Dr. Gregory S. DiFelice is a fellowship-trained orthopaedic surgeon specializing in Sports Traumatology and Joint Reconstruction Surgery at Hospital for Special Surgery and New York-Presbyterian Hospital. He also holds an academic appointment at the Weill Medical College of Cornell University as an Associate Attending Orthopaedic Surgeon. His main surgical focus is on the treatment of the knee, shoulder, and hip. Using both non-surgical and surgical methods, he strives to utilize the latest technologies to improve patient outcomes, while preserving their native tissues. He refers to his customized approach as Preservation First© and this guides his practice. His philosophy, developed over 20+ years in practice, is to use surgery as a last resort, and if surgery is absolutely necessary, to perform the most conservative surgery that will give the best, most long-lasting results for the patient. This delicate balancing of the risks and benefits of surgery for each individual is, in essence, the art of surgery.
Dr. DiFelice is a surgical innovator and has developed several cutting edge surgical techniques that allow him to save a patients’ torn ligaments, rather than replacing them, which is the current standard of care. His approach is called Ligament Preservation and includes conservative, minimally invasive techniques such as Primary Repair and Primary Repair with Augmentation. By saving the patients’ native ligament tissues, he greatly reduces surgical injury to the patient, and thus diminishes the recovery time and restores more of the natural function of the knee. Currently, for 50-75% of his ACL injured patients, he is able to save most, if not all, of the patients’ native tissue thereby diminishing the need for grafts. He uses ACL Reconstruction, the replacing of the torn ligament with a graft, that is considered the standard approach throughout the world, only as a last resort when there is little to no native tissue available to save. As the surgical innovator of his modern-day preservation approach, he has published and lectured extensively, both domestically and internationally, on this and other topics.
Admittedly, not all ligaments, nor all joints for that matter, can be saved, and Dr. DiFelices’ Preservation FirstTM to surgery is also evident in his approach to arthritic joints. Rather than the standard approach of the majority of surgeons, that everyone with arthritis gets a total joint replacement surgery, his approach is more nuanced and is customized for each patient, based on their health, activity level and particular pattern of arthritis. He is an expert in both realignment osteotomy and robotic unicompartmental arthroplasty, two techniques that allow the patient to avoid the larger, more morbid total joint arthroplasty when in their best interests. In addition, he is also an expert in both total hip and total knee arthroplasty, having performed thousands of these procedures over his 20+-year career, which allows him to provide patients with the treatment option that is best for them.