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Eight viewers enter the operating room with 'The Latest Procedure'

October 18, 2012

Eight, Arizona PBS brings the operating room into viewer living rooms for the launch of "The Latest Procedure," at 8 p.m., Nov. 13. The pilot program for the anticipated medical series is titled "The Latest Procedure: Anterior Total Hip Replacement Surgery."  Its premiere precedes the 30-year anniversary of Eight’s first “OR” broadcast in February 1983 when the PBS station aired the world’s first live telecast of open heart surgery.

“Our goal of 'The Latest Procedure' is to inform individuals about healthy living practices, medical discoveries, diagnoses and treatments to foster better health,” said Kelly McCullough, Eight’s general manager. “The healthcare landscape is changing – shifting the burden of responsibility to patients to take a more assertive role in their own care and leaving many patients feeling inadequately informed about their own health concerns. This multi-media project delivers content across many platforms – television programs, the web, social media and educational outreach – to educate viewers about their healthcare options. We’re also pleased to have the Maricopa County Medical Society serve as a content advisor.”

"The Latest Procedure: Anterior Total Hip Replacement Surgery" kicks off the project by going inside the OR with Arizona’s own orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Ted Firestone, as he explains step-by-step this innovative approach currently used in approximately 20 percent of hip replacement surgeries nationally. Pioneered by Joel Matta of Los Angeles, world-renowned pelvic fracture surgeon, the anterior hip replacement technique has meant less pain and fewer post-operative precautions for patients.

“This is the least invasive way to perform a total hip replacement because the muscles about the hip are spread rather than incised,” said Firestone, medical director of the Total Joint Replacement program at Scottsdale Healthcare Shea. “In my experience, patients undergoing anterior hip replacement versus the conventional posterior surgery leave the hospital a full day earlier. I’ve also found that they experience less post-op pain and require fewer precautions.

“I’ve performed over 600 of these procedures using a special orthopedic table. This table allows for x-rays to be obtained during the procedure which help to improve the accuracy of component positioning and leg length determination.”

During Eight’s hour-long program, viewers not only scrub in with Firestone, but they get a bird’s-eye view of the operation through a mini-cam strapped to the surgeon’s head. Zooming out, they watch his play-by-play account of the surgery. They also join him as he meets the patient, demonstrates surgical tools and provides a personal tour of the OR before surgery begins. This includes explanation of the unique operating table designed for anterior hip replacement surgery by Matta. Following surgery, Firestone takes viewers back to the patient’s recovery room only three hours after the operation – and the audience walks with her down the hall.

During the show, Firestone also is interviewed at Eight studios by host Jim Cissell. After reviewing hip replacement basics, the surgeon points to a hip model to explain how he uses various instruments and actual implant components during surgery. In a taped segment, Firestone examines the patient at her two-week follow-up appointment and the audience gets to see her progress. The show also airs at 11:30 p.m., Nov. 13 and 4 a.m., Nov. 14. Its website is:

“I find it somewhat prophetic that one of Dr. Firestone’s best-known patients, Dr. Edward Diethrich, was also the world-renowned cardiac surgeon featured in Eight’s live telecast of open heart surgery in 1983,” said Eight’s McCullough. “With the launch of 'The Latest Procedure,' we’re coming full circle in our effort to help Arizonans be smarter healthcare consumers.”

Diethrich was medical director of Arizona Heart Institute, a diagnostic and treatment center for heart disease, when it co-produced The Operation with Eight in February 1983. Here’s a link:

In February 2013, Eight anticipates airing its second program in The Latest Procedure series, featuring the newest techniques in cardiovascular treatments and marking the 30-year anniversary of its groundbreaking broadcast of The Operation. Funding for the new series is being made possible by The Parsons Foundation and the Friends of Eight.

Since 1983, Eight also has produced other surgery broadcasts including the following:

• "The Implant: Hip Replacement Surgery" (1987)
• "Implant II: Knee Replacement Surgery" (1990)
• "The Implant III: Hip Revision Surgery" (1996)

Eight is co-producing "The Latest Procedure: Anterior Total Hip Replacement Surgery" with Chris Wooley of VAS Communications/HiDefMD and Wayne Dickmann of Even Keel Productions, Inc.

Eight, Arizona PBS is a trusted community resource.  For over 51 years, the PBS station has focused on educating children, reporting in-depth on public affairs, fostering lifelong learning and celebrating arts and culture. Eight achieves its mission through the power of non-commercial television, the Internet, educational outreach and community-based initiatives. Its signal reaches 86 percent of the homes in Arizona. With more than 1 million viewers weekly, Eight consistently ranks among the most-viewed public television stations per capita in the country. For more information, visit Eight is a member-supported service and the public media enterprise of Arizona State University.