What 1 orthopedic surgeon is excited, nervous for in orthopedics

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Venkat Perumal, MD, sees incredible potential in orthopedic innovation and minimally invasive surgery. But some aspects of technological innovation also make him nervous.

Dr. Perumal, an assistant professor of orthopedic surgery at Charlottesville-based University of Virginia, joined the "Becker's Spine and Orthopedic Podcast" to discuss his outlook on orthopedic innovation.

Question: What are you most excited about in the world of orthopedics?

Listen to the full conversation here.

Dr. Venkat Perumal: I'm excited about the new innovations that are coming out now to help the orthopedic surgeons to do their job in an efficient way and help the patient have a faster recovery. One such thing is called a minimally invasive procedure in foot microsurgery. This has taken off pretty fast. There's been ongoing interest in the utility of minimally invasive surgery to correct foot and ankle deformities, which was performed using small target incisions rather than big incisions in the foot. There are multiple benefits with minimally invasive surgery, which includes preservation of blood supply, limited injury to the adjacent tissue, less damage to the nerves, and fewer wound complications as well. 

Today the largest number of minimally invasive techniques has been developed to treat common deformities like bunion procedures, hammertoes deformities, fusion techniques, and then other flat foot deformity correction as well. So I'm pretty excited about this. And I do this at the University of Virginia. I started this a couple of months back. We're doing this successfully as well, and we are training the residents on this.

Q: And what makes you nervous?

VP: Whenever we bring a new technology to help the patients it has a learning curve. It makes me nervous … With this new technology it makes me nervous to implement this to the patients first. That makes me nervous. You have to get trained. You do the labs, you do multiple training sessions, labs, and it always has a learning curve. During the learning curve, it makes me nervous to take this available technology and apply it to the patients. You need to learn first and get used to that. And then you have to teach the residents, because it's a teaching institution. We have to teach residents and fellows as well. So it makes me nervous to initially start bringing in new technology and new innovation.

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