Board-certified orthopedic trauma surgeon with Swedish Medical Center Orthopedic Trauma and Limb Reconstruction
What attracted you to the field of orthopedic trauma surgery?
Smith: Multiple and severe bone breaks can be life altering. It’s rewarding to be able to truly help someone who is severely injured. We get to help people of all ages and from all walks of life reclaim their lives by restoring function.
What types of orthopedic trauma services do you offer?
Smith: As a Level 1 trauma center, Swedish treats the most severely injured patients. I’m fellowship trained in both pediatric and adult orthopedic trauma surgery. My focus is on the care of the severely injured, as well as patients with pelvic fractures or who have complications such as infections or bone breaks that take longer to heal or don’t heal properly. My colleague at OrthoONE, Dr. Steven J. Morgan, and I also specialize in saving limbs – hands, arms, feet and legs – that are damaged due to traumatic injury or illness. We have many years of experience and a great team to help us.
What types of injuries do you commonly see during the winter, and how can a person lower this injury risk?
Smith: We see a lot of knee and wrist fractures from people falling while skiing, snowboarding or from slipping on ice. Our reflexes slow as we age, and we aren’t as physically fit. This deconditioning makes it harder to prevent or stop a fall. I recommend that people engage in activities like tai chi, dance or team sports that promote strength, balance and flexibility. You want to engage those fast-twitch muscle fibers that can help you react more quickly during a fall. Weight training in particular is great, especially as we age.
What is the M60 Mature Fracture Program?
Smith: People ages 60 and older have a higher risk of fractures, often due to falls. As a result, they often experience complications, such as chronic pain, infection, loss of mobility and delirium following surgery. This unique program at Swedish helps older adults recover from fractures while lowering complication risk. We start by administering a nerve block to stop the pain while the patient is in the emergency department. This step reduces the need for narcotics, which can cause confusion in the elderly. We get patients into surgery quickly and perform minimally invasive, often bloodless procedures through very small incisions. Patients are walking within 24 hours. We also have specialists who perform home assessments to lower the risk of falls in the patient’s home.
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