WATCH: First Choice Medical Group Reinventing the Way Orthopedic Medicine is Delivered
By Space Coast Daily // August 20, 2018
world-class surgeons at First Choice always look to non-surgical solutions first
Three Out of Four First Choice Medical Group Patients Do Not Require Surgery
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – Regardless of being able to claim the latest technology, state-of-the-art equipment and convenient location, no medical practice can truly excel without the human touch. A staff of caring, compassionate and highly competent medical professionals is the keystone of an outstanding practice such as First Choice Medical Group, the “one-stop shop” for orthopedic services.
The world-class surgeons at First Choice always look to non-surgical solutions first, before opting for surgery for their patients. In fact, three out of four First Choice Medical Group patients do not require surgery, which is a source of great pride for the team at First Choice Medical Group
Envisioned by Brevard entrepreneur Chris Romandetti, First Choice Medical Group is reinventing the way orthopedic medicine is delivered.
This Melbourne medical center is operated as a multi-specialty, clinically superior medical group focusing on the delivery of musculoskeletal medicine and rehabilitative care through a patient-centered approach that optimizes both medical outcomes and the patients’ care experience.
At the heart of First Choice Medical Group are its physicians. Because First Choice support staff handles all the onerous administrative routines such as billing, purchasing, compliance and other non-medical issues that have become part of today’s medical landscape, First Choice physicians can focus on the reason they chose a career in medicine in the first place: to heal.
By relieving doctors from hours of administrative work, First Choice Medical Group attracts world-class physicians such as Dr. Kenneth Sands, Dr. Anthony Lombardo, Dr. Raymond DeLorenzi, Dr. Richard Harrison and Dr. Donald Vliegenthart.
Patients immediately notice and appreciate the physicians and the staff who go the extra mile, who treat them with care and respect in a clinically superior care facility. Promptly scheduled consultations that maximize the treatment plan for quicker and optimal recovery are appreciated by the patients and their families.
MINIMALLY INVASIVE TREATMENT AND PATIENT EDUCATION
A philosophy of minimally invasive treatment has demonstrated that three out of four First Choice patients are successfully treated without surgery. Even if surgery is the best option, patients can expect complicated procedures to be performed quicker and with less inconvenience and risks.
“Five years ago, a hip replacement required at least a five-day hospital stay,” said Romandetti. “These days, a patient can have a hip replaced and be home the same day.”
Through thorough patient education from diagnosis and treatment to rehabilitation, all patients are encouraged to become active participants in their own care. Advanced care and monitoring of long-term effects of treatment assure continued health.
Such a comprehensive approach to Musculoskeletal care has drawn significant interest from the medical field, from insurers eager to offer positive patient outcomes at the most efficient cost and from communities weary of patchwork treatment.
First Choice patient Elena was enjoying a vacation in Spain when she fell during a rain squall, fracturing her mid-calf in several places.
Her son had been a First Choice patient, as had some of her friends, so Elena knew where she was heading as soon as she got home.
“I called from Spain and was able to schedule a visit with Dr. Sands even before I got home,” she said. “I also called competing practices as a back-up and the first time I heard from one of them was nine days after Dr. Sands had already operated on me.”
Despite the stumble, Elena is on the road to a full recovery, thanks to Dr. Sands.
“I would not have done as well with another physician,” she said.
Dr. Sands specializes in minimally invasive total hip replacement, total hip resurfacing, knee replacement and computer-assisted total joint replacement. He is the first surgeon in Florida to be trained and certified to perform ACL-sparing total knee replacement.
“This is total knee replacement that does not cut any of the four major ligaments, unlike with traditional implants, in which one or two ligaments are cut,” said Sands. “It provides for a more natural feel.”
A graduate of Tulane University School of Medicine in New Orleans, Dr. Sands earned his undergraduate degree from Duke University and completed his orthopedic surgery residency at the State University of New York in Brooklyn and a fellowship in orthopedic joint replacement surgery at the Florida Orthopaedic Institute in Tampa.
He is board certified by the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery, is a member of the American Association of Hip and Knee Surgeons and the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgery.
Like most of us, Diana Doughty does not know when to stop for her body’s sake. The massage therapist had spread ten cubic yards of mulch, lifted a queen size bed and lugged a massage therapy table the wrong way until her neck and shoulder finally said enough is enough.
“I had just turned over in bed and got this pain,” said Doughty. “I spent the next five days in bed.”
When her body refused to again cooperate, Doughty made the trip to First Choice in Melbourne. There were other orthopedic practices closer to her Port St. John address, but a friend had recommended First Choice.
She saw Dr. Richard Harrison, who recommended physical therapy, which, as it turns out, was just what the doctor ordered for her.
“I feel so much better after four weeks of therapy,” said Doughty, who added the physical therapy team were not afraid to practice “tough love” to heal her body.
Board certified in orthopedic surgery with additional sub-specialty board certifications in hand surgery and sports medicine, Dr. Harrison focuses on total shoulder replacements and replacement revisions, rotator cuff repair, fracture treatment, sports injuries and hand surgery.
He joined First Choice in 2013 after deployment to Germany as Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Army Reserves Medical Corps. While stationed at Ft. Bragg, NC, he served as chief of hand and upper extremity surgery at Womack Army Medical Center.
Twice deployed to the Middle East, Dr. Harrison also served with the United States Special Operations Command as part of Operation Enduring Freedom.
He graduated from Baylor University School of Medicine and completed both his internship and residency in orthopedic surgery at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami, followed by hand and limb fellowship at St. Luke’s/Roosevelt Medical Center in New York City. He also trained in Melbourne, Australia, and at Scottish Rite Hospital in Dallas, Texas.
Another victim to an accident thousands of miles away, is flight attendant Cynthia, who broke her ankle and tore up her knee in between flight assignments in London. She was referred to Dr. Anthony Lombardo for treatment. Cynthia expects to be back flying within a month.
“Dr. Lombardo and First Choice provided a really positive experience out of something terrible,” said the Melbourne resident.
Dr. Lombardo is dual certified in orthopedic surgery and sports medicine.
In practice in Brevard since 1989, Dr. Lombardo focuses on sports medicine, adult reconstructive surgery and pediatric orthopedic surgery. He specializes in trauma, total joint replacement, arthroscopic rotator cuff repair and knee reconstruction.
He earned his medical degree from the University of Miami School of Medicine and completed his internship at Jackson Memorial Hospital. His surgical residency in orthopedics and pediatric orthopedics took place at San Francisco General at the University of California. He is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons and the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.
Brooke, a patient of First Choice’s Dr. Raymond DeLorenzi, badly twisted her knee putting on boots. Her husband had two successful surgeries with Dr. DeLorenzi, so Brooke called First Choice when she needed help.
Brooke’s knees were not what they should have been because of degenerative issues, so Dr. DeLorenzi performed arthroscopic surgery to get her back to her normal routine, which includes plenty of physical activity and a lot of time on the tennis court.
“It was a great experience at First Choice,” she said.
Dr. DeLorenzi, who specializes in orthopedics and sports medicine, works diligently to get his patients back to their preferred activities, for he can understand just how deep a passion for sports can be. At two years of age, he was already playing hockey in the backyard ice rink his father built in their hometown of Sault St. Marie in Ontario.
He played his first ice hockey game at age four and was competing in the hockey travel circuits by the time he turned six. During his senior year in high school, he tore the meniscus, the cartilage that cushions and stabilizes the knee joint, but the accident turned to be serendipitous, since it introduced him to an orthopedic specialist who would serve to define DeLorenzi’s career choice.
“He was a great role model who truly enjoyed seeing his athletes get better,” said DeLorenzi.
While DeLorenzi wanted to go pro in hockey, his parents recommended that he develop another plan that would offer a more stable and longer working life. He opted for medicine, but it wasn’t until he met his “meniscus healer” that he decided on the specific specialty.
DeLorenzi earned his bachelor of science degree at the University of Notre Dame, which he attended with a hockey scholarship. He got his wish to play pro hockey with the Calgary Cowboys, later known as the Calgary Flames, of the World Hockey Association during the 1970s and even had a “Hollywood moment” with a role in “Slapshot,” the 1977 hockey cult film that starred Paul Newman.
To this day, Dr. DeLorenzi travels to Tampa on a monthly basis to get back on the ice for a friendly game with his old hockey buddies.
His internship and residency were completed at Jackson Memorial Hospital and other affiliated hospitals of the University of Miami, where he also served as assistant professor.
He is a diplomate of the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery and a fellow of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgery.
Dr. DeLorenzi concentrates on arthroscopic knee and shoulder surgery, general orthopedic practice and sports medicine. A sports medicine specialist such as DeLorenzi routinely treats the majority of injuries and conditions associated with sports of physical activity, such as ACL tears, fractures, groin pulls, strained hamstrings, tennis elbow and shin splints, among others.
“With new technology and techniques, even the most catastrophic injuries can be treated,” he said. “The rehabilitation can take three to six months or as much as a year, but the athletes will get back on the field.”
Among DeLorenzi’s specialties is joint resurfacing using the MAKOplasty® surgical procedure, which uses robotic-arm technology to precisely perform surgery through an incision much smaller than traditional surgery.
With joint resurfacing, only the diseased part of the joint is replaced. The procedure is less traumatic and invasive and requires minimal hospitalization and less recovery time, yet MAKOplasty® is often more effective than conventional replacement.
The bone and tissue sparing and accurate implant positioning results in a more ideal joint function. Joint resurfacing is indicated for individuals suffering from conditions such as osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, avascular necrosis, rotator cuff or instability arthropathy and post-traumatic arthritis.
During hurricane season last year, Carl Green was busy putting up storm shutters when he noticed a twinge in his hands. He didn’t give it much thought and kept at the task. The pain didn’t go away, but increased, so he called on his primary care physician, who recommended First Choice.
“Several co-workers had also recommended First Choice,” said the Melbourne resident.
Here, Green met Dr. Richard Harrison, who approached Green’s debilitating injury by relocating the injured nerve. Green was so pleased with the results of Dr. Harrison’s treatment of his injury that now he is the one recommending First Choice to his friends and family.
Joanne Solley-Hansen doesn’t consider herself a jock who overextends her limits, but she depends on her body to help her with gardening tasks and with the volunteer work he enjoys during retirement. Lately, however, her body, particularly her shoulders, wasn’t having any of it and was telling her in no uncertain terms.
“I don’t know how I did it, but I damaged my shoulder and was in a lot of pain,” she said.
Her general practitioner, as well as some friends, suggested she check out First Choice, where she received occupational therapy for five weeks.
“The therapists were excellent and helped me strengthen and stretch my shoulders,” said Solley-Hansen.
When she first began therapy, she was experiencing approximately 90 percent disability to her shoulders. When she completed her therapy regimen, she was back to gardening and volunteering without pain.
In 2017, Scott Eddy, along with the rest of Brevard, came to know Hurricane Irma. Eddy and his family were living in a manufactured home when the police came knocking to ask them to evacuate before the storm.
“I was loading my dad, who is in a wheelchair, into the van, when the wind caught the door and I reached back to catch it and the wind jerked my shoulder,” explained the Palm Bay resident.
For four months, Eddy lived with the pain before trying therapy at another local facility that shall remain unnamed.
“They froze my shoulder and actually made it worse,” he said. “I had to start from the very beginning.”
He was sent for an MRI and Eddy asked the technician for suggestions for therapy. The name of First Choice came up.
“They told me they had a lot of patients from First Choice,” he said.
Eddy saw first-hand the difference a practice can make.
“They did a fantastic job explaining things to me and telling me how to do the exercises at home,” he said. “I can be very stubborn, but they didn’t give up and were very aggressive that I should follow through at home.”
After recuperating from his shoulder injury, Eddy decided to give First Choice a chance to help him with his hip issues.
“I wanted to do more walking and they provided the exercises I needed,” he said.
These days, Eddy feels so good that he exercises at the gym on a regular basis. He knows he could not be so active without First Choice’s help.
“Everybody at First Choice is so professional and caring,” he said.
HIGHLY EFFECTIVE CULTURE OF HEALING AND CARE
With the caliber of physicians such as Dr. Sands, Dr. Lombardo, Dr. DeLorenzi, Dr. Harrison and Dr. Vliegenthart, First Choice’s medical team is a formidable powerhouse of experience and care to help patients achieve optimum results in the treatment of any orthopedic issue.
The “First Choice approach” has been so successful that its parent company, First Choice Healthcare Solutions, has already begun replicating the practice’s highly effective culture of healing throughout Florida.
First Choice Medical Group is at 709 S. Harbor City Blvd., Suite 100, Melbourne. To reach First Choice Medical Group call 321-725-2225 or visit www.myfcmg.com
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