Pediatric orthopaedic surgeon and researcher Carl R. Weinert, MD, is a pioneer in the field, establishing the first ever pediatric orthopaedic practice in Orange County. In addition to 40 years working in his clinical practice, Dr. Weinert has done extensive research in a variety of areas as well as trained hundreds of orthopaedic and pediatric residents, medical students, nurses, physical therapists and pre-med college students at the University of California, Irvine.
Dr. Weinert’s research interests include developing effective, minimally invasive treatment alternatives for benign bone tumors and bone cysts, designing new surgical instruments for improving the treatment of fractures, especially elbow fractures, and advancing the treatment of clubfoot and other congenital foot deformities.
“I most recently published an update for treatment of bone cysts in children, with a focus on bone grafting material,” Dr. Weinert says.
Earlier in 2017, Dr. Weinert published his work describing a set of instruments custom-designed for fixing elbow fractures. Indeed, elbow fractures are of great interest to Dr. Weinert, who notes that it is not unusual to see a dozen elbow fractures a day in CHOC emergency room.
“We see breaks just above the elbow joint and breaks just below the elbow joint,” he notes. “In fact, elbow breaks are the second most common type of fracture in pediatrics.”
The elbow is a complicated joint because it is “like a small gear box, with two completely different movements,” Dr. Weinert says. “One is the hinge movement and the other is the swivel movement. If malposition occurs during surgery, the patient can lose mobility, which is why we need to precisely line up the joint.”
Dr. Weinert says treating elbow fractures in pediatric patients is very different from treating adult elbow fractures, which is why he felt inspired to create instrumentation especially designed for children.
“For years, it was a challenge finding surgical instruments that were the right size or shape for small bones, but we have managed to develop them,” Dr. Weinert says. “What we were missing was a good set of clamps and retractors. We designed these instruments and introduced them at an international meeting in Barcelona, Spain, in May 2017. Through these efforts, our team at CHOC has been using this set of instruments, and they have been well-received by our orthopaedic surgeons.”
Dr. Weinert also treats patients with clubfoot, keeping up with the latest advances in casting and bracing—advances he shares with the residents he trains. He is the only Orange County orthopaedic surgeon in the Ponseti International Association.
“Whether we are fixing elbow fractures or treating clubfoot, my first priority is giving highly personalized, compassionate care to my patients,” Dr. Weinert says. “Our commitment to patients is what fuels our research efforts, as we look to continually find ways to advance care in pediatric orthopaedics.”