The Hospital for Special Surgery has expanded its practice in...

The Hospital for Special Surgery has expanded its practice in Uniondale. Credit: Ron Hester

The Hospital for Special Surgery has nearly doubled the size of its Uniondale orthopedic facility, and it is scouting locations for a new facility near the East End.

The Manhattan hospital is the latest to expand its orthopedic offerings on Long Island, serving the region’s growing senior population as well as athletes and others seeking treatment for ailing muscles, joints and bones.

HSS Long Island’s additional 18,000 square feet of new physician suites, exam rooms, a second MRI suite and a new physical therapy center brings the Uniondale practice to 37,000 square feet, according to the Manhattan-headquartered hospital.

Some of the hospital’s patients either moved from New York City to the Island during the pandemic or are spending more time working remotely, said Dr. Mark Drakos, medical director of HSS Long Island.

On Long Island, Drakos said, “we absolutely felt like there was a growing population, not just of seniors but a growing athletic population, and we wanted to provide them with more convenient care closer to home.”

The facility includes 32 physicians who practice both in Uniondale and at the hospital’s Manhattan facility, with specialties in surgical and nonsurgical sports medicine, arthritis, joint replacement surgery, pain management, pediatric orthopedics, physiatry, spinal care and other treatments.

Patients who undergo surgery at the Manhattan hospital can get preoperative visits and post-operative care in Uniondale, Drakos said.

The Uniondale location opened in 2000 with six doctors, according to HSS, whose orthopedic specialists work as team doctors for the New York Mets, New York Giants, New York Liberty, New York Knicks, Long Island Nets and other professional sports teams.

HSS also intends to open a new practice near the Hamptons and North Fork, probably within the next year, Drakos said.

HSS is not the only institution offering more orthopedic services on Long Island.

In addition to the region’s active children and younger adults, Long Island has a rising population of seniors seeking treatment, orthopedic specialists said. Long Island’s 65-and-older population increased by 20% in Nassau County and 30% in Suffolk County over the 10-year period ending in 2020, census estimates show.

Long Island Jewish Valley Stream recently announced it has received all five orthopedic surgical certifications available from the Joint Commission, a not-for-profit health care accreditation group. The Valley Stream hospital is certified in advanced spine surgery, advanced total hip and knee replacement, total shoulder replacement, total ankle replacement and hip fracture care surgeries.

The hospital was the nation's first to receive all five orthopedic certifications, according to the Joint Commission.

Eight other Long Island hospitals also hold orthopedic certifications, according to the commission: Mount Sinai South Nassau in Oceanside; New Hyde Park-based Northwell Health's Huntington Hospital, Long Island Jewish Medical Center in New Hyde Park, North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset, Peconic Bay Medical Center in Riverhead and South Shore University Hospital in Bay Shore; and Rockville Centre-based Catholic Health's St. Charles Hospital in Port Jefferson and St. Francis Hospital & Heart Center in Roslyn.

Catholic Health opened orthopedic surgery centers in East Setauket and Hauppauge in 2020, and it also has a center in East Hills. Its specialists performed more than 9,910 orthopedic procedures last year, the health system said.

At Northwell, 139 physicians provide orthopedic care at 42 locations, up from about 10 physicians in 2010, said Dr. Nicholas Sgaglione, head of the Northwell Health Orthopaedic Institute.

New treatments for conditions such as arthritis are driving demand, along with rising levels of activity among all age groups, Sgaglione said.

“Life spans are longer, and there's an increasing number of aging individuals that are active,” he said. “A lot of these patients seek orthopedic and musculoskeletal care … to increase their mobility.”

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