A Flawless Recovery from a Pre-holiday Spill

The holiday season is far from the optimal time for any type of surgery, but thanks to the good folks at the Philadelphia Hand to Shoulder Center at Jefferson Health and Jefferson Methodist Hospital, Andrew Hoffman had a happy holiday, despite needing surgery.

Hoffman, an administrator at the Vickie and Jack Farber Institute for Neuroscience at Jefferson, took a spill this past December, breaking a bone in his left wrist. Believing it to be just a sprain, and after enduring a couple days of soreness and increasing swelling, he called the Philadelphia Hand to Shoulder Center at Jefferson Health.

“I called the Philadelphia Hand to Shoulder Center’s main patient scheduling number and was surprised at how fast I was able to get an appointment,” said Hoffman. “I called around 9:30 in the morning and got an appointment at 1 that afternoon.

Hoffman having his wrist examined by Dr. Tosti.

After being examined by orthopedic surgeon and Jefferson assistant professor, Dr. Richard J. Tosti, it was determined that Andrew had fractured the distal radius, the larger of the two bones of the forearm. “The tech had done an X-ray of my wrist and she said ‘I just want to let you know that you have to be careful in the waiting room because it’s not sprained, it’s broken.’”

Dr. Tosti recommended surgery to correct the fracture. “I have to admit the only procedure I’ve had done was having my wisdom teeth out, by my dad,” says Hoffman with a laugh, adding that his father is an oral surgeon. “So I wasn’t particularly enthusiastic about the whole idea.”

Surgery was scheduled with Dr. Tosti for mid-December at Jefferson Methodist Hospital, where Jefferson’s orthopedic and hand surgeons regularly perform a high volume of upper extremity orthopedic procedures. Andrew arrived in the morning and his worries were immediately put to rest. Check-in was a breeze – and pleasant, with some friendly chit-chat about the holiday hustle and bustle. A security guard then escorted Andrew directly to the Same Day Surgery unit, where a receptionist rode with him on the elevator to pre-surgery.

It was here that Andrew’s nervous energy kicked in. “I’m looking around this waiting room and checking to see how old the magazines are. Just piles of nervous energy there.”

The receptionist calmed his nerves by checking to see if pre-surgery was ready, which they were. He met with a number of nurses, one who administered his I-V, the anesthesiologist and several nurse anesthetists. “Everyone was clearly excellent,” notes Hoffman. “Not one person was less than a four out of five.”

Anesthesiology was in the form of a neural blockade, which eventually rendered his left arm completely numb. “Let’s see how that arm is doing,” he recalls a nurse asking. “You’re going to have to find it for me,” Hoffman quipped.

The next thing he recalled was waking up in recovery, Dr. Tosti having placed a plate and six screws to hold the repaired bone in place. That was Wednesday. By Friday afternoon, Hoffman was back at work. He’s been taking “minimal amounts” of ibuprofen to address what little pain he’s had since the surgery.

“The whole experience was flawless,” says Hoffman. “I got there at 6 a.m. and I was out by 1:30 p.m. Everybody was super-efficient and really nice. The aftercare instructions were really clear. They’re doing a spectacular job at Jefferson Methodist Hospital.”

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