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Decreased Mobility and Pain in Patients Inspire UAG Alumni Dr. Lionel Lazaro’s Business

The orthopedic surgeon seeks to improve the quality of life of patients in Puerto Rico with the latest advances in hip reconstruction treatments.

By: UAG School of Medicine
The orthopedic surgeon seeks to improve the quality of life of patients in Puerto Rico with the latest advances in hip reconstruction treatments.

Dr. Lionel Lazzaro is an orthopedic surgeon, and specialist in sports medicine and hip protection. 

Dr. Lionel Lazaro, an orthopedic surgeon and specialist in sports medicine and hip preservation, studied medicine since he had a great passion for the bone disease. A field that has allowed him to harness his greatest talent and face many challenges.
“In bone disease, we collaborate with people who have been hurt, are healthy, but have a problem that limits their mobility, quality of life, and enjoyment. It is difficult to live a life with pain and poor mobility, which affects the mental and physical health of patients.”

The ability to transform a patient’s pain to help them, either by non-surgical procedures or surgery to make them mobile again as well as happy is their greatest motivation.

“In bone disease you work with something that moves the body. Truly, patients can enjoy life once again.”

Towards the path of orthopedics and sports medicine

The Puerto Rican doctor began his studies at the Academia Nuestra Señora de la Providencia, where he met his wife, Dr. Sheila Perez, a pediatrician, and they continued their career together.

“We went to the University of Puerto Rico and then to the University of Guadalajara in Mexico for the School of Medicine, we lived there for 3 years and then we moved to New York where we completed our studies in medicine,” he said.

Race to bone disease

Dr. Lionel started at the Hospital for Special Surgery and then did sports medicine subspecialty.

“I went to Miami, where I did a 3-year medical practice, and then I returned to Puerto Rico with my wife, the dream we had always dreamed of,” he said.

It took more than 20 years for the specialist to return to his homeland in Puerto Rico. Because of this, he expressed inspiration that he returned ready to serve Puerto Ricans and offered all his experience and knowledge on the health side of patients.

Improving patients’ mobility, their biggest motivation
What the doctor highlights most about his training in sports medicine and hip protection is managing to preserve patients’ tissue and keep it functioning again without replacing it.

“In the field of hip protection, there are many people who suffer from hip pain that limits their activity specially with incredibly young patients. I treat young patients who are 14 years of age and older, usually athletes who can’t play their sport anymore. Today we have technology to identify problems that are affecting the hip, which detects them and solves them surgically,” said the expert.
“That part of being able to help a young person get back to work inspires me so much,” he said.

In the case of patients who cannot recover from the damage caused, Dr. Lazzaro explained how any joints in the hips, knees, and shoulders can be replaced. “That’s how we give the patient their life back because they can live and walk without pain. I’m not just saving them, but their quality of life and it’s unbelievably valuable.”

“With technology we do things we never thought could be possible”

Experts highlight the latest scientific advances in the field of bone disease and noted: “Technology has advanced so much in recent years that it gives us the ability to diagnose a problem, plan our surgeries, and have technology inside the operating room that takes x-rays.”

“As a surgeon, it is important to have intraoperative feedback. The satisfaction of knowing that the job is well done, not only by looking at the diagnosis and x-rays of the bone, but what we did; repair the damaged tissue. Nowadays we use technology to do things we never thought were possible,” he said.

Currently, Dr. Lazaro is providing his medical services at the Doctors Center Hospital in San Juan and at Sabanera Health in Dorado.
Giving patients the ability to walk is a specialist’s greatest satisfaction. Dr. Lionel Lazaro returned to Puerto Rico to serve his country.

Puerto Rico: Return to your native land

For the specialist, returning to Puerto Rico was another motivation to pursue his profession and his desire to improve the condition of Puerto Rican doctors.

"Everything needs improvement. Medical school is necessary, a doctor's wage salary on the island needs to be changed, and that's why I've come to help." I believe that with the help of more doctors, we can be inspired here. "We can improve by considering about how to solve existing issues," said Dr. Lazzaro

Furthermore, he admitted that he had wished to return to the country ever since he left. "There is a great need here, the duty of the participants as health professionals," he said. "I think Puerto Rico is of great value, the potential of the people who live on the island is immeasurable."
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