In line with the vision to be an internationally recognized academic medical center, St. Luke’s is blazing a trail of yet another imperative in the medical terrain with its joint replacement surgery service. The only center in the country that caters primarily to joint replacement surgical cases involving the hip, knee, shoulder and ankle, this procedure is aimed to improve the quality of life of patients.

As the head of the Center for Joint Replacement Service at St. Luke’s Medical Center in both Quezon and Global City, Dr. Antonio Tanchuling, Jr. shared how the center utilizes state-of-the-art mechanized systems—like power tools and intraoperative imaging modalities — to achieve high success rates and long-term favorable outcomes with few or no complications.

“When a person gets older, from very active years, through time they develop some kind of destruction of the joints, the weight bearing joints-this is the hip as well as the knees. Of course there are other joints, but we are talking of the most common diseases that will involve the hips and the knees. The group of doctors here in St. Luke’s are trained to do it, we came from, trained from different parts of the world, mostly United States,” Tanchuling said.

A joint replacement surgery is done due to the pain caused by arthritis, thus the misconception that the condition can only happen to older people. However, the operation is occasionally performed on younger persons for specific conditions.

The surgery will provide complete or nearly complete pain relief in 90 to 95 percent of patients. It will allow patients to carry out many normal activities, as well as return to active sports or heavy labor (under a physician’s instructions, of course). Most patients with stiff hips before surgery will regain near-normal motion, and mostly all have improved motion.

“The procedure is very safe. Through the years we have already established a technique, we can predict the outcome,” Tanchuling said, as he tried to describe the secured procedure. “The issues like complications related to it like infection—just like any other procedures-our infection rate is very low, it is 0.42 percent last year. The universal acceptable infection rate is 1 percent — that’s Mayo Clinic’s.”

For the last 29 years of being in the field, he considers Joint Replacement Surgery as the most gratifying experience he has ever had the honor to be involved with.Being able to get rid of pain and hearing the testimonies of patients is what delights him at the end of the day.

He encourages Filipinos who are in medical schools in the different parts of the world to continue advancing their knowledge and skills, to duplicate what they can do and help others by making it available to everyone — to every Filipino who needs it.

“It’s a good thing that US-trained Filipino doctors just like myself, had a chance to come back because I think we’re needed here more, than [in] the U.S. I came back basically for this reason because I think I’m needed here more, I can help more,” Tanchuling said.

As the head of a department in a globally competitive hospital like St. Luke’s, Tanchuling still has visions for the next five to ten years by looking for good procedures to deliver the finest results for his patients. He is also always striving for excellence by studying, going out of the way to attend conferences and learning so much by innovating things, and coming up with good results.

With all these, patients are assured that St. Luke’s Center for Joint Replacement Surgery Services maintains a secured, safe and high quality when it comes to healthcare standard and is constantly monitored to continuously improve.