The day before

9:00 PM: Kortrijk (Courtrai for Francophones) a city of 75.000 citizens in Flanders, the Flemish region of Belgium.

My day had begun in Italy at dawn with my hospitalized patients’ habitual check-ups, followed by long office hours for the scheduled appointments.
A long, intense and varied communication with several people, each with their own story, with an important problem independent from its nature because it is a personal problem. People with human expectations, unreachable in some cases, yet with concrete problems and requests.

What brings me to catch a flight at the end of such a day, fly to Brusells, get onto a taxi and travel for over an hour to meet the team I work with during my international experiences?
Money is what most of you will think, but it isn’t so. Comfortably sitting in my office for hours surely yields more.
Passion is the drive to all this, the desire to grow, to learn, to improve and strive to do better in this profession, not for me but for my patients.
Being a Zimmer Consultant means to give a contribute to product development, to see your ideas actualize into facts which is especially rare for a young – and above all Italian – surgeon in a world prevailed by America. This is also why I take part in numerous meetings where I talk about my work, to cadaver-labs where I illustrate my surgery techniques and meetings with engineers capable of translating good ideas into facts.
And yes, I frequently find myself thinking that even in such an apparently “cold-blooded” profession, feeling emotions is possible.
Having implanted the first “Resurfacing” (TM Zimmer Ankle) prosthesis first in Spain, then in Switzerland and in Belgium tomorrow for example.
I fall asleep, conscious that this is the true drive to my work.

Day 1

6.30 AM: Breakfast and meeting.

I meet up with some surgeons who ask for my opinion on past clinical cases and also on my future surgeries between a coffee and an orange juice. My opinion soothes and reassures them, increasing their awareness that there are other perspectives available. But sometimes it is me who changes perspective. It’s what I call “Sharing Knowledge”; to exchange and put one’s knowledge at service for the patient’s well-being.

08:00 AM: It’s showtime, I enter the operating theatre.

The patient wants to meet me.
He has complete trust in those collogues who advised him to undergo surgery, but he wants to look the surgeon who came for him from Italy in the eye.
Our eyes meet, we exchange a few words in a language which is neither mine nor his. We communicate, and this is what counts.
The surgery begins. I linger and observe a few procedures which differ to the ones which occur during my surgical preparation. Interesting, I think.
We are about to implant a last generation ankle prosthesis. In order to be able to operate, there are many procedures and surgical gestures to learn and skillfully check after so much practice. I have Matteo Limonta, the Zimmer specialist, by my side, carefully monitoring the entire process and the staff’s work. He is another young internationally qualified Italian.
My colleagues, who are almost always expert surgeons at the peak of their career, are undertaking this technique for the first times and need to be guided. I am giving my best so that they won’t need me and will feel at ease the next time.

Now the moment has arrived and having tuned all the instruments, the symphony beings. All the staff follows me and we are in sync.

An Italian team in partnership with an American multinational is a rarity.
The X-Ray for the final check arrives: we are satisfied. We smile, shake hands as though we came to the end of an intense tennis match. The endeavour has been performed well once again.

It’s thanks to experiences such as this one that I succeeded in creating and developing my fellowship project, a training program for young surgeons that I am very proud of and that my collaboration with Zimmer has made possible.

11:00 PM: Return flight to Milan, tired but satisfied.

This hasn’t been my first foreign operation, but this one has a special taste to it, also because as of today, Zimmer has become an even bigger company after its fusion with Biomet.

My Day 1 with Zimmer-Biomet has reached its end.

I go to sleep and I smile.