After a left hip replacement, the 52-year old Albanian woman had only one word to say to Dr. Gregory S. DiFelice, Director of Sports Medicine and Joint Reconstruction Surgery at Jacobi Medical Center and North Central Bronx Hospital. She hugged him in gratitude and said "Mire."
"That's the only word that I know in Albanian," said Dr. DiFelice. "It means 'better.' If you're healthy enough to have surgery, I can change your life for the better."
The patient had not had a single day without pain, nor a full night's sleep in the past twenty years because of her hip. She was a few months away from being wheelchair-bound, but the last two months after surgery had brought great relief, and she was walking without even a cane.
"That's one of my mottos," said Dr. DiFelice, "No pain, no cane."
Pain relief and making life better for thousands of people in the North Bronx has been Dr. DiFelice's mission for the past eight years. He performs nearly 200 shoulder and knee repairs and reconstructions, and over 100 joint replacements annually with the latest minimally invasive technology available. He also treats injuries and problems associated with tendons, ligaments and cartilage that make joints function properly. His procedures fix many injuries that non-surgical methods could not resolve.
"My patients get the same advanced surgical procedures available at many world-class private institutions in the city. Today we are doing major surgeries through a few well-placed poke holes into the body using arthroscopic technology. These surgeries would have required extended open incisions less than five to ten years ago."
Dr. DiFelice is one of the few multi-ligament reconstruction surgeons in the Bronx. Every day he sees many patients crippled with arthritis and pain, many of whom did not get timely or adequate care because of their socioeconomic status.
"Even though our patients often have complex problems, we have great outcomes, because we follow established evidence-based protocols before and after surgery, and everyone on our team involved with patient care has been well trained."
A graduate of Princeton University, Dr. DiFelice received his medical degree from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. He did a residency program in Orthopaedic Surgery at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York, the top-ranked training program in the country. He also was a fellow in Sports Medicine at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri where he served as an assistant team surgeon to all the city's major sports teams -- the St. Louis Rams, the St. Louis Blues and the St. Louis Cardinals.
Dr. DiFelice lives in Manhattan with his wife Donna and their two young children.