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Garden State Orthopaedic Associates, P.A.
28-04 Broadway, Fair Lawn, NJ 07410
Phone:201-791-4434 | Fax:201-791-9377

15 professionals making a difference in health

By Brooke Perry,

This year, (201) Magazine profiles a group of Bergen’s most committed health care providers, physicians, philanthropists and community advocates. Whether performing complex neurosurgical or craniofacial procedures on children, employing the latest technological innovations in the operating room, raising awareness about bullying and other social issues, volunteering in the community or helping patients recover from serious medical issues, these compassionate men and women are making a significant impact on the quality of life in our communities.

Dr. Kenneth Levitsky

Orthopedic Surgeon, The Valley Hospital and St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center

Stand-Up Guys

Not so long ago, a patient with ankle arthritis had only one surgical option – a procedure that fused the bones together, rending the ankle motionless.

“Technology has improved dramatically, and times have changed,” says Dr. Andrew Brief, the orthopedic surgeon who performed Bergen County’s first total ankle replacement in 2009 at Holy Name Medical Center. “Rather than fusing the bones together, total ankle replacement preserves motion and offers the patient, in most cases, a much better quality of life.”

In 2010, Brief, who is affiliated with Ridgewood Orthopedic Group, teamed up with fellow orthopedic surgeon Dr. Kenneth Levitsky at The Valley Hospital to confront some of the more challenging foot and ankle reconstruction cases in the area.

“In our sub-specialty,” Brief says, “you need two working brains to play off of each other. He has years of experience, and I am closer to the training and clinical research. Our chemistry works well together.”

A long-time staff member of The Valley Hospital and a member of the teaching faculty at St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center, Levitsky is associated with Garden State Orthopaedic Associates and regularly collaborates with Brief remotely. “Thanks to technology,” Levitsky says, “we can see patients in our offices and immediately consult one another.”

Both are forward thinkers inspired by innovation and technology, but their similarities don’t end there. They are both the sons of physicians, and both say they always knew they’d pursue careers in medicine. Brief’s father was a pioneering orthopedic surgeon in the 1980s who brought cutting-edge techniques such as arthroscopic surgery to local community hospitals. “Thirty years later, I’m doing the same with total ankle replacement,” Brief says.

The son of a pediatrician, Levitsky’s path to orthopedics was an “ah ha” moment. “I’d always loved working on my car, a Volkswagen Super Beetle,” he says, “and one day in my second year of med school, my advisor invited me into the operating room to observe a total knee replacement.” Levitsky saw all the saws, drills and hammers and thought, “This is fantastic!

“It dawned on me right then and there that this was what I wanted to do,” he says. “What we do shares many qualities with carpentry, but in a nice, sterile environment.”

Though ankle fusion surgery is still performed regularly – currently beating out total ankle replacement by almost 6-to-1 – the latter procedure is catching on fast, helped by the ever-advancing technology responsible for artificial joints, including the Salto Talaris Total Ankle Prosthesis, Brief and Levitsky’s artificial joint of choice.

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