February 2, 2004

Boden named director of Orthopaedics & Spine Center

By Ron Sauder

Scott Boden, professor of orthopaedics, has been named director of the new Emory Orthopaedics & Spine Center. Located in Executive Park South at the intersection of I-85 and North Druid Hills Road, the 95,000-square-foot center offers patients of all ages one-stop access to the full range of specialists involved in diagnosing and treating musculoskeletal problems.

Boden has been director of the Emory Spine Center for 10 years. In his new role, he will preside over a larger and more complex institution that includes 13 spine specialists and more than 30 other physicians and professionals in orthopaedics, physical medicine and rehabilitation, sports medicine, physical therapy, pediatrics, psychology, podiatry, family practice, pain managementand occupational medicine. Clinical services in the new center are being phased in, with a grand opening scheduled for March 18-19.

"For many years it has been common in the United States to offer comprehensive centers for the diagnosis and treatment of heart disease and cancer," Boden said. "It turns out, though, that musculoskeletal problems are a far more common reason for people to visit a doctor than either cancer or heart disease. Musculoskeletal conditions and injuries account for more than 102 million physician office visits per year.

"We believe," he continued, "the time has come for the same comprehensive approach to musculoskeletal conditions that medicine has long offered for heart disease and cancer."

The new center brings together a wide range of imaging services, screening for osteoporosis, physical therapy, and ambulatory surgery for spine and joint conditions. Some 60 percent of all surgical procedures for orthopaedic conditions now are offered on an outpatient basis, and that percentage likely will increase in the future. The center includes two orthopaedic surgical suites and two suites that will be used for nerve blocks, steroid injections and other pain relief procedures.

"We place a lot of emphasis on non-operative treatments as a first priority, and we are known for exhausting all non-operative possibilities before we proceed to surgery," said Boden, noting the center is open to patients without a physician referral.

Boden said the new center has been designed to provide maximum convenience and efficiency for patients. Problems that previously may have required visits to three separate facilities over a 10-day period now can be managed in a single, coordinated visit to the new center.

"Most of what we take care of are common, everyday injuries and problems," he says. "We are capable of handling even the simplest complaints. We can also handle the most complicated of conditions. We have a number of clinical trials going on at any given time, allowing us to provide the latest and greatest technology for the benefit of our patients before it is widely available to the general public."

Highlighting the increasing prominence of musculoskeletal conditions in an aging population, the World Health Organization and President George W. Bush have named the first decade of the 21st century the National Bone and Joint Decade. It is estimated that musculoskeletal conditions cost the United States some $254 billion annually; that number is expected to rise by 2020, when the number of people over age 50 will double. Recent estimates have calculated the annual U.S. expenditure on low-back pain at $117 billion.

Boden is board-certified in orthopaedic surgery and fellowship-trained in spine surgery. His medical degree is from the University of Pennsylvania, and he served an internship and residency at George Washington University Medical Center in Washington. Boden began his career at Emory in 1992, and he is a leading researcher in gene therapy for spine fusion and ways to enhance bone healing and replace the need for harvesting bone graft.