• Al Thompson

DOCTOR MARK AYZENBERG STARTS HIS LEGACY AT PREMIER ORTHOPAEDIC ASSOCIATES

Updated: Nov 21, 2019


Dr. Mark Ayzenberg is now back and part of the Philadelphia area community. Photo by Al Thompson

There is an old proverb that states “Youth will be served.” It does not matter what walk of life you are talking about, the young will push for their own greatness, their own place in society.


That is the sense you get when you sit and talk with Dr. Mark Ayzenberg. Just 32 year's old, he was an honor student at every level of his journey to become an orthopaedic surgeon.


Now that his education is completed, Dr. Ayzenberg very badly wants to be someone who advances orthopedic medicine to the highest level possible.

His resume suggests he could achieve those goals.


Dr. Ayzenberg graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Biology from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. He then completed medical school at the The Commonwealth Medical College in Scranton, PA as a Doctor of Medicine and graduated with highest honors, at the top of the class.


Dr. Ayzenberg trained at the prestigious Sports, Arthroscopy and Reconstructive Surgery fellowship at the Southern California Orthopedic Institute (SCOI). Prior to his fellowship, Ayzenberg completed his residency at the Einstein Healthcare Network in Philadelphia, where he served as Academic Chief Resident.


In a recent interview Dr. Ayzenberg was asked if he invites challenges.


“Absolutely,” he said without hesitation. “That's probably the reason I joined Premier (Orthopaedic Associates). I interviewed at another place in the area as well and one of the things they told me was 'we're not cowboys here. Don't do anything above the bread and butter stuff.' That was an immediate turnoff for me. I don't want to just be a community orthopedic surgeon that just does simple cases. I want to be the guy that people come to that nobody else can take care of in the area.”


Many orthopaedic surgeons come from a sports background. Many learned of orthopaedic medicine while being treated after a sports injury. That is not the case with Dr. Ayzenberg.

He was born in Russia. His family migrated to the United States when he was just three years old. They started their new life in Philadelphia.


“I'm pretty Americanized, but my family never really watched the Eagles,” Dr. Ayzenberg said.” I don't remember any of Russia. I still speak Russian, but I didn't grow up at typical [American] watching football and basketball. I grew up playing hockey and soccer more than anything else. I didn't get into football more until med school when I played on the flag football team.”


Dr. Ayzenberg continued.

“I wouldn't say I'm the typical ortho story as far as growing up playing bunch of sports ending up in a bunch or orthopedic offices, then being drawn to orthopedics that way.”


A YOUNG MEDICAL STUDENT AND THE 'OPERATION GAME'

Dr. Ayzenberg said he was asked to play "Operation Game" during one of his medical school interviews to see if he got nervous. Photo from ebay.com

As kind of a goof, Dr. Ayzenberg was asked if he had ever played the “Operation Game,” a battery-operated game that tests players' hand-eye coordination and motor skills. It was a hit back in the 50s and 60s at funfairs around the United States before being marketed for households by Milton Bradly.


Ayzenberg tells an amusing story about his first experience with the game.


“It's funny, the first time I played the game in my life was on an interview for medical school, believe it or not. ” Dr. Ayzenberg said with a smile while recalling it. “And then I played it again when I applied for residency in orthopedics.”


Dr. Ayzenberg said the interviewers had the game on site for everyone they interviewed.


“For residency was the worst one,” now warning up to the story. “I'll never forget it. They had three guys. They give you the game 'Operation', one of the guys is asking you questions, one of the guys is making fun of me the whole time and the other guy was just staring me down as I'm trying to play 'Operation' while I'm answering their questions.”


Dr. Ayzenberg said that is par for the course with residency interviews. He said there is actually a reason for the silliness.


“Orthopaedic residency interviews, in part, they try to stress you out,” Dr. Ayzenberg said. “But also it's because they get bored. They just want to have a good time. Once you get that, you don't get stressed out. They just want to see that you are a normal person.”


Dr. Ayzenberg said none of the interviewer's questions were out of line.


“No, no, no...the first one you go to is kind of rough,” he said. “Then you just realize it's just so they have some fun (with you).”


Of course, when it was his turn to do interviews...turn around is fair play.


“When I was a resident interviewing medical student for residency, we got bored after like the third medical student. We tried a lot of fun things to do, although we wouldn't do anything that was too aggressive.”


SPORTS MEDICINE AND THE HUMAN SHOULDER


Dr. Mark Ayzenberg said his interest in treating the shoulder was gradual. He wanted to make sure it was an area he would always have great interest in.

Dr. Ayzenberg said his path to becoming an orthopaedic surgeon was gradual. As a child growing up in Philadelphia he says he always had an interest in medicine.


“My grandpa would say 'you're going to be a doctor when you grow up,” Dr. Ayzenberg recalled. “It was all kind of a joke. But it kind of stuck with me through college. I had other interests, but medicine never went away as an interest and it always stayed central. I wasn't, by any means, pushed into it. If anything, I was suggested away from it, given how people get with medicine.”


But orthopaedics eventually found Ayzenberg.


“Orthopedics? It came pretty late for me,” Dr. Ayzenberg said. “I always had it in the back of my mind as something I liked. But you never know until you spend some time on orthopaedics. In my third year in med school, I spent time in orthopaedics . I ended up seeing a whole bunch of different types of operations and I realized it was the most fun, to me. I didn't think I'd get bored long term. I liked a lot of medicine, but specifically I just found that if I thought about it 15, 20 years down the line, I still don't think I'll be bored.”


Dr. Ayzenberg is a new Orthopaedic Surgeon at Premier Orthopaedic Associates who specializes in Sports Medicine, Arthroscopy, and Reconstructive Surgery. His practice focuses on minimally invasive (arthroscopic “key- hole”) surgery of the shoulder, knee, hip, and ankle, as well as total joint replacements of the shoulder, knee and hip. He also treats general orthopaedic trauma, including dislocations and fracture care.


“I just started with Premier Orthopaedics,” Dr. Ayzenberg said. “I finished fellowship in LA at the Southern California Orthopedic Institute where they have some of the fathers of arthroscopy and sports medicine.”


Dr. Ayzenberg mentioned Dr. Stephen Snyder and Dr. Richard Ferkel as some of those ground breaking orthopedic surgeons.


“Snyder is one of the first to ever do shoulder arthroscopies, he's one of the big names,” Dr. Ayzenberg said. “Richard Ferkel is one of the first that did ankle arthroscopy I wanted to go to a place that's helped develop it over the years and invented a lot of the instruments. They are really some of the epitome of sports surgeons now. So once I finished there, I wanted to come back to the Philadelphia/New Jersey area where my family is from and try to bring the things I saw there, some of which I've never seen in Philadelphia where I trained, as far as the quality of surgery, and types of surgery they did. I wanted to have that back in our area.”


Dr. Ayzenberg said, in addition to sports medicine, he has been drawn to treating the shoulder.


“Shoulder is kind of a passion of mine,” Dr. Ayzenberg said. “It didn't start off that way. But really, after training at my Fellowship it became more of a passion of mine. That place is one of the home bases where this kind of sports shoulder arthroscopy really started....at the Southern California Orthopedic Institute. I have a lot of mentors there, a lot of role models that really helped me build my interest in the shoulder.”


A VOTE OF CONFIDENCE

Thomas A. Dwyer MD, FAAOS, President/CEO of Premier Orthopaedic Associates says Dr. Ayzenberg "brings a tremendous skill set and knowledge base to the region and we are pleased he has chosen to return to his roots."

Dr. Tom Dwyer told Footballstories he is thrilled to have Dr. Ayzenberg on his team


”As President and CEO of Premier Orthopaedic Associates of Southern New Jersey, we are extremely fortunate to have hired Dr. Mark Ayzenberg. He is the consummate professional, dedicated to furthering the standards of Orthopaedic surgery here in Southern New Jersey. He brings a tremendous skill set and knowledge base to the region and we are pleased he has chosen to return to his roots. We look forward to great things to come and welcome him back to our region.”


Dr. Ayzenberg, who played tennis while attending Northeast High School in Philadelphia said he is working with Dr. Dwyer as a volunteer working high sports game for area high schools including St. Augustine Prep and Moorestown High School and the Philadelphia Wings pro lacrosse team.

Dr. Ayzenberg said he likes Premier because it offers him the opportunity to grow.


“Premier is the organization that is already set up as an academic, and they have the infrastructure to be anything they want to be,” said Dr. Ayzenberg, who holds medical licenses in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. “They hired me to cover kind of the Northern end of the campus near West Deptford, Glassboro and Mullica Hill. I'll be the primary sports guy there as Dr. Dwyer and Dr. McAlpin, (Fred, III) will be in the South. I am hoping to build and develop a center of excellence for sports and shoulder [treatment] as an option for people in New Jersey, so they don't necessarily have to cross the bridge (to PA). “


With his enthusiasm to excel, Dr. Ayzenberg is well on the way to achieving those goals.


Medical biography information from poasnj.com


Follow Al Thompson on Twitter @thompsoniii

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