Elizabeth Matzkin, MD is an orthopedic surgeon and the Chief of Women’s Sports Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Dr. Matzkin currently serves as a team physician for the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team, the U.S. Paralympics Soccer Team, the U.S. Women’s National Hockey Team, and is the head team physician at Stonehill College.
Antonia Chen, MD, MBA is also an orthopedic surgeon and the Director of Arthroplasty Research at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. She primarily performs hip and knee replacements, and her research interests include clinical outcomes, opioid use, and physical activity following joint replacement surgery.
Both Drs. Matzkin and Chen are recruiting physicians for our TeMPO study (Treatment of Meniscal Problems in Osteoarthritis), a randomized controlled clinical trial designed to compare the efficacy of two in-person physical therapy interventions and two home exercise programs in treating patients with meniscal tear and knee osteoarthritis. Learn more about the TeMPO study here.
We sat down with both surgeons to discuss their clinical practice, research, and hopes for the future. This is the second installment in a series of profiles we are doing to highlight the work of our collaborating physicians.
Dr. Matzkin’s research has recently focused on sex differences in sports medicine, which ties in well to her role as the Director of Women’s Sports Medicine at the Brigham. For the past decade, she has maintained a robust database chronicling the outcomes of all her surgeries. This data source was used in a recent collaboration with the OrACORe team. When asked about this study, she said, “demonstrated that patient reported knee symptoms, traditionally defined as “meniscal” or “mechanical” symptoms are likely associated with underlying cartilage damage rather than meniscal pathology. We will continue to look at these patients to determine if the presence of mechanical symptoms is associated with outcomes after arthroscopy.”
Dr. Chen’s current research focuses on clinical outcomes after knee or hip replacement surgery, including preventing periprosthetic joint infection. This has involved studying the benefits of physical activity before and after surgery, and opioid use after surgery. She is also an active member of the TeMPO study and says that she loves TeMPO because “every patient who participates in it receives some intervention that could improve their outcome.”
Both surgeons are busy treating patients and researching ways to help future ones. They both acknowledge that this balance can be hard to strike, and that it has taken years to find what works for them. Dr. Chen enjoys clinical research because she can integrate it with her clinical practice and help patients find studies that can hopefully improve their outcomes. Dr. Matzkin credits her “amazing research assistants” with helping her to balance her roles and maintain her surgical outcomes database over the years.
Dr. Chen believes that participating in research is vital for improving clinical practice down the line. She says that “much of what we do in medicine is often due to historical norms and personal experience. By conducting research, we can find support for these practices, enhance these practices, or debunk what we have been doing. By doing so, we can improve patient care and the way we practice medicine.”
Both Drs. Chen and Matzkin love to stay active outside of work by running or riding their bikes, and in Dr. Chen’s case, by walking her dog Lily. Dr. Matzkin can often be found attending her three daughters’ sports competitions in her off time.
When asked where she hopes her career will go in the future, Dr. Chen says that she loves what she is doing now and hopes to continue conducting high level research projects. Dr. Matzkin isn’t sure where her career will take her in the future, but she is excited for the adventure in getting there!