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Small Setting, Big Services

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LAGRANGE It is easy to assume that larger hospitals have a distinct advantage when it comes to acquiring new technology and procedures, but at Baptist Northeast Orthopedics, the small-town, community hospital atmosphere of the 120-bed Baptist Health LaGrange and a commitment to offer the most effective procedures for patients have only enhanced the practice’s ability to provide comprehensive orthopedic care.

Baptist Northeast Orthopedics, a part of Baptist Surgical Associates, is home to three surgeons – Eugene Jacob, MD, Nicholas Kenney, MD, and Jeremy Statton, MD – and draws patients from Jefferson, Oldham, Shelby, Henry, Trimble, and Carroll counties.

Jacob founded the practice in 1985 and was joined by Statton three years ago. Statton, in particular, has made it a priority to train in the most up-to-date orthopedic techniques. He is the only surgeon at the hospital performing the anterior approach to total hip arthroplasty (THA), in addition to a broad range of other orthopedic procedures, including reverse total shoulder arthroplasty (RTSA).

A Kentucky native, Statton grew up in Owensboro and attended the University of Louisville for college, medical school, and residency. While completing a fellowship in sports medicine at the University of Cincinnati (UC), Statton had the opportunity to work with the Cincinnati Bengals and the UC Bearcats. He also completed a small trauma fellowship in Vienna, Austria.

His broad-based training and skill set also allow him to share his talents through mission work. Statton has been on three trips to Africa, including some time in Kenya. “I’m able to help doctors that are there full-time and interact with doctors in residency during their training there,” he says.

Despite Statton’s travels, the LaGrange community is a perfect fit for his commitment to provide leading-edge care for his patients. “For me personally, I know everybody in the hospital, so when I take care of patients, all the nurses know who I am and they know what I want. They can call me anytime, even when I’m not on call, which I welcome, so we can provide excellent care,” says Statton. He says the same is true of his interactions and communication with consulting physicians.

Shoulder Strong

The shoulder is where Statton’s main area of interest lies. “I do absolutely every problem that can happen in a shoulder,” he says. That includes rotator cuff and labral tears, shoulder arthroscopy, and reconstructive procedures, including RTSA.

RTSA has been around for about a decade and Statton describes it as “a huge development in treatment options for shoulder problems in older folks.” The differentiating factor for RTSA is that rather than just replacing the joint surface, as in most joint replacements, the procedure also addresses the function of chronically torn rotator cuff muscles, improving not only pain, but also function.

Shifting to the Hip

Statton’s interest in shoulder procedures translates to a caseload heavy with shoulder patients. However, that balance has slowly shifted over the last couple of years. “At one point I was probably doing two-thirds shoulder and one-third knees and some hips,” says Statton. That all began to change when Statton began performing the anterior approach for hip replacement two years ago. “Now that I’m doing anterior hip, it has probably changed so it’s 50 percent shoulder, 25–30 percent hips, and 20–25 percent other things,” he estimates.

A desire to provide a full complement of orthopedic services to patients at Baptist Health LaGrange was a driving factor for Statton in seeking out training in the anterior approach. “We want to provide everything we feel comfortable doing for our patients out here, so they don’t feel like they need to go somewhere else,” says Statton. “Because [the anterior approach] has been something that’s advantageous for patient recovery, I decided to learn it so we could also offer that at this hospital.”

The benefits of anterior THA are like those commonly recited for laparoscopic surgery – smaller incisions and quicker recovery. In this case, the anterior approach spares cutting the muscle, facilitating fewer restrictions on post-operative movement than with the posterior approach because of a greatly reduced risk of hip dislocation. Statton says long-term outcomes for both procedures are probably the same at a year but significantly different in the short-term, which appeals to patients.

Another advantage of the anterior approach for the surgeon is better visualization with x-ray, “so you can more accurately assess the anatomy, looking at whether leg lengths are equal on each side, what we call the offsets,” says Statton.

Although there are some obvious benefits to anterior THA, posterior hip replacement is still the norm. “My guess is that still less than 20 percent of surgeons do the procedure with an anterior approach,” estimates Statton. A few reasons for the lack of proliferation of anterior THA may include conflicting reports on early complication rates, the learning curve for established physicians, the approach not being taught universally in residency, and the need for a special table that allows better access to the hip joint. Contraindications for anterior THA can include morbid obesity and previous posterior hip surgery.

Recovery and Beyond

Regardless of the type of orthopedic surgery patients receive, Baptist Health LaGrange offers a number of services that help complete the continuum of care. For total joint replacement patients, the hospital offers a Total Joint Camp, a three-hour program that includes pre-admission testing, a tour of relevant hospital departments, and a presentation to help patients understand what will happen in surgery and what to expect during recovery. The hospital is also equipped to meet all a patient’s post-op rehab needs, including short-term inpatient rehab, home health services, and outpatient rehab.

Sports Medicine is another focus of the practice, and Statton puts his fellowship training to use as one of the team doctors for North Oldham High School.

Whether tending to injuries on the field, in the wild, or simply in the operating room, Statton and Baptist Northeast Orthopedics are taking the extra step to provide the latest treatments for patients in the small-town community of LaGrange.