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Elbow Surgery services offered in Mission, TX

Elbow Surgery Q & A

Dr. Vaibhav ‘Van’ Kanawade, Orthopedic Surgeon,
Performs Life-Enhancing Surgery
at Mission Regional Medical Center


MISSION, Texas, August 5, 2022 - A Mission woman recently underwent a life-enhancing elbow replacement surgery at Mission Regional Medical Center – and now she is able to move her hand with minimal pain.

San Juanita Rangel, a life-long resident of Mission, had a total elbow replacement, the first procedure of its type that Dr. Vaibhav ‘Van’ Kanawade, Orthopedic Surgeon, has performed in the Valley. 

Dr. Kanawade says the total elbow replacement procedure saves the patient from pain, stiffness, and long-term rehab that is often experienced following a more traditional “plate-and-screws” type of elbow surgery for complex fractures.

“In many cases, total elbow replacement gets the patient back to activities faster, with less pain and less rehab,”  Dr. Kanawade said. “This is much better than waiting for several weeks of therapy with the plate-and-screws method for complex fractures.”

In the case of Ms. Rangel, her elbow was shattered by a fall next to her mailbox, as she tried to move a mat out of the way with her foot.

“I had a lot of pain after that fall,” Ms. Rangel recalls.  “In fact, I had pain all night long. My arm was swollen and felt hot.”

Following her surgery with Dr. Kanawade, Ms. Rangel had minimal pain for a week, which was controlled with medication.

“My elbow is getting better every day,” she said. “It’s really looking good, because it’s healing.”

Ms. Rangel recommends surgery with Dr. Kanawade for others who have problems with their elbows and other joints.

“I like how he treated me in the hospital,” Ms. Rangel added.  “I didn’t have to wait too long … he would come by my room in the morning to check my elbow.”

As she continues to improve a month after her surgery, Ms. Rangel said she looks forward to getting back to activities that she enjoys -- such as tossing a ball with her granddaughter, playing bingo, and picking fruit from her lemon tree.

Her recovery is being aided by outpatient therapy from the Patient Rehabilitation Center at Mission Regional Medical Center.

“The therapists are really good and I like the exercises they give me,” Ms. Rangel said.

Ms. Rangel’s family support system in Mission has also been very valuable during her recovery period – including her sister, Gloria Ibarra, who serves as a volunteer at Mission Regional - - and her niece, Imelda Garza, who works as a case manager at the hometown hospital.

Both Ms. Rangel and her sister say it’s much more convenient to have surgery and other procedures at Mission Regional, where they are close to home, their family and friends, and don’t have to drive in heavy traffic.

“I was born and raised in Mission, and graduated from Mission High School,” Ms. Rangel said.

She is also familiar with the hospital, having previously worked there for 11 years, helping in the kitchen. 

In addition to patients who suffer falls, other patients who may benefit from total elbow replacement surgery include those who have pain and stiffness which is caused by rheumatoid arthritis.  The patient’s elbow may become straight and difficult to bend -- to the point that the person is not able to maneuver a fork to eat.

In addition, these patients may have trouble with activities such as grocery shopping -- and with simple tasks such as getting their mail out of the mailbox. 

Patients with these symptoms can make an appointment with Dr. Kanawade – often during the same week -- for an evaluation of their condition.  Dr. Kanawade’s new office, “Restore Joints and Spine”, is located in the Mission Doctors Plaza West building, adjacent to Mission Regional Medical Center (at 910 S. Bryan Road, Suite 205).

In addition to total elbow replacement, Dr. Kanawade is also experienced in performing partial elbow replacement as well as elbow arthroscopy -- a minimally-invasive procedure using a small camera which allows physicians to look inside the elbow joint.

In addition, Dr. Kanawade can perform “Tommy John” surgery, which is used to repair a torn “ulnar collateral ligament” inside the elbow. This surgery was first performed on Tommy John, a baseball pitcher with the Los Angeles Dodgers, and allowed him to return to the sport and continue his career.

Other types of athletes may also experience injuries to the elbow, such as “tennis elbow” and “golfer's elbow”.  

“The elbow is a very important joint for many activities,” Dr. Kanawade noted.  

Dr. Kanawade is a Fellow of the International College of Surgeons and a member of the Royal College of Surgeons.  He completed a Clinical Fellowship in Orthopedic Surgery of the Spine at Ohio State University and a Clinical Research Fellowship in Robotic and Computer Navigation Adult Joint Reconstruction at the University of Southern California.

For more information on life-enhancing orthopedic care, or to make an appointment with Dr. Kanawade, please call (956) 598-7070.