Although several of his offices are in Central Jersey, the Philadelphia native remains loyal to his Eagles
There are no stories about a sports injury in the early life of Orthopedic surgeon Dr. Arthur K. Mark that would his explain his passion to become an orthopedic surgeon.
Yes, he was a jock, competing as a swimmer and in water polo, mostly on club teams, but no stories of heroic doctors who inspired him to become a surgeon.
“Not really,” said Dr. Mark, who owns the Seaview Orthopaedics and Medical Associates in Freehold and other locations throughout central and southern New Jersey. “I'm one of the few. Most of my friends always have that story. I, actually love working with my hands. I've always enjoyed building things and working. When I was in medical school, it was one of the few subjects I really enjoyed. I really love surgery. With orthopedics, being able to fix things and being a sports fan all these years was kind of one of my favorite things.”
FLY EAGLES FLY
Another favorite of Dr. Mark is the Philadelphia Eagles.
Dr. Mark wears an Eagles tie to work every morning. This day, the Philadelphia native walks across the parking lot of his Freehold, NJ building headed to his car, a man drives by in a pickup truck and yells “Go Cowboys!” It is obvious the gentleman is sending Dr. Mark a message.
Everyone at Seaview Orthopaedics knows about Dr. Mark’s passion for the Birds and they are not afraid to kid him about it. It is a love that started during his youth.
Dr. Mark said he attended his first Eagles game when he was 12 or 13 years old.
“Probably in the 80s,” Dr. Mark remembered. “My father took me to a game when I was younger. My parents were not big Eagles fans. I (only) went once or twice when I was in grade school. But once I went to college, I started going a lot. And when I came back to Philly from medical school, I tried to get to at least one or two games a year. Now that I live further north, outside in New Jersey I still try to catch two games a year at least.”
DR. MARK SIMPLY LIKES TO WORK WITH HIS HANDS
Although there was no personal injury moment that sparked his interest in orthopedics, Dr. Mark readily admits he was drawn to the sports world, the athletic community and active people in general. He wanted to do what he can do to help keep everyone healthy and active in what they enjoy doing.
“Yes, that was one of the things,” Dr. Mark said. “I really enjoyed surgery, working with my hands. It was one of my favorite things at helping people.”
Some charities work on just getting donations from people. Other nonprofits depend on people donating their time and physically being there to help. Dr. Mark was asked if he would always be inclined to being there and working.
“Yeah, the same idea,” Dr. Mark said. “I do some volunteering; I do a lot of charity work at local hospitals here.”
Dr. Mark said he is not out on the sidelines of high school sporting events, but his practice does.
“My practice is the team doctor for the Lakewood Blue Claws,” he said. “And we do a lot of the high school football teams locally. We also volunteer our time to help out the community.”
GET TO KNOW DR. MARK
According to his website, Dr. Mark, is a Board-Certified orthopedic surgeon. He received his medical degree from Temple University School of Medicine and his orthopedic training at Albert Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia.
Dr. Mark also possesses a Degree in Biomedical Engineering from Johns Hopkins University.
He completed a Fellowship in Adult Reconstruction (Total Joints and Joint Revisions) at a very well known program at Massachusetts General Hospital at Harvard Medical School. His Program Director, Dr. Harris, is world renowned for his expertise and advances in procedures for joint replacement.
In addition to his expertise as a joint specialist, Dr. Mark practices general orthopedics and Orthopaedic Trauma Care.
SPORTS MEDICINE AND YOUNGER PATIENTS
Dr. Mark says he concentrates on hip and knee replacements and has several partners who only do sports medicine and take care of younger people and concussion care is part of that.
“I do more of the older population,” Dr. Mark said. “But it is getting younger. It's the ex-sports injuries that come and get them when they are 30 and 40 years old. A lot of them come see me.”
More and more younger people are getting joint replacements. There is a good reason why. The hip and knee replacement parts, like those made by Zimmer Biomet, are able to last much more longer.
In the past younger people would simply put up with the pain an inconvenience of an achy joint because of fear that he or she will have to get the procedure done over and over as they age. Not so anymore.
“(Products) should last 20-30 years,” Dr. Mark said. “We've gotten the surgery down where a lot of times we can do surgery the same day and go home and not have to stay in the hospital anymore. That's the biggest thing that has happened over the last couple years. That is from the advancement of pain control, surgical techniques and better implants.”
PUSHING BACK ON USE OF OPIOIDS
Dr. Mark talked about advances made with orthopedic surgery with regards to cutting back and in some case, eliminating opioids as an option for pain medicine.
“It's a huge priority,” Dr. Mark said. “I've seen a major shift in my practice in the last two years. We used to give out a lot of narcotics and now it's very rare. My average patient is off narcotics within a week. Which is a huge deal...and that's for major surgery like a knee or hip replacement. We find a lot of non-narcotic ways to manage pain.”
Dr. Mark spoke about the different ways to manage pain.
“We use a lot of non-narcotic medication like anti-inflammatories and Tylenol,” Dr. Mark said. “We also use a lot of blocks. Blocks are probably the most important, numbing the area for long periods of time after the surgery to eliminate the narcotic use after the surgery.”
There is now a push to get the patient to actually train before surgery in an effort to strengthen the area the surgery is to be performed on.
“We now have classes before the surgery that teach you what to expect, so you do the exercises” Dr. Mark said. “The more you know before the surgery, the less apprehensive you are. The patients are much more prepared. They know what to expect afterwards.”
Part of that conversation is about how much discomfort he or she will experience after surgery.
“I tell my patients to expect to have some pain,” he continued. “And it's okay. Before, when the narcotics companies would say his pain should be zero...you can't get zero pain after surgery.”
How important is it for Dr. Mark, as an owner of a medical group to be a leader in reducing pain medicine use?
“We try to avoid narcotics at all costs,” Dr. Mark said. “You think it's reasonable to have some (narcotics). The amount and the usage today are very important. It's a last resort. As a medical group we discourage it across our whole group. We also have specialists that are pain management...that if you are on medication, to get you off safely and quickly, because that is important long-term. But the whole medical community has to do it. If you have one weak link then they're the ones that give the medication. There's only a few people out there that give us a bad reputation.”
THE FUTURE OF ORTHOPEDICS
Mark talked about the future of orthopedics including Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy, which uses injections of a concentration of a patient’s own platelets to accelerate the healing of injured tendons, ligaments, muscles and joints. In this way, PRP injections use each individual patient's own healing system to improve musculoskeletal problems (www.hss.edu)
“There's still a lot of things for the future of surgery,” Dr. Mark said. “There are things that can improve your recovery, things like PRP injections. The physical therapy and stretching, sports science will hopefully prevent injuries...but from the back end the surgery techniques and the instruments we use and the implants that we use get better every year. The technology is making the surgery less invasive and hopefully get people back on the field quicker.”
Is the orthopedic medical community Any closer to being able to make artificial cartilage?
“I still think we're pretty far away,” Dr. Park said, then started to laugh. “If we had figured that out, I wouldn't be doing knee replacements, just doing artificial cartilage replacement.! I wish that would happen but that is still a pretty long way off.”
The Doctor continued: “The nice part of what I do with the replacement is we can actually take something very bad and make it almost normal again. Also taking away pain, restoring your function with something that will last 20 to 30 years. I look at a knee replacement like capping a tooth. If your tooth is rotted, cap it.”
In the meantime, with dedicated orthopedic surgeons like Dr. Mark, we are all in good hands. *
Follow Al Thompson on Twitter @thompsoniii
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