Saturday, April 13, 2013

Greinke's Recovery Likely Deleyed by Docs' Choices

A medical team's decision to insert a rod into the left clavicle of Dodgers hurler Zach Greinke may, in all probability, add days, weeks, maybe even a month or more to his recovery time.

Greinke's collar bone was broken in San Diego Thursday after he hit Padres batter Carlos Quentin with a pitch and Quentin charged the mound, igniting a brawl.

Commonly in years past such injuries were treated by simply immobilizing the fracture with a constrictive noninvasive appliance and waiting for the bone to heal naturally. 

The medical community more often than not makes the incorrect assumption that more is better.  Sometimes less is more.

What does a surgeon do?  He cuts.  He doesn't wait for nature to take it's course.

In this case a surgical procedure arguably triggers ancillary slashing of tendons, sinew, bone and flesh, all of which takes time to heal.
Dr. David Geier, an orthopaedic surgeon and sports medicine specialist based in Charleston, S.C., is among those who tend to defend the practice.

"We used to treat clavicle fractures always without surgery. We've gotten a little more aggressive the last five years putting pins or screws in it," Dr. Geier told The Daily News of Los Angeles.

"Typically it's about a three-month process for the bone to solidly heal, but a non-contact athlete can probably go back sooner."

"...Batting can be very tricky for a while," Geier said. "If he's in the American League, you don't have to expose him to that, but you have to swing with that shoulder. That could make it a problem, too."