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Entries in Orthopedic (1)

Thursday
May192011

Bone Doc, 74, Keeps Patients Working Longer

Courtesy of Jefferson University(PHILADELPHIA) -- When his alarm clock rings at 5 a.m., Dr. Richard Rothman can't wait to get up and go to work. In a typical week, the Philadelphia-based orthopedic surgeon replaces about 20 hips and knees. The procedure allows people with arthritis to keep leading productive lives into old age -- an opportunity that Rothman, 74, considers a privilege.

"I love going to work. And I really believe people should keep working as long as they can," Rothman said. "It's good for you!"

Arthritis is the most common cause of disability among adults in the United States, limiting the lives of nearly 21 million people, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"If you can't stand or walk, it's very hard to earn a living, keep a family together and enjoy life," Rothman said. "Right at the center of economic and physical well being is that your joints have to work. You wear out [a] hip or knee, and it really limits your ability to stay productive and healthy."

Since performing one of the nation's first total hip replacements 42 years ago, Rothman has replaced more than 25,000 hips and knees. The physically taxing procedure, which swaps the boney joint for a prosthetic usually made of titanium and hard plastic, revolutionized the treatment of arthritis.

Joint replacement surgery is on the rise and is expected to keep rising as the population ages. Between 1996 and 2006, the number of total hip and knee replacements increased by 30 percent and 70 percent respectively, according to a CDC report.

With the generous gift of a philanthropic patient pleased with his new hips, Rothman founded and built the Rothman Institute in Philadelphia -- an orthopedic center that employs 80 top surgeons performing 18,000 operations a year. The institute, Rothman said, is a dream come true.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio