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A passion for robotics and sports medicine
DR ALAN Cheung's interest and specialisation in robotic joint replacement stems from the degree of accuracy that this technology provides. Twenty years ago, a patient might spend two weeks in hospital following a joint replacement. Nowadays, with robotic technology and minimally invasive techniques, a patient undergoing joint replacement of the hip and knee can sometimes recover fast enough to go home on the same day of surgery; a so-called "outpatient" joint replacement.
"At IOC we are always looking to improve care for patients and shorten their recovery time. The benefits of hip and knee replacement for severe osteoarthritis are undeniable. The majority of these patients achieve good to excellent results, with great improvements in their quality of life," says Dr Cheung.
"Robotics and minimally invasive surgery are key to providing optimal treatment for patients with painful osteoarthritic (worn out and degenerative) joints when non-surgical management fails. My patients with arthritis are normally in a great deal of pain and full of trepidation when I first meet them. I get a tremendous sense of satisfaction in performing their surgery, and then seeing them walk back into the clinic a few weeks later with a big smile on their face."
As a rugby player and mixed martial artist, Dr Cheung has suffered his fair share of injuries. This has improved his understanding of the needs of athletes, and helped him in the treatment of sports injuries such as torn ligaments and tendons, fractures and cartilage injury. His passion for sports runs deep, having played for Cambridge Rugby Club in his youth, and when he is not training in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu or Muay Thai at Evolve Mixed Martial Arts (MMA), he also enjoys playing golf, cycling and skiing.
"As a sportsman who has competed in a variety of sports, and recovered from bilateral shoulder dislocations, and various knee and ankle injuries, I can understand the problems that my patients are facing. This helps me empathise and build trust, and I can discuss injury management and recovery in an intelligent way," he explains.
"I am also fortunate to train at one of the best martial gyms in Asia (Evolve MMA) where I am constantly challenged and inspired by my instructors and classmates. Indeed the martial arts scene is taking off in a big way in Singapore and Asia, with the growth of One Championship, and home grown young athletes like Constance Lien (Brazilian Jiu Jitsu World Champion and ST Athlete of the Year) and Noah Lim (SEA Games Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Gold Medallist) able to represent Singapore at a world class level."
Dr Cheung also participates in sports in a professional capacity. He is one of the few American College of Sports Medicine-Certified Ringside Doctors in Asia, and actively provides medical coverage for numerous international sporting events. In particular, he leads the local medical team for the One Championship and Rich Franklin's One Warrior Series mixed martial arts events in Singapore, and was Matchday doctor for the Singapore HSBC Rugby Sevens in 2018 and 2019, held at the National Stadium. He is also the Chief Medical Officer of the Wrestling Federation of Singapore.
"I first started out covering local amateur martial arts competitions as a ringside doctor for interest, and was then fortunate enough to be invited by Dr Warren Wang, VP of One medical services, to provide medical cover for One Championship in Singapore. The values that One Championship espouse, such as integrity, honour and respect, tie in closely with my medical practice and my values as a martial artist. I am also very grateful to Joy Walter, Dr Jo Probert, and the Singapore Rugby Union Medical Team who run excellent courses in prehospital medicine, and hold a very high standard of medical care during international rugby events," he says.
Offering orthopaedic expertise in the region
Dr Cheung set up IOC to provide expertise in orthopaedic surgery to the local and expatriate community in Singapore and the Asia-Pacific Region. Last year alone, IOC provided support for a range of international sporting events, including SuperRugby, the Rugby World Cup, One Championship and One Warrior Series mixed martial arts events, and the SEA games, taking place in Singapore, Japan and the Philippines.
IOC treats a wide variety of musculoskeletal problems in patients both young and old. These range from sporting injuries and broken bones, to degeneration of joints and soft tissues. Apart from the treatment of sports injuries, the clinic also specialises in the robotic joint reconstruction of the hip and knee.
"Our aim is to use our expertise to get you back to your normal life and activities as soon as possible, with minimal fuss and discomfort," says Dr Cheung.
From his experiences working in England, Australia, Singapore and China, he believes that good communication and empathy is vital for the care of patients, no matter what their background.
Global experience, international expertise
Dr Cheung was born and educated in Cambridge, England, and completed his surgical training in London, before undergoing his Fellowship training in Sydney, Australia, as well as robotic surgical training in the United States. Dr Cheung believes that his international experience, and being a British expatriate in Singapore, puts him in a good position to understand the healthcare needs and sensibilities of professionals and their families who have lived and worked abroad.
Looking ahead, Dr Cheung's vision for the IOC group is to provide a caring and superlative orthopaedic and sports medicine service in Singapore and across South-east Asia.
Accolades for Dr Alan Cheung, Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon
- Winner of the Best Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Clinic in Singapore 2019, Expat Living
- Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons, England
- Fellow of the European Board of Orthopaedics and Trauma
- International Member of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
- American College of Sports Medicine Certified Ringside Physician
- Member of the Faculty of Sports and Exercise Medicine, United Kingdom
- Medical services to One Championship MMA events in Singapore, Manila, Bangkok and Tokyo
- Medical services to Rich Franklin's One Warrior Series MMA events in Singapore and Tokyo
- Matchday Doctor at the HSBC Rugby Sevens and SuperRugby Events, Singapore
- Medical Support, Wrestling Federation of Singapore, SEA Games 2019