Specialty: Orthopedic Surgery
Hospitals: Northern Dutchess Hospital; HealthAlliance Hospital: Mary’s Avenue Campus
Medical Group: Orthopedic Associates of Dutchess County
Special Expertise: Spinal Surgery, Spinal Disorders-Degenerative, Minimally Invasive Spinal Surgery, Microdiscectomy
Richard Perkins, MD, is the first to admit he can get on patients’ nerves (via their musculoskeletal system); luckily, with the dramatic changes in his field, he doesn’t need to linger. “Even major surgeries now involve less blood loss, less tissue dissection, less discomfort, and shorter recovery time,” he says.
Why did you choose to specialize in spinal disorders and surgeries?
Spinal surgery is a different type of orthopedic practice than a sports medicine doctor who treats a sprained knee or torn ACL. The surgery involves a little more micro-dissection than a knee or hip replacement.
What do you and your patients like about microdiscectomy?
This procedure involves removing torn, painful fragments of a herniated disc in the lower back. The surgery involves a small incision, tiny tube, and 30 minutes to pick out the fragment; and the healthy patient goes home at lunchtime.
What’s an exciting breakthrough in your field?
Biologics is a major trend: encouraging tissue re-growth with stem cells to avoid surgery. We are exploring methods of injecting stem cells into spinal discs worn down by arthritis to replenish the cartilage, restore function, and control pain.
Can you share a patient success story?
When a patient has a great follow-up visit, that’s gratifying, but expected. When the patient is older, with a tougher case and longer recovery, it’s incredible. I treated an older woman with a major case of lumbar fusion. She had other medical conditions and recovery was slow. But I saw her eight weeks later: walking into the office, wearing makeup, looking great.