Meet Our Physicians
Alan H. Klein, MD
Special Interest Area: Geriatric Fractures
Did you always want to be an orthopaedic surgeon?
Actually, I never planned to become a doctor. As a mechanical engineering major at Carnegie Mellon, I dreamed about designing cars. But a summer internship in the orthopaedic research lab at the University of Pittsburgh changed my life forever.
How did you become interested in geriatric fractures?
Early in my medical career, I became very interested in the Gamma Nail, a technology that’s used to perform minimally invasive hip fracture stabilization surgery. Most of my patients needing that surgery were older adults.
Today, we’re seeing more hip fractures than ever as “Baby Boomers” reach their 70s and 80s — and those numbers will continue to grow (western Pennsylvania may have the second oldest population in the country).
Do you have a philosophy of care as a physician?
I’m committed to a patient-centered program of care that treats the whole person, not just the fracture. I try to get to know the needs, lifestyle, and goals of my patients to achieve the outcomes they want.
I’m currently working on creating a comprehensive “Hip Fracture Program” designed to offer total support for older adults, from surgery through a successful return home, marshalling the expertise, resources, and research of both UPMC and the University of Pittsburgh.
How common are falls and hip fractures?
About one-third of adults over age 65 fall each year. Falls often leads to fractures, particularly in people who have osteoporosis — where bones become so weak and brittle that even a ground level fall can result in a hip fracture. Hip fractures are a global problem, because they frequently lead to a loss of independence — or even death.
What can people do to reduce their risk of fractures?
There are three important steps that people should take. First, be aware of osteoporosis and the risk of fractures. If you are a woman over age 65 or a man over 70, and you haven’t already had a DXA scan, or bone scan — get one.
Second, stay active! Everyone needs to keep moving with weight bearing activities, such as walking.
Third, have a home safety evaluation done by a professional. Get rid of throw rugs and extension cords, and make sure your lighting is adequate.
What about diet and nutrition?
One of the best things you can do to improve bone health is to eat a healthy diet with adequate amounts of calcium and vitamin D. In Pittsburgh, sometimes, we don’t have enough sunshine. We need to supplement our diets with vitamin D.
To learn more about osteoporosis and hip fractures, or to make an appointment with one of our physicians, please call