Meet Sports Medicine Surgeon Dr. Scott Pepin
Summit Orthopedics welcomes fellowship-trained sports medicine surgeon Dr. Scott Pepin to our sports medicine team. Dr. Pepin draws on his own experiences as an athlete to guide his patients through rehabilitation of sports-related knee and shoulder injuries.
“It may sound clichéd, but I have always enjoyed helping people,” grins surgeon Dr. Scott Pepin. When he counsels athletes about their treatment options in his sports medicine practice, his approach is based on firsthand experience.
“I played football, baseball, and basketball in high school,” he explains. “I was playing soccer in gym class when I landed on my knee and dislocated my patella. That was the first of several injuries and four surgeries. I missed my junior year basketball playoffs when I hurt my knee, so I understand how hard it is for athletes to be patient during recuperation—they just want to get back into the game.”
During Dr. Pepin’s sports medicine fellowship in Indianapolis, he treated high school, college, and professional athletes. “For the most part,” he says, “high-level athletes are focused on getting back on the field, even when returning to play could be detrimental to their injury. They aren’t thinking about long-term consequences at that age, and sometimes it’s part of my job to say, ‘I understand that you want to get back to your sport, but you are going to have kids in 10 years, and when they are four years old, I want you to be able to get down on the ground and play with them.’ I consider the athlete’s entire life when I discuss treatment options. Some injuries are not serious; in a couple of weeks, your patient is fine and ready to play. But there are a lot of sports injuries where proper treatment and adequate recovery time are critical to proper healing. If you return to your sport too soon, you run the risk of hurting yourself again—and revision surgeries have outcomes that aren’t as good as primary surgeries. I don’t want to cut corners when I’m treating the kind of injury that could affect you for a lifetime.”
Sports medicine may conjure images of young healthy athletes, but Dr. Pepin’s practice includes an age spectrum from teenagers through 70- and 80-year-olds. “My focus is mainly with knee and shoulder injuries—these can be sports related or work related,” he explains. “The knee issues I treat encompass ACL injuries, multiligament reconstructions, meniscus surgeries, and cartilage transplant and restoration procedures. I treat shoulder injuries, including rotator cuff repairs, instability, dislocations, AC separations, and shoulder replacements.
“My fellowship was invaluable in teaching me how to prepare my patients not only for surgery but also for the postsurgical rehabilitation process,” he continues. “Good outcomes are dependent on rehabilitation and recovery as well as the surgery itself. An ACL procedure is an hour long; it’s important, but it’s a snapshot in a total recovery process that can take up to a year. Before patients undergo surgery, I lay things out so they are mentally prepared for what to expect afterward and what they are going to have to do to get the best outcome.
“My satisfaction comes from helping my patients maximize their quality of life so they can do the things they want to do, whether that’s playing basketball again or just walking to the mailbox without pain,” he concludes. “That’s what I enjoy.”
“Having my own personal experiences in sustaining injuries and the subsequent recovery process helps provide me insight into my own patients’ conditions and what they are going through. I also understand the importance of and strive to help return my patients back to the activities they want to do, whether that be to walk around the block or return to high-level sports performance.”
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When it comes to the number of sports your child plays, Dr. Pepin advises that more is better.