Andrew I. Spitzer, MD, has traveled to Israel more than a dozen times over the past decade to perform his own brand of community service: teaching surgeons the latest techniques for replacing hips and knees while treating many patients for free. Now that work has earned Spitzer, director of the Joint Replacement Program at the Cedars-Sinai Orthopaedic Center, a rare distinction. He is one of only a handful of American surgeons to be named an honorary member of the Israel Orthopaedic Association.
“It’s the highlight of my professional career,” Spitzer said. “It’s nice to be recognized for what has come to be a passion of mine.” Spitzer got involved with the association in 2003, when he decided to put his surgical skills to use in hope of helping the Jewish state. He took on surgical cases that would serve as teaching opportunities for residents and staff at hospitals in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Haifa and Beersheba, among other places. He began attending the association’s annual meetings and delivered lectures to fellow orthopedists about his specialty - joint replacements for hips and knees.
“I wanted to contribute in some way to Israeli culture, to celebrate their yearning for knowledge,” said Spitzer, who also is a member of the Cedars-Sinai/USC Dramatic Arts Dance Medicine Center. “I thought this was a great opportunity to make a contribution in a positive way.” Association leaders said Spitzer was a natural choice for induction into the organization. Spitzer received the award at the association’s December meeting in Tel Aviv, where he delivered four lectures about innovations in hip and knee replacement surgery.
“Andrew is not only an excellent teacher and speaker but a real, true friend to Israel and Israeli orthopedics,” said Steven Velkes, MD, the association’s treasurer and chair of the Department of Orthopedic and Trauma Surgery at the Rabin Medical Center (Beilinson Campus) outside Tel Aviv. At Cedars-Sinai, Spitzer serves as both surgeon and researcher, focusing on implant designs, blood management in total joint replacement, prevention of blood clots, and the non-operative management of osteoarthritis of the hip and knee. He is board certified by the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery and is a fellow of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons.
Spitzer has written numerous articles for peer-reviewed publications, contributed chapters to textbooks on hip and knee replacement, and lectured extensively and presented scientific papers around the world. He also serves as a consultant reviewer to many of the major orthopedic journals, including the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery and Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research.
He is a member of the American Association of Hip and Knee Surgeons, the Western Orthopaedic Association, the California Orthopaedic Association and the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.