The orthopedic surgeon seeks to improve the quality of life of patients with the latest advances in hip reconstruction therapies in Puerto Rico.
Dr. Lionel Lázaro, orthopedic surgeon and specialist in sports medicine and hip preservation. Photo: Medicine and Public Health Magazine. Fabiola Plaza.
For Dr. Lionel Lázaro, Orthopedic surgeon and specialist in sports medicine and hip preservation, his great passion since he studied medicine was orthopedicsan area that has allowed him to exploit his greatest talents and take on multiple challenges.
“In the orthopedics We work with people who have an injury, they are healthy people, but they have a problem that limits their mobility, quality of life and enjoyment. It is difficult to lead a life with pain and poor mobility, which affects the mental and physical health of patients,” he said.
Having the ability to be able to change the pain of patients, to help them, either with non-surgical procedures or with surgery, and make them mobile again, as well as the ability to be happy, is his greatest motivation.
“In the orthopedics you work with what moves the body. Truly, patients can enjoy life once again.”
Towards the path of orthopedics and sports medicine
The Puerto Rican doctor began his studies at the Academia Nuestra Señora de la Providencia, where he met his wife, Dr. Sheila Pérez, a pediatric endocrinologist, and they continued their career together.
“We went to the University of Puerto Rico and then to the University of Guadalajara in Mexico for the School of Medicine, we were there for 3 years and then we transferred to New York where we finished our studies in medicine,” he said.
The race to orthopedics he started at the Hospital for Special Surgery and then Dr. Lionel did a sports medicine subspecialty.
“After that I went to Miami, there I had 3 years of medical practice, and then I returned with my wife to Puerto Rico, the dream we had always had,” he added.
It took more than 20 years for the specialist to return to his homeland: Puerto Rico. Given this, he expressed motivation that he returned prepared to serve Puerto Ricans and offer all his experience and knowledge in favor of the health of patients.
Improving the mobility of patients, their greatest motivation
What the doctor highlights most about his training in sports medicine and hip preservation is managing to preserve patients’ tissue and give it function again without having to replace it.
“In the area of hip preservation, there are many people who suffer from hip pain that limits their activity, and there are very young patients. I treat young patients aged 14 and older, who are athletes and cannot do their sport at the same time. maximum because their hip hurts and they have to take anti-inflammatories. Today we have the technology to identify the problems that are affecting the hip, and not only detect them, but also solve them surgically,” said the specialist.
“That part of being able to help a young person get back to work, that motivates me a lot,” he added.
In the case of patients who cannot preserve their jointsDr. Lázaro explained that they can be replaced joints such as hip, knee and shoulder. “This is how we bring the patient back to life, because he can live without pain, move without pain. I am not saving their lives as such, but the quality of life and that is very valuable.”
“With technology we do things that we never thought could be possible”
The specialist highlighted the latest scientific advances in the field of orthopedicsand mentioned: “technology in recent years has advanced so much that it gives us the ability to diagnose the problem, plan our surgery and not only that, now we have technology inside the operating rooms that with each X-ray I take during the operation analyzes each point”.
“Having that intraoperative feedback is a brutal thing as a surgeon, because you feel more satisfied knowing that the work is well done, not only the diagnosis and seeing the images of the bone, but what we can do: repair tissue. Now we use a technology to do things we never thought were possible,” he said.
Currently, Dr. Lázaro is providing his medical services in San Juan, at Doctors’ Center Hospital and at Sabanera Health in Dorado.
Puerto Rico: the return to his native land
For the specialist, returning to Puerto Rico was one more motivation to carry out his profession and among his wishes is that the conditions for Puerto Rican doctors improve.
“Everything has to improve, the medical class is necessary, the compensation of a doctor has to improve here on the Island and that’s what I came for, to help improve the situation. I think that with the help of more doctors we come motivated with ideas of how solve the problems we have here we can improve,” said Dr. Lázaro.
In addition, he acknowledged that since he left the country he would have wanted to return. “Here there is a great need, we as health professionals have a duty to be participants, I find that Puerto Rico has great value, the potential of the people who live on the island is incomparable,” he added.