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Introducing: the Schatzker Young Adult Joint Preservation Initiative

June 12, 2020

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The Holland Bone and Joint Program is very proud to launch a new initiative aimed at preserving the joints of young adults with symptoms arising from their hips and knees.

“There is a population of patients with mid-stage arthritic disease whose symptoms continue to progress and/or are at significant risk of joint deterioration despite receiving appropriate non-surgical conservative medical treatment,” says Dr. Albert Yee, Chief of the Holland Bone and Joint Program at Sunnybrook. “These patients experience worsening pain and difficulties with their mobility that impact their quality of life. They, however, have not yet reached the stage where a total joint replacement would be necessary. The goal is to preserve the patient’s native joint, which always functions better than an artificial one when healthy.”

The Schatzker Young Adult Joint Preservation Initiative will advance surgical treatment options for these patients, making available newer bone and joint procedures that target more localized osteoarthritis by offloading portions of the joint that are experiencing altered mechanical loading thereby slowing the progression of arthritis in the area.
“With existing knee and hip expertise in the field at the Holland Centre, we will collaborate with other University of Toronto surgeons in developing an academic program that supports hip and knee joint care, translational research, and multi-level interdisciplinary education,” adds Dr. Yee, also a Professor in the Department of Surgery at University of Toronto. “This aligns with the Holland program’s broader strategic plan which has as one of its key areas of focus a goal towards enhancing the continuum of arthritis care.”

The initiative is named after Sunnybrook’s Professor Emeritus Dr. Joseph Schatzker (Order of Canada), known internationally for his expertise in trauma, joint preservation, and fracture management. He served as Program Director for the Division of Orthopaedic Surgery at the University of Toronto until January 2001 and continues to consult on patients with a variety of orthopaedic issues.

Dr. Schatzker recently spoke to the advances in surgical techniques that have arisen from research and new technology: “There is a tremendous opportunity to provide viable joint preservation therapies aimed at lessening symptoms and the risk of disease progression to improve physical function and quality of life for patients.”

As a leader in the care and treatment of hip and knee osteoarthritis, the Holland Centre has grown and developed a reputation as a centre for providing quality orthopaedic care with innovations in advancing model of care delivery.

  • Currently performs over 2200 hip and knee joint total replacement (arthroplasty) procedures each year for patients with end stage symptomatic disease.
  • One of the first centres in Canada to adopt the Denmark GLA:D® education and exercise program for individuals with earlier stage symptoms of osteoarthritis:
    • This physiotherapy and education program aims to lessen symptoms arising from symptomatic hip and knee osteoarthritis with a goal of delaying or reducing the need for surgery. Implemented through Bone & Joint Canada and the Canadian Orthopaedic Foundation, the GLA:D® program has now expanded to numerous sites across the country. Physiotherapists, scientists, and surgical leaders from Sunnybrook (Holland Bone and Joint Program) and the University Health Network played integral roles in implementing the program.