Joel Wells, M.D., M.P.H. Answers Questions On: Comprehensive Hip Surgery
What changes in your field do you think have made the biggest differences for patients?
Recently, there have been numerous changes in the world of hip orthopaedics. We now understand the anatomy of hip pathology better and have increased access to the hip joint. With procedures such as hip arthroscopy, periacetabular osteotomies, and surgical hip dislocations, we can address almost all aspects of hip pathology. We are also moving in a positive direction in the world of arthroplasty, continuing to make strides to help implants last longer using minimally invasive techniques.
That’s a big reason why I love working with the hip. In terms of what we’re learning, it’s still in its infancy. We regularly do things like periacetabular osteotomies and other treatments such as hip arthroscopy, hip repair and reconstruction, and surgical hip dislocation, which are all fairly new procedures. The fact that all those operations are new and still evolving is a primary reason why I enjoy working in this field.
What research specifically are you interested in?
My research interests include studying the three dimensional anatomy in femoroacetabular impingement and hip dysplasia. The pelvis and hip are both very complex, and an expert knowledge of the anatomy is essential to properly treat hip dysplasia. One of my main goals is to advance the field of hip preservation. Some of my other research interests revolve around the outcomes of hip arthroscopy, periacetabular osteotomies, and surgical hip dislocations and making these surgeries as minimally invasive as possible.
I also really enjoy solving disorders in the anatomy of the hip, whether it’s the dysplastic hip or the impinging hip. The anatomy of the hip is still largely not understood, so that is a focus of what I teach the medical students. Other focal points are cartilage and cartilage biology, and I teach the residents how to take care of patients, determine surgical options, and better understand the complex anatomy of the hip and pelvis.