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John A. Kotis, DO, FACOS, Performs Life-changing Finger Joint Replacements

Chicago (July 19, 2010) — Kathy Delgado considers herself lucky. After the electrocution and of her left hand in an on-the-job injury, she experienced years of excruciating pain and virtual immobility in the digits of her hand. Now, thanks to a new finger joint replacement technique, she’s looking forward to a better quality of life.

For years, patients like Delgado who suffered damage to their fingers, whether due to traumatic injury or arthritis, had virtually no choice other than to live with the pain and limited mobility.

Times have changed, however, as she and other patients of John A. Kotis, DO, FACOS, hand recon-structive specialist and plastic surgeon at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center in Chicago, have been undergoing unique joint-replacement surgery which alleviates pain and improves motion to damaged fingers.

“It’s very similar to a knee joint replacement, in many respects, allowing the joint to glide more freely,” said Kotis, the only surgeon currently able to perform the finger joint replacement surgery in Chicago and one of only three in Illinois. “Medical device manufacturers have been working on something like this since the early 80s, but they needed to develop something strong enough and light enough for the much-used finger joints.”

Invented and manufactured by Ascension Orthopedics, the anatomically designed PIP Pyrocarbon Arthoplasty, as it’s officially known, restores hand strength and functions for patients whose fingers have been irrevocably damaged.

“This joint replacement really allows patients to get back to their daily activities without the pain and limited movement they may be used to,” Kotis said. “It allows them to, literally, get a better grip on their lives.”

The recovery time is very quick. Delgado was able to start her physical therapy within three days of the surgery, and to resume active motion with the finger within two weeks.

This is especially encouraging for those who have been diagnosed with osteoarthritis, which causes the painful deterioration of the finger joint. Kotis estimates that a full 65 percent of people suffering from the debilitating condition seek no treatment.

“The finger joint replacement allows us to improve the quality of life for those with the most severe cases of arthritis,” he said. “It’s a real gift for those who live with the pain and limited use of their fingers every day.”

Kotis is an associate professor and clinician in hand surgery at Illinois Masonic.

Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center is a 408-bed hospital in Chicago with a Level I trauma center and a Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, the highest designations awarded by the state of Illinois. It offers comprehensive inpatient services, including medical, surgical, obstetrics and pediatric care, as well as a full breadth of outpatient services. A recipient of numerous awards for quality and clinical excellence, Illinois Masonic was ranked one of the nation’s 100 Top Hospitals in 2009 by Thomson Reuters, as well as being named a recipient of the organization’s Everest Award for National Benchmarks. In 2008, the hospital achieved Magnet designation for excellence and quality in nursing services by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Magnet Recognition Program. Illinois Masonic is part of Advocate Health Care, a 2009 Thomson Reuters Top 10 U.S. health care system for quality and clinical performance and the largest provider of health care services in Illinois. For more information on Illinois Masonic, visit

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