EAST LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – Michigan State University’s Health Care team is welcoming a remarkable new orthopedic surgeon to its team.

Toufic Jildeh, an Okemos native who is finishing his fellowship at the Steadman Clinic/Steadman Philippon Research Institute in Colorado, will practice in the MSU Health Care Sports Medicine and Orthopedic Center starting later this month.

Jildeh received the prestigious O’Donoghue Sports Injury Award from the American Orthopedic Society for Sports Medicine thanks to his work researching non-opioid treatment plans for patients recovering from surgery.

The study was conducted in Detroit over the course of February 2019 to January 2020. Jildeh and his team tracked the recovery progress of a group of patients recovering from ACL surgeries that were prescribed a multimodal array of medicine, such as muscle relaxants and anti-inflammatories, instead of opioids.

Patients in the study were asked to keep a comprehensive log of their day-to-day recovery, such as tracking whether they were experiencing pain or discomfort.

“We found our non-narcotic protocol had equivalent or better results than the narcotic protocol, with 100% patient satisfaction.,” Jildeh said. “In our minds, this was a huge success. We circumvented the addictive burden without much of a tradeoff.”

Results from the study proved positive, giving Jildeh hope that there is potential for non-opioid pathways to recovery to become more standardized.

“There’s a lot of information that hasn’t been discovered yet. My ultimate goal, and what I hope my career’s work will be, is developing personal pain controls for patients that completely eliminate narcotic use, improve outcomes and help them get through physical therapy and get back to sports quicker,” Jildeh said. “This non-opioid protocol is a big step in the right direction.”

Jildeh said many people that wind up addicted to opioids had their first experience with the drug after being prescribed while recovering from surgery. Multiple factors make them extremely addictive.

“The reasons why these narcotics are so addictive is multi-faceted. One component is forgetting the pain sensation, the other is that it releases a hormone that makes you feel good, similar to eating a really good meal or falling in love,” Jildeh said. “As we know, this can cause disastrous results in people’s lives.”

Jildeh’s role at MSU will see him take on multiple responsibilities. Not only will he work as an assistant professor in the Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Jildeh will also serve as the team physician for MSUs Athletics.

“My work at MSU will be three-pronged. First there’s my clinical practice, next I’ll be an assistant professor where I’ll be teaching the next generation of surgeons and, excitingly, I’ll be assuming the position of team physician for MSU Athletics. That entails doing anything I can to ensure the athletes are in tip-top shape,” Jildeh said.

He also works as a team physician for the U.S. Olympic Ski and Snowboard team.

“My job is to make sure everybody is healthy,” Jildeh said,

Growing up in the Okemos area, Jildeh couldn’t be happier to return to his old stomping grounds.

He has many prized memories attending Spartan football and basketball games. He also obtained a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry and molecular biology from MSU.

“I’m thrilled to return to my home community. During my time here, I’m going to be working to advance the field of orthopedic surgery. I want to really make this a center for medical excellence.”