Meet Summit Orthopedics Surgeon Dr. David Strothman
Spine surgeon Dr. David Strothman’s fascination with science inspired his medical career path, and informs his multidisciplinary approach to spine care today.
“I was that kid in high school who always really enjoyed science,” grins Summit Orthopedics spine surgeon Dr. Strothman. “I also loved sports—and broke both legs playing hockey and skiing. The combination of science, sports, and my early experiences with sports medicine care planted seeds that led me to explore the idea of a medical career.”
As a college junior, Dr. Strothman did research with an orthopedic traumatologist at Hennepin County; his work led to a published paper. “It was great experience,” he remembers. “I got to follow people in the OR and hang out with the residents. That’s when I knew I wanted to be in orthopedics.”
During his orthopedic residency, he studied hip and knee replacements, but spine was the area that intrigued him. “It was hard and challenging,” he remembers. “Some people were absolutely incapacitated. You confront a puzzle trying to figure out what is going on and what is causing pain. If you solve the puzzle correctly, you are able to give your patients an absolutely life-changing intervention. Spine was an area where I could really make a difference in people’s lives. That was what I wanted to do.”
As part of Summit’s spine team, Dr. Strothman emphasizes the importance—and singularity—of Summit’s approach to spine care. “If we look at spine care as a whole, 90 to 95 percent of all spine care is nonsurgical. Given that, it’s common sense for spine surgeons like me to work closely in a practice with nonsurgical spine physicians to provide a full range of treatment options for patients who don’t need an operation. We actively collaborate to provide the absolute best nonsurgical care that we can, and when necessary, we also provide the most innovative surgical care.
“I am happy to see any patient with neck or back pain—not just people with confirmed surgical problems,” says Dr. Strothman. “I’ll take your medical history, evaluate your condition, and discuss your options. If you have arthritis, disc wear and tear, or degenerative disease for which surgery is not appropriate, I’m not going to recommend surgery. I’ll suggest that you visit with one of our seven nonsurgical spine physicians to discuss other avenues that may help you manage a problem that is real and painful and interfering with your life. When surgery is the best treatment for a condition, I am committed to offering comprehensive minimally invasive spine surgery that minimizes collateral damage to the muscles and tissues around the spine.
“The great part of my job is that I get to help people every day and make a measurable significant difference in people’s lives,” he says. “I am really proud of the collaborative spine practice model we’ve developed to make sure our patients have access to all of the treatment options spine medicine has to offer. I enjoy my time in clinic with patients. I enjoy figuring out what’s causing people’s problems. And I really enjoy seeing them get better. That is, bar none, the best.”
“Spinal disorders are complex and disabling. As your surgeon I will explain your diagnosis and treatment options, both operative and non-operative, in a way that you can understand thereby allowing you to make informed decisions. I am rewarded daily by improving the quality of life of patients receiving my care.”
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