Anthony M. Bevilacqua, DO
Sports Medicine & Orthopaedic Center, Inc.
During his 18 years as an orthopaedic surgeon at Sports Medicine & Orthopaedic Center (SMOC), Dr. Anthony Bevilacqua has helped generations of Hampton Roads families recover from injuries and chronic pain.
As a prominent sports medicine and joint replacement specialist, Dr. Bevilacqua – like his fellow partners at SMOC – aims to rely on tried-and-true procedures while always keeping an eye on the future.
Case in point: Dr. Bevilacqua is currently leading a local trial on “smart” knee replacement prosthetics, each outfitted with an embedded chip that can transmit post-surgical motion data to patients and their providers via a secure app. That includes range of motion, stride length, cadence, walking speed, distance and qualified step count.
The Persona IQ Smart Knee is the first such orthopaedic and spine device on the market. Its chip fits inside an inch-long stem in the tibial component of a total knee implant already widely used in joint replacement surgery.
The additional technology costs less than $600 and has a battery life of up to 20 years. Patients and physicians can view collected metrics on a phone, tablet or other electronic device. They can also opt out of the service, which does not track location, at any time.
“The operation is no different for patients or surgeons,” Dr. Bevilacqua notes. “However, I’m hopeful that giving patients more feedback during the recovery process could have a dramatic impact, potentially allowing for less physical therapy and prescription pain medication. Preliminary results from around the country have been very positive.”
Dr. Bevilacqua is the only physician within the Sentara Healthcare system approved to conduct a study on the advancement, which he hopes to complete by early 2024 at Sentara Obici Hospital. He then will report his results to a physician-member Joint Replacement Task Force.
Initially, Dr. Bevilacqua will focus on younger and more active patients, although he intends to use the Smart Knee more widely if it proves helpful. “I believe this will be a major new step in joint replacement surgery,” he says.
Dr. Bevilacqua decided he wanted to be a doctor in the third grade, when he twice fractured his leg in falls. He earned a Bachelor of Science from the University of Notre Dame and went on to graduate from the Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine.
After joining the U.S. Army, where he would serve for 18 years and collect multiple achievement medals, Dr. Bevilacqua completed his internship at Fitzsimons Army Medical Center and a residency in Orthopaedic Surgery at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.
Orthopaedics appealed to him as “medicine that cures people,” he relates. “Most doctors spend most of their time trying to arrest decay, while we get to actually fix most patients.”
While on active duty, Dr. Bevilacqua served at the Pentagon’s U.S. Army Health Clinic and the 121st General Hospital in South Korea. He joined SMOC in 2005 after four years as Chief of Orthopaedic Surgery and Rehabilitative Services at Martin Army Community Hospital in Georgia. He credits military medicine not only for honing his skills during complex cases but also for giving him extra determination to get patients back on their feet.
A longtime Suffolk resident, Dr. Bevilacqua is a father of three who stays active through tennis, sailing and travel. He enjoys training students as an Associate Clinical Professor at Eastern Virginia Medical School, as well as getting to know his patients of all ages.
“I want to show people that doctors do have time to listen,” he says. “It’s been very rewarding to have been here long enough to get to know entire families and become a real part of this community.”