How Can More Collaborative Relationships be Forged Between Rheumatologists and Orthopedic Surgeons?

Rheumatology Advisor—June 2, 2016

Rheumatology Advisor writer Tori Rodriguez writes about tumor necrosis factor (TNF) blockers making joint replacement surgery less common and, at times, more difficult to recognize when referral to an orthopedic surgeon is necessary.

Michael M. Alexiades, MD, a hip and knee surgeon at Hospital for Special Surgery, speaks to common causes of referral delays and how to improve interdisciplinary collaboration between the two specialties. For instance, Dr. Alexiades comments, "Coming from an institution [Hospital for Special Surgery] where our rheumatologists are fairly aggressive in terms of treatment, my experience has been excellent overall. It has always been a team approach here, with the various specialists working together–the orthopedic surgeon, rheumatologist, internist, physical therapist, and social worker. Most rheumatologists in general are very well-trained. The issue tends to be more with primary care physicians who may think they can treat rheumatic conditions with medication and may not recognize the need for referral to a specialist."

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