Dr. Alberto Martinez, Sports Medicine/ Orthopedic surgeon


Dr. Martinez (right) in the operating room

(Out of respect for patient privacy – I’ve done my best to crop the patient ‘bits’ from the photo.)

Spent some time last week with Dr. Alberto Martinez of Med-Sports Orthopedic Clinic here in Bogotá.  Dr. Martinez specializes in arthroscopic surgery of the hips, knees and shoulders.   As we talked about before, shoulder surgery is its own subspecialty in orthopedics due to the increased complexity of this joint.

We talked a bit about hip arthroscopy,which is still a relatively new procedure in orthopedics and the fact that one two surgeons in Bogota are currently performing this procedure.

Arthroscopy is the orthopedic minimally invasive counterpart to general surgery’s laparoscopy or thoracic surgery’s thoracoscopy.  It involves insertion of a camera and several tools through small (1 cm) incisions in the skin.  Arthroscopy itself has been used in orthopedics for many years but it is just now making inroads in hip procedures.

I’ll be publishing an upcoming article based on my observations over at ColombiaReports.com

For more information

Rath E, Tsvieli O, Levy O. (2012).  Hip arthroscopy: an emerging technique and indications.  Isr Med Assoc J. 2012 Mar;14(3):170-4.

Haviv B, O’Donnell J. (2010). The incidence of total hip arthroplasty after hip arthroscopy in osteoarthritic patients.  Sports Med Arthrosc Rehabil Ther Technol. 2010 Jul 29;2:18

The authors found that 16% of patients in their study eventually required hip replacement after hip arthroscopy during seven years follow-up.

Nord RM, Meislin RJ. (2010).  Hip arthroscopy in adults.  Bull NYU Hosp Jt Dis. 2010;68(2):97-102. Review.

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Thank you, Dr. Francisco Cabal


I would like to thank Dr. Francisco Cabal – an orthopedic surgeon and director of Clinica del Country/ Hospital de la Mujer.  A few nights ago, a Colombian friend was seriously injured in a motorcycle accident – and the worried family asked me for help, so I called Dr. Cabal.

He was absolutely fantastic in making sure the family was up-to-date on the status of their loved one while she was in surgery, addressing all of their concerns and helping to relieve some of their anxiety.

I wanted to be sure to thank him on this (semi-public) forum, because I want readers to realize that medicine here is very different from the United States, in that  – most often, if you ask for help; people will go out of their way to provide it.  (I suspect given the time of day when I contacted Dr. Cabal – he was probably enjoying a nice supper or time with his family) but he had information for the family in just a few minutes..

Sometimes, at home, (the USA),  there is a barrier, or ‘gatekeeping’ that keeps us from our providers – and can make situations like this more difficult.  But here in Colombia, as I’ve said before – the doctors give you their cell phone numbers and emails because they want you to call if you have questions or concerns..

And when you do call – you are getting their personal phones, so you won’t be routed to a secretary or left on hold for twenty minutes.. [the only exception is during surgery].

Does this privilege get abused at times?  Certainly, which is what makes it more impressive that these doctors stay accessible to their patients.  [We’ve all  encountered obnoxious customers in all lines of work – medicine and health in no exception.]

Looks like Panama may bite off more than they can chew..


In a recently published story, the government of Panama is now offering medical  insurance for all tourists to Panama for free.  This insurance is not  ‘Complication Insurance’ which is offered by private surgeons in Colombia and other countries for patients traveling specifically for medical tourism.  Complication insurance covers all possible medical complications resulting from medical procedures at the designated clinic or destination..

No – Panama is taking the European and socialized medicine approach and is offering general medical coverage for ALL short-term travelers to Panama.  (The long-term exclusion is a wise move given the numbers of Americans and other overseas residents who make Panama their retirement home.)  This insurance resembles typical travel policies in that it covers injuries, accidents and other medical situations that may occur while on vacation..  I just hope the Panamanian government hasn’t underestimated its tourists and their injury/ illness potential.

Now readers – don’t get any wild ideas.. This is not the time to stress that ‘trick knee’ while hiking to visit the Naso-Teribes..

Meanwhile, Costa Rica is making a pitch for more corporate clients such as Pepsi-Cola.  These multi-national corporations can potentially bring hundreds of millions of healthcare dollars by diverting their employees to medical tourism destination such as Costa Rica.  (Like Colombia – Costa Rica is an ideal destination for North Americans due to proximity, quality and diversity of services available.)

Now available in the Kindle Lending Library!


Now you can read Bogotá! for free in the Kindle lending library..  (I hope this inspires some generosity among critics for impoverished medical writers – leave some positive feedback about the book!!)

 

 

Images of Surgery in Colombia


I have published several Images of Surgery in Colombia to the web to give outsiders a glimpse into the operating rooms here in Bogota.  But since Yahoo! has overhauled their site – I will publish images here for readers, including photos from some of my other travels (Mexico, Medellin).

However, please do not use/ copy/ alter these images without my express written permission.  (All photos by K. Eckland)

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Dr. Mauricio Largacha, orthopedic surgeon


Dr. Mauricio Largacha is an orthopedic surgeon specializing in shoulder and elbow surgery including arthroscopy, rotator cuff repair and joint replacement.  I’ll be following him to the operating room this weekend – so check back in for more details..

For readers unfamiliar with orthopedic surgery – ankle and shoulder joint surgeries are a particular sub-specialty only practiced by a few orthopedic surgeons.  Luckily for readers here – Dr. Largacha is the author of several of the most heavily used textbooks (and chapters in American medical textbooks) on both ankle and shoulder surgery.

New article at Colombia Reports.com


Bogota’s Hottest Young Surgeons is my latest article on Colombia Reports – talking about some of the great young surgeons here in the capital;

1. Dr. Juan Pablo Umana (cardiac surgeon)

2/3. Dr. Ivan Santos and Dr. Freddy Sanabria, (plastic surgeons)

4. Dr. Costanza Moreno (orthopedics)

5.  Dr. Juan Carlos Garzon (thoracic surgeon) and

6. Dr. Jose Felix Castro (general surgeon)

and some of the things they are doing (which all of my loyal readers already know all about!)

It was a different style of writing than I am used to – but I enjoyed it, and hope to do another article in the future.

Update: After getting a few requests – I’ve re-posted the article here.  (But, I’d appreciate it if you went to Colombia Reports anyway, so the editors can know how many people are reading the articles – and hope that they will publish more in the future!)

From Colombia Reports.com

Bogota’s Hottest Young Surgeons
Don’t let their youth fool you. These young Bogota surgeons are well versed in the latest technologies and the newest surgical techniques, and are changing the face of, and bringing new sophistication to the capital’s medical community.

Colombia news - docDr. Juan Pablo Umana, 46, Cardiac surgeon

A Bogota native, Dr. Juan Pablo Umana, with his Stanford education, quintessential rugged good looks and a refreshing outlook, brings a California flavor to Fundacion Cardioinfantil, where he has been the Chief of Adult Cardiac Surgery since 2004.  He, along with Dr. Nestor Sandoval have ushered in a new era of Cardiac Surgery in Bogota with a expanding and state-of-the-art cardiac surgery service line.  Notably, in 1997, Dr. Umana along with Dr. Memhet Oz invented the first mitral clip for percutaneous valve repair. During surgery, he is focused, meticulous and unflappable.  Despite being the most senior of the surgeons listed here, he is just hitting his stride.

Colombia news - doc

Dr. Ivan Adolfo Santos, 41, Plastic Surgeon

Dr. Ivan Santos operates at Clinica Shaio, and is one of a trio of celebrity plastic surgeons here in Bogota. Genetically blessed, he looks ten years younger than his 41 years. In spite of his boyish good looks and shy nature, Dr. Santos is a confident and talented surgeon; more importantly, he gets results. Watching Dr. Santos operate is similar to watching a symphony conductor orchestrate classic music composures with 160 musicians. He never misses a beat, and he is simultaneously aware of everything around him. With his precision in the operating room and aggressive post-operative therapies, patients recover faster, with less pain, and leave his office looking and feeling their best.

Colombia news - doc

Dra. Constanza Moreno Serrano, 40, Orthopedic Surgeon

Dra. Constanza Moreno is orthopedic surgeon specializing in hand and microsurgery such as digital reattachment after traumatic injury, reconstructive surgery and correction of congenital deformities. After training with the famed Dr. Harold Kleinert and Dr. Breidenbach III in Louisville, Kentucky, she returned to Bogota in 2005.  She is currently developing a hand transplant program for victims of landmines. Next week, she is presenting her proposal at the International Hand and Composite Tissue Allotransplantation Society in Atlanta, Georgia.

Colombia news - doc

Dr. Juan Carlos Garzon, 39, Thoracic Surgeon

Dr. Juan Carlos Garzon is a man of action; operating at several facilities across Bogota. Trained in Hong Kong, Dr. Garzon excels at the more difficult thoracic cases. As one of just a few board-certified thoracic surgeons in Colombia, he is using video-assisted thoracoscopy to able to treat complex disease with minimal incisions.  He is also teaching this technique to surgeons across Colombia. During cases, he is relaxed, controlled and ready for anything.

Colombia news - doc

Dr. Freddy Sanabria S., 38, Plastic Surgeon

Dr. Freddy Sanabria, a young Richard Gere look-a-like, makes his own pretty women as one-half of the Sanabria plastic surgery practice. Trained at the University of Pennsylvania and Stanford University, he brings skill, dedication and the latest cosmetic innovations to a well-established surgical clinic. While operating, he is confident, focused and detail oriented, and his surgical team anticipates his every need.

Colombia news - doc

Dr. Jose Felix Castro, 37, General Surgeon

Dr. Jose Felix Castro is a staff surgeon at Clinica del Country. This magna cum laude academic scholar is one of a few of the talented young general surgeons in Bogota who have embraced single port laparoscopy, which means abdominal surgery without a scar. While Dr. Castro is the youngest of our line up, he brings a wealth of experience to the operating room.

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