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    U.S. Naval Hospital Okinawa is Using State-of the-Art Space Age Equipment to Get our Sailors and Marines Back in the Fight Faster than Ever Before!

    U.S. Naval Hospital Okinawa is Using State-of the-Art Space Age Equipment to  Get our Sailors and Marines Back in the Fight Faster than Ever Before!

    Photo By Isaac Savitz | LCDR Austin Haag the newly selected Director for Branch Clinics was visiting one of...... read more read more



    Story by Isaac Savitz 

    U.S. Naval Hospital Okinawa

    Okinawa Japan, Camp Hansen, Dr. Robert Eberly, Department Head and Family and Sports Medicine Physician recently took the time to talk about some of the new technology he is using to get our fighting force back in the fight and rehabilitated sooner. It only makes sense that this is happening at a place called the Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation Team or SMART Clinic, a sub-clinic of one of the six clinics that make up the U.S. Naval Hospital Okinawa footprint. Dr. Eberly and his team provide physical therapy and rehabilitation services to active-duty service members being seen post-op or having severe injuries. The AlterG®, according to CDR Eberly, allows them to "titrate out the gravity to the patient's comfort level and allow them to progress earlier from their rehab."

    So, what exactly is this Willy Wonka magical floating anti-gravity device anyway? From the ALTERG® website: "The AlterG® Anti-Gravity Treadmill features patented, NASA Differential Air Pressure (DAP) technology, a precise air calibration system, based on the user's actual body weight, to change what's possible in rehab and training. Using a pressurized air chamber to uniformly reduce gravitational load and body weight in precise 1% increments, AlterG® enables patients and athletes to move unrestricted and pain-free – restoring and building muscle strength, range of motion, balance, function, and fitness. No other unweighting technology offers as much precision, accuracy, and comfort."

    HM3 Victoria Abby, a Corpsman originally from San Diego, CA, is typically the one helping an injured Marine get into and run the machine, but that day, she became the demonstrator, giving her a whole new perspective on the machine. Abby expertly entered the treadmill and got it up and running. When asked how it felt, she said it was straightforward to run and that the measurements were exact, allowing her to float just above the belt with the slightest pressure on her feet but just enough to still know you are running. There is a camera inside the "bubble" that shows the patient's feet, giving the therapist the ability to see the walking gait of a patient to be able to make recommendations. This weightlessness allows recovering patients to get back on their feet, in some cases up to five weeks earlier for the rehab process and, in theory, back in the fight that much sooner. Dr. Eberly said it instills confidence in the patient who may be hesitant to try out a new knee or hip replacement.

    The course of action and rehabilitation services are closely monitored and dictated by the Orthopedic surgeon or Physical Therapist. The technology has been around for a few years, with elite professional athletes and Tier 1 Special Operations warfighters using it first; it is a welcome addition to the arsenal of equipment available to the rehabilitation team at the Hansen SMART Clinic. The anti-gravity treadmill is not the only cutting-edge medicine being done at the clinic. Platelet-Rich Plasma or PRP injections help patients by using their own bodies to create the serum used in healing joints and trauma injuries. Eberly explained the process and even demonstrated how the product was derived from an actual patient who had come in to have the process done. The machine was a small centrifuge that spun down the blood and separated the other components of the blood from the platelets, concentrating them within the plasma and loading up a syringe ready to inject into the patient. According to Johns Hopkins Medicine: "After creating platelet-rich plasma from a patient's blood sample, that solution is injected into the target area, such as an injured knee or a tendon. In some cases, the clinician may use ultrasound to guide the injection. The idea is to increase the concentration of specific bioproteins or hormones, called growth factors, in a specific area to accelerate the healing process. The mechanism behind PRP injections has yet to be understood entirely. Studies show that the increased concentration of growth factors in platelet-rich plasma may stimulate or speed up the healing process, shortening healing time for injuries, decreasing pain, and even encouraging hair growth."

    Navy Medicine is teaming with talent and clinicians who are keeping up with the most recent medical advancements and techniques to provide our warfighters with the optimal edge in medical readiness. The ability to train how they fight is imperative to maintaining the lethality of our forces. Knowing that our warfighters will sustain injuries in combat or realistic training, Navy Medicine is determined and committed to providing lifesaving and rehabilitative medical care in the most austere environments and maintaining a medically ready force that can enter the fight tonight!

    The U.S. Navy Medicine Readiness and Training Command Okinawa (USNMRTCO) supports the Defense Health Agency's U.S. Naval Hospital, Okinawa (USNHO) as the largest OCONUS Navy Medicine medical treatment facility and stands t ready to respond to contingency operations to support the INDOPACOM region. It is a critical regional asset for direct care delivery, regional referrals, and medical contingency operations. The staff of USNHO understands their vital role as pre-positioned, forward-deployed naval forces within the first island chain, aligned and in support of the joint military commands and operations.

    Trey Savitz, Public Affairs Officer
    U.S. Naval Hospital Okinawa, Japan
    Comm: 011-81-971-7024
    DSN: (315) 646-7024


    Date Taken: 05.03.2024
    Date Posted: 05.06.2024 02:56
    Story ID: 470382
    Location: OKINAWA, JP

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