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Local News October 1st, 2009
Dr. Patrick O’Meara

Local Doctor Offers Alternative to Total Joint Replacement

Dr. Patrick O’Meara, M.D. of Palomar Orthopaedic Specialists is offering people suffering from knee pain due to limited arthritis or cartilage injury a minimally invasive alternative to total joint replacement. The application also may apply to shoulder and/or hip joint problems from arthritis.
Dr. O’Meara, an orthopaedic surgeon, uses a new technology called the Arthrosurface resurfacing system to treat pain and loss of function caused by damaged articular cartilage. During the outpatient procedure, a cobalt chrome implant is placed over the damaged area of the joint surface and replaces the lost cartilage. The implant is designed to replace only the damaged area of cartilage while preserving the healthy existing joint surface. The implant resurfaces the cartilage lesion and it allows the joint to move smoothly and pain free.

Dr. O’Meara was the first surgeon in San Diego to introduce this treatment to patients. The knee is composed of three compartments: a medial compartment, a lateral compartment and the patellofemoral joint (knee cap). Severe arthritis or cartilage damage in any one or two of these compartments would previously have been treated with an extensive inpatient total joint replacement. Total joint replacement is a highly successful procedure for severe arthritis of the entire knee but it requires a generous resection of bone and sacrifice of ligaments. That degree of resection and sacrifice is not needed to treat isolated cartilage lesions or arthritis that is restricted to just one or two compartments.

The Arthrosurface resurfacing system allows Dr. O’Meara to resurface just the damaged area of the cartilage while preserving the remainder of the knee joint. Rather than resecting a half inch of bone from the entire end of both the femur and tibia to make room for a total joint replacement, the Arthrosurface system requires only a 3 millimeter resection of bone over only the area of the cartilage lesion. The Arthrosurface system can be used to treat lesions in any of the three compartments of the knee. Unlike total knee replacement, it can be performed as an outpatient surgery and patients can safely walk on the knee immediately after surgery.

“We often see patients who are young, active and healthy, but who have a horribly degenerative compartment of one of their knees,” O’Meara said. “A lot of these people have had to live with pain and limitations because their knee pain was so extreme and they were told that they were too young for joint replacement surgery. This system allows those patients a solution to resolve their pain and restore their active lifestyles.”

A total joint replacement in a person in their 40s or 50s or in an active patient in their 60s can relieve pain but it creates its own functional limitations because the knee anatomy is substantially altered. The Arthrosurface system leaves the joint anatomy intact except for the cap over the injured area of cartilage. As the patient ages and arthritis develops in other compartments of the knee, an Arthrosurface resurfacing cap can be added in those other compartments or the knee can be simply converted to a total knee replacement.

Dr. O’Meara predicts that “This is the wave of the future. No longer will we sacrifice the entire knee joint just because a patient has a painful patellofemoral joint or one painful side of the knee. Patients will now be treated with a simple resurfacing procedure which treats only the isolated pathology in the knee and leaves the good parts of the knee alone.”

For more information on the Arthrosurface resurfacing system, visit and for more information on Dr. O’Meara visit

Oceanside City Manager Proposes Job Cuts to Stem Losses

With projected losses draining the city's budget at a rate of $5 million a year, the Oceanside city manager is proposing cutting 50 positions to keep the city afloat. Those cuts, which will amount to $7 million over two years, still won't steady the city's listing budget ship.

“The proposed budget reduction plan will impact all city services but will not completely close the projected $10 million operating deficit” over two years, City Manager Peter Weiss said in a report to the City Council.

He says it's time to tap the $24.5 million in available reserves to do that. The council will hold a budget workshop at 9 a.m. Wednesday in the Civic Center Community Room to discuss its options. The council voted in May to slash $2.7 million from this year's $118 million operating budget rather than dip into reserves.

Mayor Jim Wood, who favors going into the reserves, says it's time. “The reserves have always been for a rainy day, and it's certainly raining in California regarding the economy,” he said.

No department is spared by Weiss' budget recommendations, which list $5.5 million in cuts this fiscal year and $4.5 million next year. The Police Department would lose four sworn officers and a lieutenant in the harbor division as part of $2 million in cuts. Weiss recommends keeping the positions on the books to take advantage of grants the city can apply for to fill them. The Fire Department would lose $1 million in support staff and remove an ambulance from service when firefighters call in sick, rather than assign overtime to staff it.

The development services department would be cut by $1.3 million, public works by $1 million and finance by $360,000. Past cuts included two police officers, a dispatcher, a fire battalion chief and two fire captains. Wood blamed the city's dire financial condition on the state, saying it let its financial disarray infect the city.

Weiss' budget memo recommends using $9.5 million from reserves to cover money that state has taken or borrowed. He said the city's fiscal woes transcend the state's problems. “These are operating deficits and do not include any state take-away impacts,” Weiss said in his report.

He said property tax revenue declined to $46.3 million this year from $53.6 million two years ago. Sales tax revenue declined to $18.4 million from $20 million two years ago. He said that those two revenue sources are unlikely to rebound soon, while the city's employee costs will increase.

“Although the city's revenues are projected to remain stagnant, the city's expenditures are projected to grow over the next few years primarily due to employee salary and benefit increases,” he said in his report.

He said if the council doesn't reduce costs soon “there will come a point when your money will run out, and then you'll have difficult choices to make.”

Man Burns American Flag - Is Duct Taped to Flagpole for Six Hours

Some veterans in this community near Albany, New York, resorted to some medieval punishment after a Valley Falls man burned the American flag on a pole in front of the Veterans of Foreign Wars post.

The young man, whose name was not released, was duct taped to the pole by veterans for about six hours last Sunday with a sign around his neck accusing him of being a flag burner. He was pilloried while the village held its fall youth soccer picnic, which included a long parade of children passing the man tied to the pole.

''He'll never disrespect the flag again, I can tell you that,'' post Commander Nick Normile, a Vietnam War veteran, said today.

Normile said the man came into the post's bar last Friday night on Poplar Avenue for a drink but was turned away because he had no ID. Angered, the man went outside, lowered the flag which hung for a time in Iraq, and set it on fire with a cigarette lighter.

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