News Blog

When 'Sticks and Stones' Break Your Bones, the PAC is Where You Want to Be

As we look toward the opening of our new Pavilion for Advanced Care (PAC) and the transition of our trauma center from the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania to Penn Presbyterian Medical Center, throughout the month of January, the News Blog is highlighting some of the latest news and stories from across the areas of Penn Medicine that will find new homes in the PAC.

Orthopaedic trauma injuries to the heel and tibia

Last year, as part one of a two-part expansion project to our Penn Presbyterian Medical Center (PPMC) campus, we unveiled Penn Medicine University City (PMUC), a facility aimed at providing seamless, integrated care to outpatients. Within PMUC, Penn Orthopaedics opened the Penn Musculoskeletal Center, a cluster of specialists from orthopaedics, rheumatology, physical medicine and rehabilitation, internal medicine, pain medicine and radiology. The first of its kind in the Philadelphia region, the Center delivers a new model of orthopaedic care for patients suffering from a range of orthopaedic disorders, injuries and other issues found in joints, bones or muscles.

Now in the second phase of our expansion project, once again we’re seeing major transitions for our orthopaedic team, this time focusing on Orthopaedic Trauma and improving the way we care for our most critically injured patients.

As part of the overall trauma transition on February 4, our orthopaedic trauma team will also find a new home at the Pavilion for Advanced Care (PAC) at PPMC. The new trauma center will provide breathing room for the ortho trauma team, one of the key surgical specialties involved in treating critically injured patients. Not unlike the unveiling of a new sports stadium, Samir Mehta, MD, chief of Orthopaedic Trauma, says the innovative design of the PAC puts the facility practically in a class of its own.

Mehta_Samir 2“What’s been created is essentially a free-standing trauma facility, where we have trauma-specific  operating rooms and resources, such as medical imaging for non-emergent issues,” said Mehta. “The PAC is designed in such a way that Penn Medicine is now joining an elite group of trauma centers across the country. You’re not going to find a trauma program like it at too many other facilities and there is nothing else like it in the region.”

Orthopedic trauma is a branch of orthopedic surgery specializing in problems related to the bones, joints, and soft tissues (muscles, tendons, ligaments) of the entire body following trauma. The main goal of the specialized area is the healing of fractured bones, as well as restoring the anatomic alignment of the joint surfaces to eventually restore maximum function of the injured body part. Common orthopaedic trauma injuries include broken bones resulting from falls or forced impact from violent contact in football or in a motor vehicle accident.

Treatments for orthopaedic trauma injuries include minimally invasive surgery for fractures, pelvis and acetabulum surgery, bone and joint transplantation, minimally invasive bone grafting, complex soft tissue reconstruction, and complex upper extremity reconstruction.

Mehta’s orthopaedic trauma group consists of 17 faculty and staff members, including: six orthopaedic surgery residents, four full-time faculty, three research personnel, three outpateint physician assistants, and an in-patient nurse practitioner.

Working with colleagues across other specialties in orthopaedics and beyond, the move to the PAC has enabled our orthopaedic trauma team to combine technologies and techniques to offer a more comprehensive approach to orthopaedic trauma, unlike any other trauma center in the region.

“Other emergency rooms, hospitals, on-call physicians, and trauma centers send cases to us because they don’t have the necessary specialists available to provide the comprehensive level of care these injured patients need,” explains Mehta. “Trauma care needs to be a compendium of specialties. A lot of the time, I work with doctors in other specialties like plastic surgery or vascular surgery. Our program is designed to offer the kind of comprehensive care that you just don’t get anywhere else in this area. The PAC will allows us to deliver this care in the most modern way possible.”

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