Caring in the Extreme: Personalized Care for Northwest Louisiana

April 06, 2022

LSU Health Shreveport improves care through biomechanical research

Because of the diversity in patients they see, from elite athletes in sports medicine to obese patients in trauma care, LSU Health Shreveport orthopedic surgeons are collaborating with mechanical engineers in a dedicated Biomechanics Lab to challenge ideas in the current medical literature, find new solutions, and improve care for all patients.

“We have a high prevalence of obesity in our community, and the people we treat do not look like classic patients in medical textbooks,” said Giovanni Solitro, lab director. “If we do a repair on someone’s knee, that repair has to be stronger; more weight means more stress, larger forces, and bigger volumes.”

The Biomechanics Lab compares different surgical techniques side-by-side, with the goal of getting people back to work and athletes back to sport sooner.

“What I really love about this work is that it allows us to be protagonists,” Solitro added. “We can bring more innovation to the patient.”

One of those patients was Shreveport native Ja’Corey Thomas (pictured above in the #24 jersey, playing for McMurry University War Hawks), who suffered two complete ACL tears that almost derailed his academic and athletic career.

Ja'Corey Thomas

Ja’Corey Thomas, pictured here in jersey #24 playing for the McMurry University War Hawks, suffered complete ACL tears in both of his knees that almost derailed his academic and athletic career. He received surgery at Ochsner LSU Health Shreveport based on research done in the LSU Health Shreveport Biomechanics Lab, resulting in a new surgical method that can withstand twice as much force as traditional ACL repairs. Thomas was able to return to sport within a few months and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology last year.

– Photo courtesy of Ja’Corey Thomas

“After the surgery and with physical therapy, I was able to get back on the field after just a few months. I was able to get a scholarship and play as a cornerback, and then as a wide receiver.  I know more about ACLs now than I ever thought I’d know.”

- Ja’Corey Thomas, Shreveport football player and recent kinesiology graduate who tore the ACLs in both his knees but was able to get back to scholarship and sports after receiving “extreme care” based on research in the LSU Health Shreveport Biomechanics Lab