Sports injuries are nothing new, but technology and orthopedic practices are constantly developing innovative ways to treat them. So much so, future doctors who are still in school are adopting those methods.

Orthopedic surgeon Dr. David Gentile, M.D., with Professional Orthopaedic Associates in Tinton Falls spoke to upper-level anatomy and physiology students at his Alma Mater, Drew University, recently about new ways to treat injuries using technology.

"Whereas somebody had to describe the patients injury in the past, now they can describe it but they can also follow that up with a picture of the injury or of the x-ray or study that's been done," Gentile said.

Dr. David Gentile M.D.
Dr. David Gentile M.D.

Computer technology is still developing, so students still need to know how to run tests with their hands and the need for that physical memory to develop and grow within the classroom, their residency and beyond.

"They (computers) do help with some of the skills and certainly have made it maybe safer for future patients where your first practice is on an inanimate object or a training model rather than a live human," Gentile said.

Students will assist as part of their learning process with a doctor in some of these cases, so they know how to do it themselves when their turn is up.

Video games, texting and constant tweeting aren't always a bad thing, in fact many future surgeons may find it helpful.

Gentile says video games can give the hands a special training they'll need to be able to multi-task in the operating room.

"Video games actually make for good arthroscopy skills because it's that eye-hand coordination without actually physically touching the item that you are trying to manipulate with your hand," Gentile said.

He says it comes into play when surgeons need to hold a camera with one hand while looking at a joint on a video monitor and be able to use surgical tools with the other.

New ways to treat injuries are constantly being developed and then taught.

With the changes, Gentile says he's encouraged with the potential of this generation.

He also believes more students are now choosing to become surgeons because the work-load and lifestyle of this type of doctor has changed.

"There are people that in the past probably wouldn't have chosen to be a surgeon that are now opting for that because the lifestyle is not as difficult or demanding," Gentile said.

These future surgeons are also becoming better test takers than their predecessors.

"They are learning at an accelerated rate," Gentile said. "It seems like every generations test scores are so much better and they have so much more information that they're processing."

Many doctors are also now moving from an open to arthroscopic surgeries in some cases to operate on parts of the body including the shoulder.

"That's why it's so important to understand anatomy and the relationships in three-dimensions of the muscles, the nerves and the arteries so that when you do open it up, you can get there through a bigger incision and not do damage to the important structures on the way," Gentile said.

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