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Meet Hand and Upper Extremity Surgeon Dr. Delaney

A physician in the family and a love of hockey inform Dr. Delaney’s practice.

For hand and upper extremity surgeon Dr. J.P. Delaney, medicine runs in the family. “I grew up in Minnesota, but my grandfather was a family practice doctor in a small town in rural Iowa,” explains Dr. Delaney. “Every time I saw him interact with the people who were his friends and patients, I was struck by his relationships. There was so much respect and gratitude. The impact his work had on his community had a huge influence on me.”

Recognized by multiple awards in medical school

During medical school, Dr. Delaney received numerous honors and awards—some recognizing relational skills that would have made his grandfather proud. Dr. Delaney was awarded the Dr. James E. Rubin Medical Memorial Award recognizing the senior medical student with outstanding diagnostic skills, academic excellence, compassion, and a high degree of ethical standards. Additionally, he received the Medical School Student Achievement Award in recognition of distinguished performance in leadership, community service, and academic accomplishment. “Award recipients were chosen by the votes of my classmates and my professors,” he remembers. “It was a huge honor. Receiving those awards reminded me of the lessons I learned from my grandfather. He taught me that medicine isn’t just about academic excellence. Kindness and appreciation are important too.”

A specialty in upper extremity orthopedic surgery

Childhood experiences started Dr. Delaney on the path to a medical career. But his interest in upper extremity orthopedics came during his research fellowship at the Steadman Philippon Research Institute in Vail, Colorado. “I was involved in a shoulder motion research project,” he remembers. We were working with a relatively new technology called biplane fluoroscopy. It created a three-dimensional model of the shoulder and revealed the complexity of the shoulder joint. Seeing the array of soft tissues and muscular attachments working in unison to control the shoulder’s incredible range of motion was fascinating. Even the finest task we perform requires so much anatomical coordination. Then, once I was introduced to open shoulder surgeries in residency, I was hooked.”

A passion for hockey

“Surgeons with my specialty tend to treat a lot of hockey players,” notes Dr. Delaney. “That’s because upper extremity injuries, like shoulder separations, clavicle fractures, and hand and wrist fractures, are common among hockey athletes. I have a special affinity for my hockey-playing patients. As a native Minnesotan, I grew up playing hockey and I still play, though I’m spending less time on the ice since the arrival of my little girl two years ago. I understand and relate to these athletes as a player and as a physician. It’s very satisfying to me to treat these players and help them get safely back on the ice with the right equipment and protective measures.”  

Dr. Delaney’s approach to patient care

Hockey players comprise one segment of Dr. Delaney’s patients, but he’s quick to point out that he treats patients across a spectrum of ages and careers. “I really enjoy getting to know the patients I treat,” he says. “Growing up in Minnesota, I think I know Midwesterners pretty well. I want my patients to know that I’m going to treat them the same way I would treat my friends and neighbors. In my approach to patient care, I try to listen and answer questions straightforwardly and honestly. I have frank discussions about treatment options and I explain how each option will affect your life. Every treatment has advantages and disadvantages, and it’s important to understand the overall impact of your treatment choice. Obviously, I want to help you choose the treatment option that is the best fit for your individual goals and objectives.”

Colorado sparked both a surgical specialty and a favorite pastime

“My research fellowship in Colorado opened the door to a specialty in upper extremity,” he remembers. “And living in Colorado also introduced me to a new passion: fly fishing. I did a lot of trout fishing growing up in Minnesota, but always with a spin rod. While I was in Vail I spent a lot of time on the river. I read Norman Maclean’s beautiful short story, A River Runs Through It and learned how to tie my own flies. In fact, I even considered a career as a fly-fishing guide—briefly! I’m back in the Midwest now and very happy to be practicing medicine, but I still enjoy fly fishing. It’s my way of decompressing and forgetting about life’s problems for a couple of hours. And I read A River Runs Through It to my daughter at bedtime.”

For Dr. Delaney, a specialty in upper extremity orthopedic medicine brings together his history with his grandfather, his love of sport, and his commitment to the patients he serves. “My grandfather is definitely the person I admire most,” he says. “My practice may not look exactly like that of a small-town family doctor, but I am committed to cultivating the same kind of patient relationships my grandfather built with respect and care and compassion.”

Summit Orthopedics provides personalized hand and wrist expertise

The function of our hands is integrated through our wrists and arms to our shoulders; a problem anywhere along our arm may have a significant impact on hand function and quality of life. If you experience an injury or uncomfortable symptoms, our fellowship-trained shoulder, hand, and wrist surgeons are here to help. Summit physicians receive the highest levels of training and exclusively provide individualized care for conditions of the hand, wrist, and elbow.

Start your journey to better function and less pain. Find your hand expert, request an appointment online, or call us at (651) 968–5201 to schedule a consultation.

Summit has convenient locations across the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area, serving Minnesota and western Wisconsin. We have state-of-the-art centers for comprehensive orthopedic care in Eagan, MNPlymouth, MN, Vadnais Heights, MN, and Woodbury, MN, as well as additional community clinics throughout the metro and southern Minnesota.

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