Dr. Nies Talks Joint Replacement, Practice Philosophy
Matthew Nies, M.D., an orthopedic surgeon who specializes in hip and knee joint replacements for patients with hip and knee arthritis, shares his approach to practicing medicine.
Dr. Matthew Nies has been drawn to orthopedics in general — and hip and knee replacement in particular — since before he entered medical school. His first time working on a hospital floor was as a nursing assistant for a department that was dedicated to patients recovering from total hip replacement or total knee replacement surgery. Learn more about Dr. Nies’s practice philosophy in this brief article.
Total knee replacement is a surgical procedure that treats severe knee arthritis. During the surgery, the physician removes the arthritic joint surfaces and replaces them with an artificial joint made of metal or plastic. About 600,000 people have total knee replacement surgery in the United States each year.
Similarly, total hip replacement treats severe hip arthritis by replacing the ball and socket of the patient’s hip joint with an artificial joint made of metal or plastic. These surgeries are also very common, with about 450,000 performed each year in the U.S., according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.
Dr. Nies takes a conservative approach to treating knee and hip arthritis. It is important to try conservative options, from lifestyle changes and physical therapy to cortisone injections, that may provide relief first. Although arthritis tends to get worse over time, conservative, nonsurgical options can help patients feel better for years before they decide to have surgery.
“Joint replacement is the very last option in terms of hip and knee arthritis care,” Dr. Nies said.
Dr. Nies’s practice philosophy
Shared decision-making is the cornerstone of Dr. Nies’s practice philosophy. “I give patients the options, and we make a decision together about what the best route for the patient as an individual is going to be,” he said.
He is also committed to a conservative approach, leaving surgery as a last resort. “There are a lot of things, especially for knees, that you can try before entertaining the idea of surgery. I like to take the approach of trying all of those things first,” Dr. Nies said.
The most important thing doctors can do, Dr. Nies said, is listen. “Patients know when they get to the point where conservative options aren’t working. Then, we can talk about total joint replacement,” he said. The process, Dr. Nies said, should be driven by the patient, not by the doctor.
Another benefit of a conservative approach is that it gives Dr. Nies and his patients the time to get to know each other. “I have the opportunity to build a relationship with patients, so when it comes to surgery, I’m someone they have a relationship with and are comfortable with.”
When to seek treatment for your arthritis
Arthritis doesn’t have to spell the end of an active life. If you are experiencing worrisome symptoms or persistent pain, the renowned arthritis specialists at Summit Orthopedics can help. We work with you to confirm a diagnosis and develop an appropriate conservative treatment plan. If nonsurgical treatments fail to support your lifestyle goals, fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeons will consult with you and discuss appropriate surgical options. Summit is home to innovative joint replacement options. Our Vadnais Heights Surgery Center is one of a select few nationally to receive The Joint Commission’s Advanced Certification for Total Hip and Total Knee Replacement.
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, MN, Plymouth, MN, Vadnais Heights, MN, and Woodbury, MN, as well as additional community clinics throughout the metro and southern Minnesota.
More resources for you
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Ask the Expert: Arthritis Video Series