The orthopedic surgeon strives to improve the quality of life for patients with the latest advances in hip reconstruction therapies in Puerto Rico.
Dr. Lionel Lazaro, orthopedic surgeon and specialist in sports medicine and hip preservation. Photo: Journal of Medicine and Public Health. Fabiola Plaza.
For Dr. Lionel Lazaro, Orthopedic surgeon and a specialist in sports medicine and hip preservation, his great passion since studying medicine has been orthopedicsan area that allowed him to use his greatest talents and take on numerous challenges.
“IN orthopedics We work with people who have injuries, they are healthy people, but they have a problem that limits their mobility, quality of life and enjoyment. It’s hard to live with pain and limited mobility, which affects the mental and physical health of patients,” he said.
Having the ability to change patients’ pain, help them with non-surgical procedures or with surgery and get them moving again, and the ability to be happy, is his biggest motivation.
“IN orthopedics you work with what moves the body. Indeed, patients can enjoy life again.”
On the path of orthopedics and sports medicine
The Puerto Rican doctor began his training at Academia Nuestra Señora de la Providencia, where he met his wife, Dr. Sheila Perez, a pediatric endocrinologist, and the two continued their careers together.
“We went to the University of Puerto Rico and then the University of Guadalajara in Mexico for Medical School, we were there for 3 years and then we transferred to New York where we completed our medical training,” he said.
The race to orthopedics he started at the Hospital for Special Surgery, and then Dr. Lionel specialized in sports medicine.
“Then I went to Miami, there I had 3 years of medical practice and then I came back with my wife to Puerto Rico, the dream we always had,” he added.
It took more than 20 years for the specialist to return to his homeland: Puerto Rico. With that in mind, he expressed motivation that he came back prepared to serve Puerto Ricans and offer all of his experience and knowledge for the benefit of patient health.
Improving patients’ mobility, their biggest motivation
What the doctor emphasizes most in his training in sports medicine and hip preservation is being able to preserve patients’ tissues and restore their function without having to replace them.
“In the field of hip preservation, there are many people who suffer from hip pain that limits their activity, and there are many young patients. I treat young patients aged 14 and over who are athletes and cannot play sports at the same time. maximum because they have hip pain and need to take anti-inflammatory drugs. Today, we have the technology to identify the problems that affect the hip joint and not only detect them, but also solve them operatively,” said the specialist.
“That part of being able to help a young person get back to work motivates me a lot,” he added.
In the case of patients who cannot keep their the jointsDr. Lazaro explained that they can be replaced the joints such as hip, knee and shoulder. “That’s how we bring the patient’s life back, because they can live without pain, move without pain. I’m not saving their life as such, but the quality of life and that is very valuable.”
“With technology we are doing things we never thought possible”
The specialist highlighted the latest scientific achievements in the field of orthopedicsand mentioned: “technology in recent years has advanced so much that it allows us to diagnose the problem, plan our surgery and not only that, we now have technology in the operating rooms that with every X-ray that I take during surgery, it analyzes every point’.
“Having that intraoperative feedback is a brutal thing as a surgeon, because you feel more satisfied knowing that the job is well done, not just the diagnosis and seeing the images of the bone, but what we can do: repair tissue . Now we’re using technology to do things we never thought possible,” he said.
Dr. Lazaro currently practices in San Juan at Doctors’ Center Hospital and at Sabanera Health in Dorado.
Puerto Rico: Homecoming
For the specialist, returning to Puerto Rico is another motivation to practice his profession and among his wishes is that conditions for Puerto Rican doctors improve.
“Everything needs to be improved, the medical class is needed, the compensation of a doctor needs to be improved here on the Island and that’s why I came, to help improve the situation. I think with the help of more doctors we come motivated with ideas how to solve the problems we have here we can improve,” said Dr. Lazaro.
He also admitted that after leaving the country, he would like to return. “There is a great need here, we as health professionals have an obligation to participate, I think Puerto Rico has great value, the potential of the people who live on the island is unmatched,” he added.