Maureen Finnegan, M.D.
You might see Maureen Finnegan, M.D., if you’ve injured your ACL during a pick-up game of basketball, are a child with a painful knee from hemophilia, or a baby that’s been born with an extra toe. As member of UT Southwestern Medical Center’s Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Dr. Finnegan has more than 30 years of experience with orthopaedic patients from all walks of life. As a result, she has “a thorough understanding of the entire specialty of orthopaedic surgery,” she says.
A good portion of sports medicine is non-operative. A lot of it is soft-tissue injury (injury to tendons and ligaments). Trained sports medicine doctors provide patients with an advantage of effectively diagnosing and treating soft-tissue injuries, with expertise in non-surgical and surgical options.”
Athletic injuries bring many patients to her door – a good number of them middle-aged enthusiasts who try to play a sport without preparing, or who just overdo it. Injuries like sprained ankles, knees, and elbows, rotator cuff tendinitis, back pain, and wrist pain are all too common among these “weekend warriors.”
“You cannot go from the couch to the paint gun at age 45. Your body won’t let you do that,” Dr. Finnegan says. “You’re just not as physiologically capable as you were 20 years ago."
Dr. Finnegan also treats pediatric patients, including those with hemophilia. Because hemophilia patients’ blood doesn’t clot normally, these children bleed spontaneously, often within joints like the knee. The blood irritates the joint lining, or synovium, making it even more prone to bleeding in the future. The end result can be arthritis at an early age.
In the past, surgeons recommended that these children undergo an operation called an open synovectomy. “The problem is these patients got incredibly stiff, and they usually re-bled around the site of surgery,” she says.
So Dr. Finnegan took another approach. She conducted one of the world’s first studies showing that doing a minimally invasive arthroscopic procedure to perform the synovectomy is not only safe and effective for children with hemophilia, but it also allows them better range of motion in the joint. Dr. Finnegan and her colleagues have presented their results at meetings all over the world. Most of these procedures are now performed with the arthroscope.