WARWICK – Care New England Health System has added six new physicians to its Department of Orthopedic Surgery and Sports Medicine, who will practice out of Kent Hospital and see patients in Pawtucket, Lincoln and Attleboro.
The new physicians are Dr. Steven Blazar, orthopedic surgeon and spine specialist; Dr. David Cicerchia, orthopedic surgeon and spine specialist; Dr. Jonathan Gastel, orthopedic surgeon and specialist in sports medicine and trauma; Dr. Steven Graff, orthopedic surgeon and specialist in hand and upper extremity; Dr. Maher El-Khatib, specialist in pain management; and Dr. Ana Mata-Fink, orthopedic surgeon and shoulder and elbow specialist.
Blazar is board certified in orthopedic surgery, went to medical school at Boston University and was fellowship trained in spine surgery at Boston’s New England Baptist Hospital. Specializing in minimally invasive outpatient spine surgery, Blazar has more than 30 years of experience in adult inpatient deformity and reconstructive spine procedures from the neck to the low back.
As the first spine surgeon in Rhode Island to implant an artificial disc, he has maintained his skills in the most advanced and evidence-based treatments for diseases of the spine. Blazar works collaboratively to incorporate a wide range of nonsurgical services, including anesthesia pain management, nonnarcotic medication trials, chiropractic, acupuncture, neuromuscular massage therapy, functional rehabilitation and wellness behavioral intervention.
Cicerchia completed his medical and surgical training at Boston University, and a spine surgical fellowship at Boston’s New England Baptist Hospital. His advanced training and fellowship is in the surgery of the spine, which includes disorders of the cervical, thoracic and lumbar area, specializing in minimally invasive and robotic surgery as well as intraoperative computer navigation.
Cicerchia is conservative in his approach, choosing to first exhaust the many nonoperative treatments such as physical therapy, chiropractic, anesthesia pain management, nonnarcotic pain medication, acupuncture, massage therapy and functional rehabilitation.
Gastel is board certified in orthopedics and subspecialty certified in sports medicine by the American Board of Orthopedic Surgeons, and has been practicing in Rhode Island since 1999. As a specialist in sports medicine, he has served as the orthopedic sports medicine team physician for Division I Bryant University since 2001, and previously as the Rhode Island College team physician.
Gastel’s sports medicine and orthopedic trauma training includes orthopedic residency training at Brown University, sports medicine fellowship training at the Cleveland Clinic and orthopedic trauma fellowship at Brown University/Rhode Island Hospital. He received his medical school education at the University of Rochester, where he was honored by admission to the Alpha-Omega-Alpha Honor Society and graduated magna cum laude from Yale University.
Gastel treats a variety of conditions that are both sports and nonsports related involving the upper and lower extremities, a majority of which involve the knee and shoulder. He also treats a variety of injuries/conditions, such as the elbow, hip and foot, including tennis elbow, tendinitis, ankle sprains and fractures.
Graff is board certified in orthopedic surgery. He attended medical school at the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, completed his internship in general surgery at Brigham & Women’s Hospital/Harvard Medical School and his fellowship at the Indiana Hand Center. He began his orthopedic practice in Rhode Island in 1994. He received a Certificate of Added Qualification in Hand and Microvascular Surgery from the American Board of Orthopedic Surgery in 1997. This additional certification designates him as an expert in the various aspects of upper extremity surgery.
While Graff’s practice incorporates seeing all aspects of orthopedic surgery patients in the office, his surgical practice is strongly focused on the upper extremity from just below the shoulder to the hand. Conditions that he treats include but are not limited to fractures; dislocations; significant ligament injuries; significant tendon injuries, including complete rupture and laceration; tendonitis; all forms of arthritis; neurologic problems involving the upper extremity, including nerve compression syndromes and nerve trauma; the evaluation and treatment of abnormal lumps and bumps in the upper extremity; infections; and nail disorders.
El-Khatib is board certified in anesthesiology and pain management, and has more than 14 years of experience in established practices treating a wide range of conditions and all types of pain, cancer-related pain and pain after surgery. He takes a holistic approach to treating his patients, with a goal of reducing pain as well as helping patients achieve a better quality of life, including increased physical activity, improved sleep and overall life enjoyment.
El-Khatib attended medical school at the American University of Beirut before completing both his residency and internship at Texas Tech University. El-Khatib feels strongly that patients do not need to live in pain. After diagnosis, he discusses optimal approaches to managing pain and potential treatment options such as physical therapy, medication, nerve blocks, injections, radio frequency ablation, kyphoplasty, spinal cord stimulators or surgery.
Mata-Fink is a board eligible orthopedic surgeon with subspecialty fellowship training in shoulder and elbow surgery. She attended medical school at Harvard University and finished both her residency and internship at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center.
Mata-Fink has been practicing in Rhode Island since 2016, focusing on injuries and arthritis of the shoulder and elbow. Common conditions she treats include rotator cuff tears, shoulder instability, shoulder and elbow arthritis, and fractures. She has advanced training in conventional and reverse shoulder replacement, elbow replacement and arthroscopic shoulder surgery.
Rob Borkowski is a PBN staff writer. Email him at Borkowski@PBN.com.