the time of your office appointment. If that is not possible, please contact your pharmacy and they will contact us directly. Medications will not be refilled at night and on weekends.