Meet Summit Orthopedics Surgeon Dr. Nick Wills

Meet Summit Orthopedic surgeon Dr. Nick Wills. He draws on skilled expertise to design straightforward solutions—whether he is creating breakfast or the least invasive solution to a patient’s back pain.

Every morning, Dr. Nick Wills arrives at clinic early with his breakfast in one hand. “I raid the fridge for fruit, add frozen kale and protein powder, and blend it into a smoothie,” he grins. “That’s what I eat for breakfast. It’s delicious, it’s packed with balanced nutrients, and it’s a great way to start the day.”

Dr. Wills’ commitment to a healthy breakfast mirrors his comprehensive commitment to patient care. His surgical expertise has won him repeated recognition on the Twin Cities’ Up-and-Coming Doctors list. When he is evaluating a patient, he focuses his knowledge into a streamlined treatment philosophy designed to deliver the best patient outcome.

“We have so many different ways to fix spine problems,” he says. “There are fusion surgeries, discectomy surgeries, or laminectomy surgeries—but I think these options have to be incredibly tailored to the patient. If you look at an older patient’s MRI, you may see 10 or 20 different spine abnormalities, but that doesn’t mean that the patient needs a large, invasive surgery to address every single issue. My job is to find the one problem that is really causing the pain, and fix that. Often, a relatively small surgery can resolve pain and make the patient remarkably better—with far less morbidity than a large surgery would risk. That’s the principle of minimally invasive surgery; it’s about a smaller incision, but it’s also about a mentality that values the least invasive surgical solution that is best for the patient.”

Personalized care is Dr. Wills’ priority. “The details of our patient care differentiate Summit in the market,” he explains. “Medical expertise is essential, but we are investing in a quality of care that you won’t find at other practices. For instance, we brought in our own anesthesiologist at our surgery center. He’s using non-narcotic pain techniques and medications that you won’t find elsewhere. This gives my patients a safer and more comfortable experience. It’s an approach that communicates our commitment to care in tangible ways that matter to my patients.”

Ask Dr. Wills what he likes best about his job, and his answer is immediate. “That’s super easy: improving my patients’ well-being. I treat patients with sciatica—that’s one of the most excruciatingly painful orthopedic conditions you can have. Radiculopathy, or compressed nerve pain, is the worst. Most of the time, I can make this pain better. It’s about more than merely restoring quality of life. Pain doesn’t just affect your life—it ruins your life, and that’s very different. It’s my job to fix that pain. When you know how to do your job well, you can really help people. I love that.”

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