ARHS Offers New Surgical Options

Watauga Medical Center (WMC), part of Appalachian Regional Healthcare System (ARHS), has recently added several new surgical options - hip arthroscopy, facial reconstruction (plastic surgery), spine and complicated hernia repairs.
Joan Messner, BSN, MHA, CNOR, Director of Surgical Services at ARHS said "I am proud to work for a healthcare system that is continually evaluating community needs and responding to them. We continue to enhance our extensive surgical capabilities."
Hip Arthroscopy Surgery
In orthopaedic circles, a hip labrum tear is generally referred to as a career finisher for an athlete. The labrum, which acts like a socket to hold the ball at the top of your thighbone in place, can tear due to a number of reasons, including participation in sports. The tear can lead to a great deal of pain for the individual and inhibit their ability to walk. Previously, the only option for a patient suffering from a labrum tear was physical therapy, pain medication or, as a last resort, open hip surgery. Advances in technology, however, have led to an alternative treatment option for patients by means of arthroscopy surgery.
A hip arthroscopy is a minimally invasive outpatient procedure that takes about an hour to complete. The procedure, which requires advanced training, involves placing a miniature telescope and specialized instruments in the joint through two pinhole incisions. Post surgery, patients can expect to be able to walk on their hip the same day.
The first hip arthroscopy procedure performed in the High Country took place a few months ago at Watauga Medical Center by Board Certified Orthopaedic Surgeon, Dr. Evan F. Ekman. World renowned for his lectures in more than 60 countries and extensive experience in caring for professional athletes, Dr. Ekman serves as the Medical Director forAppalachian Regional Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Center in Boone.
To learn more about hip arthroscopy surgery at Watauga Medical Center visit For more information about the Appalachian Regional Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Center, call 828-386-BONE or visit
Plastic Surgery
Historically, High Country trauma patients in need of immediate facial reconstruction including cheek, nasal and jaw fractures were referred off of the mountain for care.
However, this changed in December 2012, when Facial Plastic Surgeon, Dr. Neal Goldman decided to move his practice to Boone. Shortly thereafter, the double board certified physician (Plastic Surgery and Ear, Nose and Throat), with specialized training in minimal-invasive surgery, obtained hospital privileges at Watauga Medical Center. Beyond reconstructive facial trauma, Dr. Goldman specializes in other minimally-invasive procedures including face lifts, neck lifts, wrinkles, eye lifts, brow lifts and chin augmentations.
The endoscopic brow lift is a new cosmetic procedure offered in the High Country. This outpatient procedure is conducted by making small incisions behind the hairline to painlessly alter the brow location.
For more information about plastic surgery options at Watauga Medical Center visit To learn more about Dr. Neil Goldman
Spine Surgery.   
For the first time in approximately 20 years, spine surgery is once again available in the High Country. OrthoCarolina welcomed Orthopedic Spine Surgeon, Dr. James Califf to its Boone practice in May 2013. Since his arrival, Califf, who has medical staff and surgical services privileges at Watauga Medical Center, has performed many successful back and neck surgeries.

Dr. Califf is experienced in all aspects of the back and spine, including general, lumbar and thoracic areas. When it comes to conditions, however, there are typically two most common patient complaints, neck pain and lower back pain. Neck pain, often a result of arthritis and lower back pain, commonly caused by a ruptured disc are each correctable by spine fusion and discectomy surgery, respectively. Both procedures are considered outpatient surgery options for patients at Watauga Medical Center. The goal with either surgery is to restore function and remove pressure from the nerve that is causing pain in the affected areas.

Fusion procedures are also available for patients with central back or central neck pain. In these cases, Dr. Califf conducts a fusion procedure to remove the bone spur where the disc is pushing on the nerve. This less invasive procedure is also considered outpatient surgery.

Typically, patients can expect little to no pain after surgery and rarely is post operative rehabilitation required. For more information about spine surgery at Watauga Medical Center, visit more information about Dr. Califf visit
Complex Hernia Repair
Complex hernia repair and advanced laparoscopy procedures are now available at Watauga Medical Center. The new procedures became available when Watauga Surgical Group welcomed its newest physician Dr. Lionel van der Westhuizen to the High Country in August 2013.
A native of South Africa, Dr. van der Westhuizen grew up as a missionary child in Chile, South America and speaks Spanish fluently. After completing his medical degree at the Medical College of Georgia in 2007, he went on to complete his General Surgery training and Minimally-Invasive Surgery fellowship in Greenville, SC.
Dr. van der Westhuizen's specialties include laparoscopic and open repair options for a range of hernia defects including umbilical, incisional, flank, parastomal, inguinal and recurrent hernias. He also specializes in other advanced laparoscopic techniques including paraesophageal hernia repair, gastroesophageal reflux, colon surgery, adrenalectomy, splenectomy and nephrectomy.
For more information about complicated hernia repair at Watauga Medical Center visit To learn more about Dr. van der Westhuizen and Watauga Surgical Group visit
"We are very pleased to welcome Drs. Ekman, Goldman, Califf and van der Westhuizen to Watauga Medical Center and the High Country community," said Messner. "Their expertise and patient centered approach has greatly enhanced the surgical opportunities available on the mountain."
To learn more about surgical services at Watauga Medical Center visit For more information about Appalachian Regional Healthcare System visit

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