“Individualizing orthopedic care to a patient’s needs and expectations is the key to delivering the best available outcome.”
When he was in his last year of medical school and deciding on a specialty, Dr. William Balcom knew he wanted to be a surgeon. “What really interested me was the ability to have a big impact a patient’s life. For that reason, I was most interested in orthopedics and cardiology. I think I ultimately chose orthopedics as my specialty because of my interest in sports. I was an athlete when I was younger so it just seemed a natural fit to become an orthopedic surgeon,” explains Dr. Balcom.
Dr. Balcom enjoys working closely with his patients in determining their course of orthopedic care. “I think it’s important to educate patients about their problems and show them what they can expect in the future. For those patients who chose a surgical solution, we do everything we can to make it easier for them and give them the best outcome possible.”
According to Dr. Balcom, people are having knee and hip replacements at younger ages now. “Those who have an injury in adolescence or their early adult years are more likely to suffer from arthritis at a younger age. Many older adults also want to stay physically active as long as they can and a joint replacement can be essential in helping them do that.”
Dr. Balcom, who is a big believer in using the most modern surgical techniques, is now performing minimally invasive hip and knee replacements on some of his patients. The new minimally invasive surgical techniques allow a shorter recovery time for patients, allowing them to return to their normal daily life faster. “I suspect that 10 years from now, most replacements will be done through a minimally invasive method. It does require more time for the surgeon to perform this type of operation, but the benefits for the patient make it worthwhile.”
A true leader in the field of orthopedic surgery, Dr. Balcom has lectured to audiences across the world on minimally invasive knee and hip replacements and has even invented a new type of artificial knee, which is already being tested. Called the Rotating Bearing Knee, it utilizes a new design concept that improves mobility and reduces wear. “It’s truly the state-of-the-art in knee replacement design,” says Dr. Balcom. “It’s already being used successfully in Europe and we’re looking forward to introducing it to patients in the United States.”
As a former athlete, Dr. Balcom has always had a real love of practicing sports medicine. He has been on the medical staff of the New York Yankees and the San Francisco Giants, as well as other sports teams. Along with other members of the orthopedic staff at Reliant Medical Group, Dr. Balcom provided care for the Worcester Sharks ice hockey team. “It was great to be involved with this local sports franchise. Treating professional athletes is one thing I have always enjoyed and I think our whole department enjoyed being involved with these athletes.”
Dr. Balcom is also excited about the new Musculoskeletal Care Center being developed in conjunction with Saint Vincent Hospital. It is designed to offer patients suffering from osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoporosis and other bone and joint problems a unique approach to healing. Staffed by a multidisciplinary team of orthopedic surgeons, rheumatologists, endocrinologists, physical therapists and other specialists, the Musculoskeletal Care Center will provide a wide range of expert care in one convenient location. “I think it will help revolutionize the way we treat joint problems in Central Massachusetts. Patients will be able to take advantage of innovative, state-of-the-art care without leaving the greater Worcester area. It’s a very exciting development for us at Reliant Medical Group.”
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