Dr. Lucius Pomerantz, an orthopedic surgeon and upper extremity specialist affiliated with Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center, uses his training in mixed martial arts (MMA) to provide cutting-edge orthopedic care for patients of all ages and activity levels.
Formerly known in the MMA world as "The Surgeon," Dr. Pomerantz gained a unique understanding of sports-related injuries during his time spent in the world of amateur boxing, Brazilian jiu jitsu (BJJ) and MMA. While he has since hung up his MMA grappling gloves, Dr. Pomerantz continues to train in BJJ and uses his sports background to provide the best care for his patients.
Did your interest in sports growing up influence your specialization in orthopedics?
Sports have always been a large part of my life. For that reason, there was some influence on my decision. What attracted me to orthopedic surgery was the ability to use my hands, see rapid functional improvement in patients, restore function to patients, and stay involved in sports.
What are some of the most common injuries you see in your practice?
Beyond the usual strains and sprains, there are many injuries that I commonly see as an upper extremity surgeon. These include rotator cuff injuries, shoulder dislocations and tennis elbow, as well as ligament and tendon injuries like "skier's thumb."
Injuries are often sports-specific. I have experience treating athletes at all levels and in just about every sport, including baseball, hockey, boxing, MMA, wrestling, basketball, soccer and football.
You've been involved in finding new ways to collect images of the body while minimizing patients' exposure to radiation. What can you tell us about that?
While in my residency, I helped validate a new way to develop three-dimensional images with a lower dose of radiation than traditional CT scans. This provides the patient with less radiation exposure without compromising the utility of the scan.
Your wife is also a doctor. Do you ever share lessons learned with each other?
My wife is a procedural dermatologist and while there is not a lot of overlap between our two fields, there are many ways we help each other. We understand the long hours and commitment to our patients, and we share advice on how to deal with difficult situations and obstacles. My wife's ambition and excellence as a doctor drives me to be better at what I do.
Are there any techniques you learned from your time in sports that you use in your practice as a surgeon?
There are many skills that I have brought from my sports competitions to my work as a surgeon. First, it takes a team working well together to get optimal outcomes. Second, the training is never done, as there are always ways to improve. Also, there is a certain mental fortitude that sports competition builds — the desire to be more than average combined with work ethic to achieve those goals. Lastly, my experience in sports has given me the ability to stay focused on the task at hand, which ensures I provide the best care for each of my patients.