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Dr. Turgeon in his own words

Dr. Turgeon demonstrating a device

We sat down and talked with Dr. Turgeon about the establishment of the Chair after many years of planning and working toward this. On September 22, 2021 the Chair was officially launched with a small gathering of donors, friends and supporters.

Research innovation

“We stand on the shoulders of giants. There have been researchers before us who have developed the implants or the concept of the implants that we use today and have evolved. Many of the implants that we use today are not drastically different, but they are vastly improved.”

“Technology has advanced in terms of how we assess the devices – for example, we assess how we use them in the operating room and the ultimate impact on the patient. There has been a focus on how we perform the operations using the devices. We want to also focus on doing things differently to change and improve outcomes as well as recognizing that there are differences in access to care and providing care to the people who need it and who have not historically been able to have access to it.”

Professional achievements

“In reflecting on this, it is really being part of the development of the Hip and Knee Institute being one of the founders of the Orthopedic Innovation Centre, which is the research arm. Those two things have allowed us to realize so much of the potential here and bring on staff from Manitoba to carry out that work and help researchers realize their potential. ”

“Arthroplasty Researchers realize that one of the key things with research and surgery is that this is a team effort, and you have to have a great team to be able to carry this out.”

“The development of the team, both on the clinical side, but especially the research side that we’ve developed, is second to none. We have a phenomenal team that works tremendously well and tremendously hard to make great strides in this area. Having played a small part in putting this together has been tremendously rewarding to me.”

How does the Concordia Hip and Knee Institute compare to other similar organizations around the world?

We are definitely unique in Canada. We are probably only one of two or three centers in North America with the breadth of work we do. Other programs have specialties, but we have a wide range of work such as clinical work, implant retrieval work, implant analysis work, and assessment. Working with engineers as well as our clinical program is part of our unique programming. You could probably count on your hands the number of programs in the world with everything that we have.

Having a Chair helps to find and support all those components rather than looking at silos. It allows us to tie them together and leverage them to be an even more significant player in the national and international stage of the research types.

The impact of hip and knee replacement surgery and research

To put this into context: One of the things that define humans as a species is our ability to walk on two feet. It frees up our hands. It’s why we could be hunter-gatherers and collect food while we’re able to develop tools because we can walk with two feet. When you lose one limb that’s functional, you lose that capacity.

If you have a quadruped like an animal that is lame on one leg, they could still walk quite well with only three. They lift one. And away, they go. We don’t have that capacity, so when you lose a limb as a bipedal human, it has a vast impact on your quality of life and your ability to carry out activities.

I think of the patients we have worked with under the Operation Walk banner, the humanitarian organization founded here at Concordia. Delivering new knees or hips to people in a developing country and serving an underserved population has been gratifying to share this expertise with others.

The total impact that hip and knee replacement have on all patients with disabling arthritis is profound.

What gives you the most satisfaction in your work?

That is hard to say since it all provides deep satisfaction. This type of surgery has a dramatic and almost immediate impact. I enjoy having that direct connection with patients and creating an abrupt positive change – a very dramatic change to better someone’s life. To have a patient who hobbled into my office a few months ago – have surgery and have them walk back into my office six weeks later after surgery with restored function that quickly – is tremendously fulfilling.

Friends of the Arthroplasty Research Chair Gather to Celebrate

Research Manitoba Team is joined by Dr. Turgeon and Concordia Foundation Board Members.

Celebration of the launch of the Arthroplasty Research Chair

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