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The Challenges of the Syndesmosis Procedure

It has been almost 60 years since the Syndesmosis Concept was first introduced in Italy, yet it remains relatively unknown. Despite sound surgical principles, indisputable evidence and unmatched results, mainstream medicine remains easily dismissive of something so radically different. Thus, the limited availability of the Syndesmosis Procedure is a challenge with many layers.

  • Lack of peer support – Peer acceptance is the primary challenge of the Syndesmosis Procedure. Its surgical concept sits far outside the comfort zone of traditional orthopaedic and podiatric practices.
  • Lack of commercial support – At present, the Syndesmosis Procedure is performed with the most basic of surgical instruments. Absorbable sutures and surgical plates are available in any standard operating room. They lack the commercial push associated with new instruments or implants.
  • Lack of subsidization – Insurance companies actually pay doctors more to cut bones and fuse joints. When all the actual long-term benefits to insurance companies are recognized, hopefully this will change too.
  • Lack of awareness – It may take some time for the Syndesmosis Procedure to be integrated into training programs for future surgeons. The first step is initial acceptance.
  • Lack of understanding – Comparative studies between the Syndesmosis Procedure and traditional surgeries are not yet available and surface perceptions of the Syndesmosis Procedure may not be accurate.

Dr. Wu versus the Medical Council of Hong Kong

An underdog story with an uneventful ending

In 2013 the Medical Council of Hong Kong (HKMC) accused Dr. Wu of misconduct following complaints from a Singapore-based patient who underwent the Syndesmosis Procedure in 2009. Dr. Wu stood accused of medical bias – for telling the patient too many advantages of the Syndesmosis Procedure, too few advantages of the traditional bone-breaking procedures and failing to reveal all possible complications, despite the patient suffering none.

The patient refused to provide a medical report to substantiate her claims and the MCHK could not find any problem with the patient’s surgical management and results, yet the MCHK suspended Dr. Wu’s medical license for 3 months and until further review of his practice.

With such an unproportionately severe sentence, Dr. Wu appealed to the High Court and won. In an unprecedented outcome, the Court even ordered MCHK to compensate Dr. Wu, in full, for both the initial hearing and his appeal.

Dr. Wu has since sought justice repeatedly by requesting for the MCHK to conduct another public hearing and challenge his allegedly 'biased claims' of the Syndesmosis Procedure. The MCHK continues to refuse Dr. Wu the chance to present his facts and evidence regarding his success with the Syndesmosis Procedure, essentially denying the medical community a potential breakthrough.

Dedicated to the root problem

Despite all challenges facing the Syndesmosis Procedure, we are inspired by stories of persistence within the medical field. In 1981, Dr. Barry Marshall drank an infectious broth to demonstrate to disbelievers that bacteria is the main culprit in causing the common stomach ulcer – not spicy food and not the stress of a high-pressure lifestyle.

It took over 20 years of campaigning before the medical community recognized this true pathology for stomach ulcers. Now millions of people look to antibiotics to provide a simple solution to what was historically thought to be a complex problem. It will take time for others to recognize the true pathology for bunion formation and for the Syndesmosis Procedure to become more accepted. We’re pleased to see others helping the effort in the United States and around the world:

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Are you a doctor and interested in learning the Syndesmosis Procedure?