Newer Orthopedic Surgical Techniques

Newer Orthopedic Surgical Techniques Are Bringing Greater Results To Patients

Orthopedic procedures are skyrocketing in Canada due to the aging Baby Boomer population. High on the list are hip and knee replacements. These are considered major surgeries and in years past, required overnight stays in the hospital with a long recovery period. Newer orthopedic surgical techniques and procedures are now available to make the surgery out-patient vs inpatient with a less invasive approach. This has the patient up and moving within hours of the surgery and a much quicker recovery. 

Posterior Approach 

In years past, these surgeries were done posteriorly, which entered through the back side of the knee or hip. This required a large incision, cutting through the muscle and other soft tissues. In the case of a hip, a wide piece of fibrous soft tissue at the top of the outer thigh was cut and the large gluteus maximus muscle that attaches to it. The surgeon would cut the external muscles that connect the top of the femur to the pelvis. These are the muscles that provide hip stability preventing dislocation out of the back of the hip socket. The muscles are repaired and reattached at the end of the surgery. This approach provides a good view of what they are doing to the surgeon, thus the preferred approach for most. 

Having a posterior approach would require at least 2-3 days stay in a hospital and then 2-3 weeks of physical therapy in a rehab hospital. There is a much longer process for healing and mobility with this approach. 

Anterior Approach 

The Anterior approaches is preformed through the front of the hip or knee.  This technique requires a very skilled doctor. Not all physicians are trained to do this approach, furthermore, there are not many surgeons in Canada offering it at this time. While both techniques provide you with the same overall outcome, there are greater benefits to doing the replacement(s) anteriorly. Some of those are: 

.–  Lower rates of infection

–Sparing the muscles and tendons, allowing the patient to move the joint duringrecovery

–  Less pain

–  Faster recover time

–  Improved mobility

–  Reduced scarring

–  Improved stability

–  Reduced risk for dislocation after surgery

–  No overnight hospital stay

 Patients who have undergone direct anterior procedures have reported post operative pain and discomfort markedly less than traditional approaches. Recovery is expedited and they are able to resume normal actives sooner.

Microdiscectomy For The Spine 

Microdiscectomy for the spine is the most common minimally invasive spine surgery procedures being done. Like traditional posterior hip and knee approach, traditional discectomies are done with a 6-8” incision that requires cutting through the back muscles. This technique has significant muscle damage with a slow, painful recovery. 

Microdiscectomy is preformed with advanced technology that uses an endoscope

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 Microdiscectomy is preformed with advanced technology that uses an endoscope. This only requires a tiny incision the size of a pin and is able to burrow through the muscles as opposed to cutting through them. The endoscope is removed and the heart muscle closes naturally. Per Chiropractor and rehab therapist Dr. Amy Cannutta, this allows for less down time, greater results, less pain and practically no infection rate. Her experience has also seen people’s recovery period much easier and quicker than traditional discectomy. 

Which Surgical Technique Is Right For You? 

Just like any surgery, only your doctor will know what is the right approach for your situation. Not everyone is a candidate for Microdiscectomy or an Anterior Approach for hip or knee replacement. If you are ever in doubt or would like to explore an alternate approach, solicit a second opinion. Health Vantis can help you with this. Contact us today at or 877-344-3544 as we have facilities that offer these techniques and are able to provide you with a second opinion. 

Health Vantis


Avoid Running Injuries – Yes, Stretch!


May is the perfect month to get some outside running under your belt. Multiple health benefits of running have been established. However, runners are prone to injury. Common running injuries vary in intensity and severity from blisters to iliotibial band syndrome and may include the following:

  • pulled muscles
  • chafing
  • runner’s knee
  • ankle sprain
  • patellar tendinitis
  • shin splints
  • plantar fasciitis
  • Achilles tendinitis.

If you are training for a marathon or just casually running in your neighborhood keep these tips in mind as you go through your training

Stretch to avoid running injuries

Some of you may think – “thank you captain obvious”, but in practice, stretching can be daunting for a runner as it is slow and unpleasant. However, never rush through this hugely important step.  Spend about 10 min slowly stretching your calves, hamstrings, glutes and quads after each run. Hold stretches for 30 to 90 seconds.

Hydrate and eat a well-balanced diet

Ensure you are well hydrated by drinking 16-20 oz of fluids 2 hours prior to training and another 8-10 oz after. The best foods every runner should include in his or her meal plan are bananas, oats, peanut butter, potatoes, broccoli, whole grain pasta, yogurt and dark chocolate.

Include strength training in your running program

Strength training helps bones, ligaments and muscles endure the grunt of running. It improves your overall athleticism and reduces muscle fatigue that leads to poor performance and injuries. Runners will benefit from a program of 2-3 strength training sessions per week. Make sure to include the exercises that train your lower body, upper body and core.

Increase your distance gradually

Give your body a chance to prepare gradually to handle the workout stress of running.  Slowly build up the amount of training and intensity. It should be a staircase progression in volume and intensity, with periods of reduced volume and intensity at certain times during your training.

Invest in a good pair of running shoes

Find a good local running shop and have them analyze your running style. A good running shop specialist will be able to help select a pair for your particular foot type and style of running. Use orthotic inserts if you need a correction specific to your foot structure.

Health Vantis


How to Choose the Best Hospital For Your Surgery

How to Choose the Best Hospital For Your Surgery

If your doctor determined that a surgery is necessary for you to get better, you are probably wondering where to have it done. With many options in medical travel care around the globe, how do you choose? In this blog, we will talk about some points to consider when searching for the best hospital to have a procedure done.

Like most people, you are probably looking to for a facility that has the best outcomes for the type of surgery you are seeking, offers quality care before, during and after the procedure and has comfortable amenities for recovery. We offer you some insights into what to look for and how to obtain the information needed.

Accreditations and Awards

First and foremost, ensure that a hospital of your choice is a reputable one. There are a few companies that offer hospital accreditations. The most known one is Joint Commission International (JCI), which is considered a gold standard in global healthcare. Other organizations such as Accreditation Canada and Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care (AAAHC) provide for a way to tell that the facility has met the accredited body health care standards. Many good hospitals are also winners of various awards in excellent care. All this information can be found on the hospital’s website. Ensure you know what the accreditation and award organizations check and rate.

Important hospital statistics

The next step would be to look at a hospital infection, re-admission and mortality rates and compare it to a state, province or country average. This should also be available on the hospitals’ website. Some hospitals make it a point to tell their patients what they are doing about lowering those rates, which is an indicator of being proactive and caring about the outcomes.  Also, check with the states’ or provinces’ department of health. Many of them now require monitoring for serious reportable events or incidents (SRE/SRI) – preventable, adverse events that are unambiguous, and largely, if not entirely preventable, such as operating on a wrong body part, performing a wrong surgery and so on.

When researching a hospital, look for a number of surgeries performed a year for your particular type of surgery. It takes practice to become an expert and there is proficiency in numbers.   Ask the hospital if they have a floor for recovery and an operating room just for your type of surgery.  Nurse to patient ratio is also used to assess the quality and ease of access to pre- and post-surgery care.

Brand names vs smaller facilities

Famous names and large hospitals are not always the best for your type of procedure.  Smaller regional hospitals can do a better job at a better price. Smaller cities can be easier to access with less traffic, more parking and larger hospital rooms.  Many smaller independent surgical facilities employ surgeons that also operate at large brand-name hospitals.

Finding out the pros and cons of the different facilities can be time-consuming and confusing.  Health Vantis can do all the legwork for you and present you with 2-3 options so that you can focus on getting better.  Contact us for your free 1-hour consultation to learn more.

Health Vantis


Bell Lets Talk Day January 31st 2018




Today, January 31st is Bell Let’s Talk Day. It marks the 8th year of the initiative dedicated to moving mental health forward in Canada.  On Bell Let’s Talk Day, Bell will donate towards mental health initiatives in Canada, by contributing 5¢ for every applicable text, call, tweet, social media video view and use of our Facebook frame or Snapchat filter. Bell’s total donation to mental health programs now stands at $86,504,429.05 and they are well on their way to donating at least $100 million through 2020.

One of the biggest challenges in addressing mental health issues is that people prefer not to talk about it because of stigma. Bell is trying to end this stigma by supporting the mental health initiatives and encouraging people to talk to others about mental health and mental illness.

So what is mental health? According to Canadian Mental Health Association, it means striking a balance in all aspects of your life: social, physical, spiritual, economic and mental. Reaching a balance is a learning process. At times, you may tip the balance too much in one direction and have to find your footing again. Your personal balance will be unique, and your challenge will be to stay mentally healthy by keeping that balance.[1]

Mental illness is a disease or sickness, just like any other physical illness. It causes mild to severe disturbances in thought and/or behavior, resulting in an inability to cope with life’s ordinary demands and routines.  It can take many forms.  Mental illnesses are still feared and misunderstood by many people, but the fear will disappear as people learn more about them. If you, or someone you know, has a mental illness, there is good news: all mental illnesses can be treated.[2]

Whether it is mental illness or mental health, Health Vantis stands to help with ending stigma and keep the conversation open about mental health issues.  You can help by participating in Bell Lets Talk today in 5 ways:

  1. Consider the language you use in mental health conversations. Words matter!
  2. Educate yourself about mental health and mental illness
  3. Be kind. You do not know another person’s life or circumstances, so their behavior may be strange to you yet it may be a sign of distress for them.
  4. Listen and ask. Express your concern and compassion and offer help
  5. Break the silence. Talk about it in a positive way.

More information about Bell Lets Talk day can be found here.



Lower Back Pain? What about a Facet Rhizotomy?

Facet Rhizotomy

A large number of Canadians suffer from lower back pain, often left with an inability to work or enjoy their daily activities.  In some cases, their options are limited due to lack of resources or the long wait time they have to endure to get treatment.  The facet joints are often the primary source of back pain. Facet joints are small joints located in pairs on the back of the spine.  They provide stability to the spine and allow the spine to move and be flexible.

Depending on where the problematic facet joints are located, they can cause pain in the mid-back, ribs, chest (thoracic facet joints), lower back, abdomen, buttocks, groin, or legs (lumbar facet joints), neck, shoulders, and even headaches (cervical facet joints).

The most common treatment is a facet joint injection of steroid medication. The injections not only provide pain relief, but they can also help the physician pinpoint exactly where the pain originates and can confirm or reject the facet joints as the source of the pain. Most of the time these provide adequate relief, however, the pain relief is too short-lived. For these patients, facet rhizotomy (also called radiofrequency rhizotomy) may be an alternative.  Unfortunately, this procedure is limited in Canada.  Health Vantis has great news!  We have facilities in the US that are equip to do these.

The goal of a facet rhizotomy is to provide pain relief by “shutting off” the pain signals that the joints send to the brain. The nerves causing the pain are ablated, in laymen terms, burnt/killed.  The pain relief experienced by most patients who have this procedure lasts months or even years.  Patients who are candidates for rhizotomy have typically have undergone several facet joint injections to verify the source and exact location of their pain.

The procedure is done by using a local anesthetic and x-ray guidance, a needle with an electrode at the tip is placed alongside the small nerves to the facet joint. The electrode is then heated, with a technology called radiofrequency, to deaden these nerves that carry pain signals to the brain.  Note: The nerve will re-generate over time so this is not a cure but a way to treat your pain more long term.  Serious complications are rare.  The procedure takes about 30-60 minutes and the patient is able to leave with no restrictions shortly thereafter.  The effects of the procedure usually take 7-10 days to fully take affect.

If you suffer from back pain and think you could be a candidate for this, please contact us to see if we can help!

Dupuytren Contracture and FDA Non-Surgical Treatment Available with Our Doctors

Dupuytren contracture is an abnormal thickening and tightening of the normally elastic tissue beneath the skin of the palm and fingers. This causes the cords to tighten or contract making the finger(s) curl forward.  In severe cases, it can leave people with deformed hands or crippling.

Dupuytren’s disease typically starts at the age of 50 to 60, though even children have been reported to suffer from it.  It is more prevalent in men than women. Dupuytren’s disease seems to be fairly wide-spread in both Europe as in the USA and Canada. A recent survey in Belgium found that 1/3 of the population over 50 shows signs, including sub-clinical symptoms.

Outside of steroid injections and stretching, surgery used to be the only option for people with this disorder, which is very painful and a long recovery time.  There is a relatively new, FDA approved, non-surgical procedure available to those who have this, however, there are limited doctors in Canada trained to do it.  We work with US doctors that are able to administer this treatment.  If you or someone you know has been referred to have a surgery for this kind of hand ailment, please contact us as we may be able to offer a non-surgical procedure.


*Updated 3/4/19