What’s the highest praise you can give an orthopedic surgeon? That he is “the best of the best?” That you have “full confidence in him?” That you “would not go anyplace else?” Or that he is a “fantastic surgeon” and “top notch?” All of these are quotes from pleased patient testimonials about Dr. Samuel Messieh of Winter Haven. But the most apt description brings a chuckle because it is so appropriate: “He’s the bees knees — pun intended.” A term from the 1920s, “the bees’ knees” means the ultimate, unsurpassed, acknowledged best. If you or someone in your family is considering hip or knee replacement surgery, what better description could you want for your surgeon?
Of course it is comforting to hear positive testimonials from patients, but actual metrics from BayCare and Medicare provide concrete confirmation of subjective satisfaction. Dr. Messieh is one of the foremost knee and hip surgeons in Florida with some of the lowest complication rates around. He is quite literally “the best of the best” and “top notch.
Dr. Messieh would tell you that striving to be the best at anything you do involves more than just skill, education, and knowledge and experience, but a strong work ethic and a passion for the work to achieve the best quality. It’s a treatment philosophy that he has, always raising the bar for himself and the team members around him. He is constantly reviewing and reflecting on the outcome of decisions made, gaining experience — a lifelong process.
Dr. Messieh uses advanced, cutting edge techniques. For years, Dr. Messieh has focused on providing the best equipment and strategies in order to provide patients with optimal outcomes. He has done this both in his own practice and also for Winter Haven Hospital, in his capacity as joint replacement director. Whereas most surgeons perform conventional posterior hip replacement surgery, he favors anterior hip replacement, which means he enters the hip from the front rather than the back, thereby not splitting muscles but rather maneuvering around them. A special operating table must be used for this type of surgery. He customizes the implant to the patient’s age, anatomy, bone quality and activity level to provide the best result. This subtler, sophisticated technique usually means significantly less pain and much quicker recovery, with patients up walking the very same day and dispensing with walking appliances soon after. The individualized attention for patients lasts far beyond the consultations surrounding one particular surgical event. Because his staff has been with him for years, patients are assured a high level of consistency and continuity of care at both the hospital and in the clinic. “Continuity is the hallmark of good patient care,” Dr. Messieh explains.
Dr. Messieh’s proficiency at these sophisticated surgeries is the result of having done them — a lot. Because he has dedicated his entire career to knee and hip replacements and reconstructions, procedures that may be somewhat uncommon to other surgeons are routine to him. And nothing prepares you better than experience. Educated at the University of Toronto and the University of Western Ontario, London, Canada — Dr. Messieh’s interest has always been in joint replacement. Following a fellowship at Ohio State, he moved to central Florida in 1991 to join the Bond Clinic, leaving there in 2005 to found Messieh Orthopedic Clinic. He has always been drawn to orthopedic surgery because of the immediate, tangible positive results he could accomplish. Such instant improvement for patients has proven to be intensely satisfying for him throughout the years.
Dr. Messieh also attributes his proficiency at getting good outcomes to the personalized care he and his dedicated staff provide. “This is not a teaching center — no interns or residents. The focus is completely on the patient and the patient knows who the operating surgeon is,” Dr. Messieh explains. “I always consult with patients prior to any surgical intervention myself to understand their needs and goals. Once I understand the nature of their pain and functional disability, I present them with their options of management which may be operative or nonoperative. If surgery is considered, the patient is educated on what to expect, the potential risks and complications they may face. It is hard to leave that to a third party, be it a nurse or an educator. I want to do the counseling myself.”
“Patients need to understand their own role in their recovery,” Dr. Messieh continues. “I may work on them one hour, but they have many hours of physical therapy to enhance and achieve full recovery. Patients must fully understand what they are contemplating having done.” Dr. Messieh’s candid and precise consultations ensure patients know exactly what they are getting into.
Patients praise Dr. Messieh’s forthcoming, easy to understand communication style. And it is a good thing he is clear because misunderstandings abound. Dr. Messieh says several misperceptions are common — for instance, what is actually done during replacement surgery. Some patients are under the misconception that the entire hip or knee is removed and a unit put in, when actually what is done during surgery is a resurfacing of all of the worn out cartilage surfaces in the joint with man-made materials. So, in fact, resurfacing the joint and replacing the joint are often an interchangeable term.
Choice and success, individualized counseling and immediate improvement — these are the goals Dr. Messieh and his team have for all their patients. And at the end of the operation, that’s what we all want, isn’t it? Success and improvement. When it comes to joint surgery, those two things seem to be practically assured if Dr. Messieh is involved. After all, he is, according to his own patients, the “bees’ knees.”