George Liu, D.P.M.
In the instant before a car crash, people instinctively brace their feet against the floorboard. Unfortunately, that can cause severe injuries like a broken heel bone, midfoot, or ankle. These types of injuries are very familiar to George Liu, D.P.M., who specializes in surgical management for the traumatized foot and ankle. Dr. Liu is board certified in reconstructive rearfoot/ankle surgery and is dual fellowship trained.
We are using an alternative surgical approach to manage calcaneal fractures (or broken heels), which can be difficult to treat. It is called the sinus tarsi approach. We have been able to decrease the wound complication rates to less than 5 percent.”
An Assistant Professor in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at UT Southwestern Medical Center, Dr. Liu cares for patients who have foot and ankle fractures from automotive accidents, sporting injuries and falls as well as myriad other severe foot and ankle injuries. Painful arthritis and deformities as a long-term complication of these injuries are among the problems he sees on a regular basis. “The goal in trauma and reconstruction surgery is not only to restore the structure of the foot and ankle, but more importantly, its function as well,” says Dr. Liu.
Another area of Dr. Liu’s expertise is treating people with advanced foot or ankle bone damage from diabetes. A particular cause of severe foot and ankle deformity in diabetes is a condition called Charcot (pronounced shar-ko) arthropathy – a painless inflammatory disease that rapidly destroys joints in the foot and ankle. Because diabetes can reduce sensation, deformities from Charcot can cause ulcers, which can lead to infection and sometimes amputation.
“We tend to be the center to take care of severe deformities caused by Charcot,” says Dr. Liu. “Though this is commonly managed by other physicians, we are usually referred the more complicated cases. These patients typically have other associated problems related to diabetes and often require a multidisciplinary approach.”
Wherever possible, Dr. Liu chooses surgical techniques that minimizes harm to surrounding structures. “My approach is more minimal-ncision surgery: soft-tissue sparing procedures, percutaneous techniques, or arthroscopic techniques to achieve the same goal while reducing complications from large incisions,” he says. “These are soft tissue-friendly procedures.”
Among his research interests, he is studying methods of diagnosing injuries to the ankle syndesmosis, which is ligament damage commonly seen with ankle fractures or a high ankle sprain. Dr. Liu has given lectures and workshops to fellow physicians as far away as California, North Carolina, and Germany, and is a section editor for the Journal of Foot and Ankle Surgery. D Magazine has named him a 2012 Best Doctor.