Three’s Company

The Orthopaedic Center of Corpus Christi: taking orthopaedic surgery to new heights for the Coastal Bend

By: Jessica Dusek
Photos by: Paul Marshall

The Orthopaedic Center of Corpus Christi (OCCC has new additions to their team, and they are changing lives! With the practice commitment “to provide the highest quality of life with the least risk,” the practice serves the best interest of their patients with less invasive surgical options and procedures, in addition to the traditional surgical approach.

“There are a variety of conservative treatment options available that may help patients improve without surgery,” explains spine specialist Dr. Andrew Indresano. However, when patients do require surgical intervention, the OCCC is proud to offer state-of-the-art technology and techniques.

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A pillar of orthopaedic care in the region, the OCCC has provided total joint replacement, sports medicine and arthroscopic surgery. With the recent addition of fellowship-trained spine surgeon Indresano; hand and upper-extremity specialist Dr. Aimee Schimizzi; and general orthopedist with interest in shoulder, knee and hip surgery, Dr. Miguel Berastain Jr., the scope of practice and access to care has expanded. The surgeons are aligned in their philosophy in service to their patients and are dedicated to providing the highest quality of care possible.

The expansion of specialists in the group allows patients the convenient option to see several specialists without traveling from one location to another – or to a completely different city to receive care. “Hours are 8:30 a.m. to whenever,” explains Linda Hernandez, administrator of the patient-centric clinic. Now with state-of-the-art radiology, they aim “to work to create a culture of health and wellness,” continues Hernandez, who has been with the practice for 37 years.

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The OCCC is currently undergoing renovations to add six additional rooms to its existing 16. In addition, there will be another radiology suite to accommodate patients. Currently, the practice treats patients not only from the Corpus Christi area, but also an influx of patients from the surrounding areas, attracted to the practice’s integrity and dedication to delivering quality care.

“Some of my patients come from more than two hours away – some patients from San Antonio, Austin and the Valley,” Indresano explains. “It is not uncommon for them to come to Corpus for treatment.”

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Indresano, a fellowship-trained surgeon, earned his residency degree in orthopaedic surgery at the University of California, San Diego, and obtained his specialty degree from University of Wisconsin, Madison. Studying with some of the best spine surgeons in the United States (arguably in the world), he is excited to bring his knowledge and techniques to South Texas. Indresano and his wife, hand specialist Schimizzi, chose Corpus Christi as the ideal place to practice. Attracted to the friendly South Texas culture, and aligned with the high values and integrity of the existing partners of OCCC, the city of Corpus Christi was an excellent fit.

Schimizzi, a fellowship-trained hand and upper-extremity specialist, treats upper-extremity fractures, neuropathies, tendon dysfunctions and essentially all orthopaedic issues from the upper arm to the tip of the finger. Her passion spills over as she describes the anatomy of the upper extremity: “I was always intrigued by it.”

Schimizzi completed her residency at the University of California, San Diego, and graduated from her fellowship in hand surgery from St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York City. When patients have a dysfunction of the musculoskeletal system, the correct treatment or surgery allows “[us] to make a huge difference in their daily life,” she explains of her specialty.

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The OCCC is bringing the latest developments in advanced technology to Corpus Christi. One of two surgeons in the practice trained to perform computer-assisted surgery, Berastain, explains that the technology allows surgeons to work with absolute precision. Computer precision allows joint replacements to be anatomically correct to within 1 mm, an advancement that results in a nearly perfect implant placement. “Before I walk out of the operating room, I am certain the implant is in excellent position,” he says.

Berastain also explains that in treating joint problems, you need to have a well-trained surgeon in addition to the technology. “It’s really about recreating anatomy, ligament and muscle balancing – if you can achieve balance, patients do well.” The computer-assisted surgery only helps to better achieve this goal. The technological advancements can help surgeons perform surgery with more precision and potentially perform less surgery to solve the patient’s problem.

Berastain spent most of his formative years in Corpus Christi. He graduated from Incarnate Word Academy High School, received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Notre Dame and studied medicine at Case Western Reserve in Cleveland, Ohio. Subsequently, he returned to Texas, completing his residency at the University of Texas in Houston. For the beginning of his practice, he joined his father and they were in joint practice for nine years. He credits his father’s 30-plus years in medicine as an inspiration. “He taught me how to relate to patients and surgical techniques they do not teach in books.”

Advanced technology is not only limited to the field of joint replacement. Recent techniques allow hand conditions, such as Dupuytren’s contracture, to be addressed in the office. Dupuytren’s contracture, a contracture of the fascial bands in the palm, results in flexion contractures of the digits. A same-day office procedure, performed under local anesthesia, allows patients to return to their daily lives almost immediately without surgical downtime. Results are instant, Schimizzi explains: “Patients come in with their fingers bent and leave with their fingers straight.”

In addition, Indresano has brought minimally invasive surgery (MIS) of the spine to South Texas – a new and extremely effective technique in treating a multitude of spinal pathology. Traditional spine surgery requires large posterior incisions, prolonged recovery times and soft-tissue dissection that can lead to chronic back pain. With minimally invasive techniques, the incisions are smaller and allow for faster recovery, and they offer a decreased risk of blood transfusion and a decrease in postoperative pain.

Patients undergoing MIS are faster to mobilize and return to work with less downtime. In addition, these techniques provide a safer way for an older patient population to have their spine pathology surgically addressed. Finally, Indresano brings a new perspective to South Texas in the concept of fusion-less cervical spine surgery – a new technique that maintains mobility while addressing pathology.

The practice is also committed to patient education. Education of the diagnosis and proposed procedure guides the patient to understand the process. The OCCC has an updated website with anatomically correct videos and media to help inform patients. Preparing the patient is key, as Indresano describes of his spine patients. “Watching animated videos of their planned procedure stimulates questions from the patients – why, where, what and the risks. I think my patients really appreciate and respond well to this.”

At OCCC, the surgeons work in close proximity and are committed to staying up-to-date on technology, educating patients and providing the highest-quality care for the best patient outcome. “One of the great rewards of orthopedics is that you see results quickly,” Berastain says. “People who couldn’t walk because of pain, walk again when you take their pain away.” Indresano recalls a patient who was unable to walk 10 to 15 feet preoperatively, yet after her spine surgery, “she was up and walking within 12 hours of her procedure.”

With the addition of three new providers, the OCCC has continued its commitment to the community it serves. The practice provides complete orthopaedic care at the highest level.

All of the doctors are currently taking new patients. Learn more by visiting the Orthopaedic Center of Corpus Christi website at www.orthocentercc.com.

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