Like most people, Dr. Mark Kamaleson has seen many changes since the coronavirus pandemic swept across the globe. The surgeon with Optim Orthopedics in Brunswick has started offering virtual appointments for patients who would like to avoid face-to-face interactions.
“I’ve done a few. The virtual visits work pretty well, especially for follow-ups. It’s a little different for new patients because we don’t have x-rays or diagnostics,” he said. “But for those who have already done the initial visit this works pretty well.”
Kamaleson and the Optim team utilize a special secure network for these appointments so there is no chance of compromising a patient’s information or privacy.
“We use something similar to a healthcare portal. I am at my desktop with a webcam so I can show them what to do on the camera,” he said. “It’s not like being in the office but it does offer some convenience — the convenience of not having to be there. They don’t have to expose themselves to other people.”
That allows patients, especially those in high risk categories, to receive treatment safely. From there, Kamaleson says, they can make a plan concerning future visits.
“We can make plans for physical therapy or injections. We can schedule a physical visit from there,” he said. “It’s just something good to offer for patients who are high risk or who have some anxiety. Coming into the office might be difficult for them.”
Offering approaches that best suit the patients are always the focus at Optim. Their patient-driven care centers on finding the best solutions for those they treat.
The practice offers a number of surgeons who are experts in their respective fields. For Kamaleson, that primarily concerns the upper extremities — the wrists, elbows and shoulders.
“That’s primarily what I do. But I also have a large workers’ compensation practice so sometimes I will work on hips, backs, knees and ankles,” he said. “So it can be a little bit of everything.”
That flexibility offers him a unique perspective on options and modalities. But regardless of the area he is treating, Kamaleson always seeks to find the least invasive path to healing. And he from the start, he tries to allay fears that many have, like being pushed toward surgery.
“Don’t be afraid to get something checked out if it’s hurting. A lot of the time, we can make you better without a knife. Surgery is generally only considered after other more conservative measures fail. Typically, we use anti-inflammatory agents similar to Advil or Aleve. Sometimes we use a steroid injection, which can really help calm things down,” he said.
“We can send people to physical therapy to stretch and strengthen their muscles. A lot of times this will get people to point where they don’t need any more treatment.”
If surgery is the appropriate treatment, Kamaleson offers many less invasive procedures, several of which can be performed in his office with local anesthesia.
“Most of what I do are outpatient and they don’t have to be in a hospital. I actually can do several in our surgery center or in the office. The patients go home the same day,” he said.
For the more complicated situations, Kamaleson also tries to minimize the impact. He opts for small incisions that promote faster healing and recovery.
“For the things like rotator cuffs or ACLs, we do those arthroscopically so there are only small incisions,” he said.
As an expert in his field, Kamaleson draws on more than two decades of practice to help patients heal. Over that time, he has helped to set countless patients on the road to recovery.
“It is a very, very satisfying thing ... it is certainly an honor when people come in to see me because it takes a level of confidence to do that ... it is really difficult thing for someone who is hurting and scared,” he said.
“They usually don’t know anything about you. So you try to talk with them and develop that level of trust that allows them to give you the opportunity to make them better.”