By David Heitz
Take note — Premier Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine is now serving families from its brand new location at 15 Orleans Drive, Hattiesburg.
Whether your daughter has injured her shoulder playing softball, or maybe mom needs a knee or hip replacement, Drs. Jeffrey Burns and Thomas Baylis treat family members of all ages and get them back into the swing of life as quickly as possible.
The new location not only is larger than the previous one but also is easier to access. No more elevators like the old place — everything is on one level. Because many people with orthopaedic problems arrive in wheelchairs, now the caregiver can pull up to the front, wheel the patient right inside the lobby, and go park the car with ease.
And there’s plenty of parking
Dr. Burns, who opened Premier Orthpaedics & Sports Medicine with Dr. Baylis at a previous location in 2008, said the number of Americans needing joint replacements has tripled in recent years. With 11,000 Baby Boomers per day turning 65, this comes as no surprise. The graying of America has begun, and knees and hips simply wear out.
Even patients well into their 80s can safely and successfully get back on their feet again after a knee replacement, so long as they stick to their end of the deal.
Dr. Burns has performed hundreds, if not thousands, of knee and hip replacements. He became the first surgeon in Mississippi to do hip replacements using an anterior muscle sparing approach where no muscles are cut or detached, thus improving the rehabilitation after surgery. He was also the first surgeon to do knee replacements using robotic surgery. This improves the bone cuts and leads to better implant positioning and increased longevity of the implants.
State of the art equipment
Premier Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine is equipped with state-of-the-art equipment intended to make surgical recovery as fast as possible.
Utilizing a special table (only available at Merit Health Wesley), Dr. Burns performs the anterior hip replacement surgery. This means he doesn’t have to detach or cut through muscle that, in the past, had been damaged to allow the necessary exposure of the hip joint. This greatly decreases postoperative pain and shortens recovery times. The anterior method means patients are up and walking almost immediately, with regular activity resuming by six weeks. There are no restrictions placed on them after surgery. They are able to sleep on their side, cross their legs, and sit in any chair they like.
Dr. Burns said he performs between 150 and 200 hip and knee replacements per year, and that number keeps growing. For knee replacements, he uses the Praxim computer-assisted navigation system and the Apex Robotic Technology. The Praxim system allows the surgeon to customize placement of the implant. The system takes a three-dimensional picture of the knee, and the doctor is able to see it in real-time during surgery. The robotic cutting tool then allows the surgeon to make precise cuts to achieve the perfect fit. Burns says, “The better your fit, the less wear that occurs, and the longer it will last.”
Dr. Baylis, sports medicine specialist
Dr. Baylis handles the sports medicine side of things. He specializes in arthroscopic surgery and sports medicine. Arthroscopic surgery is minimally invasive surgery done by placing a camera into the joint through tiny incisions. The vast majority of these patients can go home the same day. Sports medicine deals with issues that are specific to the athlete population. While there is some crossover between the two, Dr. Baylis says, “sports medicine covers a lot of non-surgical areas such as concussions, heat illness, and nutrition.”
Dr. Baylis is a Hattiesburg native who went to high school at North Forrest and college at USM. While at USM, he was in the Athletic Training Program helping to care for the Golden Eagle athletes. “It was working with Athletic Trainers at USM and Trainers and Physical Therapist in the rehab department at then-Methodist Hospital (now Merit Health Wesley) that I learned about orthopaedics and sports medicine.” With their encouragement, he went to medical school at The University Medical Center in Jackson. After medical school, he did his residency in orthopaedics at The University of Tennessee. He then was accepted into fellowship at the prestigious American Sports Medicine Institute in Birmingham, Alabama. There he was able to hone his skills under the tutelage of sports medicine icons such as James Andrews and Larry Lemak. During this year, he was assigned to provide orthopaedics care for Auburn University. He also provided care for several other colleges and high schools while in Alabama.
Since returning to the Pine Belt area, Dr. Baylis has made a name for himself as a shoulder specialist. “I do a lot of shoulder surgery, and it is probably my greatest area of interest. We do a lot of arthroscopic shoulder surgery, and we do a good bit of shoulder replacement surgery, but I still enjoy most areas of orthopaedics, whether doing fracture work, tendon repairs, ligament repairs, or arthroscopy. I am just blessed to be able to come back and work in my hometown.
Ankles, shoulders, knees, and elbows all are vulnerable body parts
Dr. Burns said, “the doctors at Premier Orthopaedics Practice pride themselves on having a good bedside manner. When someone is potentially going to have surgery, they need to fully understand the risks and the realities associated with their recovery. It takes time to explain all of that, and we take our time. We try to convey the medical information to the patients and their family members in plain English. If you can’t bring the medical language down to a level of understanding, the patient leaves the room and doesn’t understand a word you said.”
Sometimes patients aren’t sure if they really want to have surgery, particularly in the case of joint replacements. Dr. Burns said there usually is no reason to feel rushed to make a decision.
Why post-surgical therapy is a must
When it comes to just about any orthopaedics surgery, the post-surgical physical therapy is often just as important as the surgery itself to reach the desired effect. Whether it’s doing a home exercise program or seeing a physical or occupational therapist several times a week, you will likely have to do some form of therapy.
Dr. Burns said some patients don’t seem to understand why therapy is so critical, and he sees where they’re coming from. After suffering from painful joints, the reason you’re having the surgery is because you don’t want to be in pain anymore. Therapy with a replaced knee joint is not totally painless at first.
“I try to keep a close eye on patients and if there’s no progress (in therapy), I’m pretty aggressive about taking them back under anesthesia and stretching out the knee for them,” Dr. Burns said.
“When they’re sitting there and hurting before the surgery, they are motivated. They will tell you anything you want to hear (about committing to post-surgical therapy),” Burns said. “But I still tell them, ‘You’ve got to do therapy or you’re not going to do well.’
When a patient does have a replaced knee become stiff after not doing therapy, he’s reluctant to repeat the process again only to get the same result.
“At the end of the day, making sure the patient is aware of everything that needs to happen and is going to happen before, during, and after the surgery is key to a successful recovery,” Dr. Burns said. “If they don’t understand what you’re telling them, they’re going to assume you don’t care about them, and they’re not going to heed the advice because they don’t feel that connection.”
Many of Dr. Burns’ joint replacement patients are elderly, and Dr. Baylis sees a lot of high school and college athletes, but the practice,“sees patients as young as one-year-old kids to patients who are over 100,” Dr. Burns said. Accidents don’t discriminate. Broken bones happen, and Premier Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine is there to get you going again.
Premier Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine is located at 15 Orleans Drive in Hattiesburg. For more information, or to schedule an appointment, call 601-296-2100, fax 601-296-2106, or visit www.premierorthopaedic.com.
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