Ian A. Madom, MD, joined the team of surgeons at South County Health Orthopedics Center in September 2016 and has hit the ground running with his specialization in conditions of the spine. We sat down with him for a quick chat on how he got started, where spine care is heading, and some of the common misconceptions about neck and back pain.
SCH: Spine seems to be such a specific and integral piece of our orthopedic health. What drew you to that specialty?
Dr. Madom: In medical school, I was fascinated by neuroscience, yet I did not choose Neurosurgery because it failed to address my interests in biomechanics and physical function. Orthopedic surgery offered me the opportunity to help patients while leveraging my interests in all of these areas. Neck and back pain are two of the major causes of disability in our society, creating a major impact on the quality of life of our patients. I enjoy helping patients navigate these difficult problems and educating them so they can choose an option that will give them the best possible outcome. Having the tools to help people regain that is the most rewarding career I can think of.
SCH: Where have you practiced previously and what attracted you to South County Health?
Dr. Madom: I am originally from Long Island, but came to love Rhode Island when I came here for my residency training at Brown University and Rhode Island Hospital. After my training, I went on to Utah for one year to complete my Orthopedic Spine Surgery fellowship and then settled in Upstate New York, just outside of Syracuse. I had been practicing there for the past six years, but decided to come back to where my family and I consider home. The driving factor to come to SCH was the opportunity to practice in a group like Ortho RI – South County Orthopedics, especially here with the South County Medical Group as well as create a spine program in partnership with South County Health.
SCH: What advancements can we expect to see in spine care over the next five years?
Dr. Madom: Spine care is becoming more reliable and predictable. We now are seeing better research about outcomes for the variety of options available. Technology continues to improve in spine surgery, making surgery safer and more reliable. Robotics we see used in hip and knee replacement are starting to be used to assist with spine reconstructive surgery. At South County Hospital, we offer traditional and less invasive techniques for patients with surgical problems.
SCH: What is the number one misconception about spine health?
Dr. Madom: The most common misconception about spine heath is that surgery can take away most neck and back pain. Chronic spine pain is a complex issue that is driven by many factors. Nerve, bone, and muscle problems, all contribute to pain in people’s neck and back, yet surgery is rarely the best treatment. Spine surgery is much better suited to treat pain that starts in the neck and runs down the arm, or pain in the back that radiates down the legs. When surgery is an option, it should be the last one, only after exhausting all non-operative treatment options.
Dr. Madom: I am an avid skier and 10 years ago moved from alpine skiing to Telemark skiing, also known as Nordic downhill skiing. Skiing is a sport that presents an individual challenge, but allows you to share the experience with family and friends. Additionally, I love running, sculling, cycling, and anything else that can be enjoyed outdoors. Finally, I am a HUGE baseball fan and a longtime fan of the New York Mets. Let’s go Mets!