Joint replacement giving new life to arthritis sufferers
Dr David Stabler
Arthritis can be a normal part of ageing but for people whose quality of life is impacted, treatment such as surgery is readily available.
Joint replacements, including those in the shoulder, elbow, wrist and hands, can have life changing outcomes, enabling people to get back to doing the things they love - like handicrafts or golf.
Gold Coast Private upper limb surgeon David Stabler said once people had to stop doing things they enjoyed, or were having difficulty with every day tasks, they should be referred to an orthopaedic surgeon.
"A referral to a surgeon does not have to be in the late stages of arthritis once surgery is absolutely necessary; we are very happy to see people just for an opinion and to give advice," he said.
"Giving opinions and advice is a big part of my practice. I don't operate on anyone until they absolutely need it.
"For those who are at the stage where thumb joint or finger replacement is necessary, for example, the surgery has good, long-lasting outcomes that make patients more comfortable and gives them an improved quality of life."
Dr Stabler said women over 50 were the most likely to suffer from debilitating arthritic hands due to their ongoing domestic duties.
"While men tend to slow down once retired, women usually continue with household chores like ironing and washing which takes its toll on their hands," he said.
"To this end, it is mostly women who suffer from arthritic hands and who have to give up the things they love, unless they get the right medical attention.
"Almost everybody gets some arthritis as they age, but it's important to remember that it doesn't really matter what the x-rays look like, it's how disabling or debilitating the symptoms are which determine whether or not they need joint replacements."
Dr Stabler has been replacing upper limb joints on the Gold Coast for more than 35 years, starting in 1984, and has seen many improvements in the prosthetic components and surgery results in that time.
"I've seen a lot of change on the Gold Coast over my decades of practice - most notably the increase in the number of orthopaedic surgeons, which has jumped from about eight or nine in the mid-80s to about 70 now," said Dr Stabler.
Having spent nearly 30 years involved in the leadership or administrations of industry bodies like the Queensland and Australian Hand Surgery Societies and the Australian Orthopaedic Association, Dr Stabler has now pulled back from these commitments to concentrate on his practice.
"I am really enjoying my practice work; so much so that I am going to continue for the foreseeable future," said Dr Stabler.
"My greatest joy, however, is welcoming my daughter Annabelle into orthopaedic practice."
For more information contact:
Dr David Stabler
132 Queen Street, Southport
P: 07 5591 1666
F: 07 5591 4552