Jonathan Gillman, long have you worked at Dayton Orthopedic Surgery?
I’ve worked here since 2006.
What inspired you to go into Orthopedics?
I was an athlete in high school and went on to play college football, so I got some injuries through my athletic career and it just sparked an interest. It’s a natural fit for me. When I was in college I worked at a sports enhancement program in the summer, conditioning athletes to make them faster, jump higher, quicker and so i’ve always had an interest in anatomy and physiology.
What is your favorite condition to treat?
I think if there’s one part of the body that I enjoy most, it’s the shoulder. It’s a very dynamic joint – a lot of structures. Sometimes it has its challenges which it makes it always interesting. When we go in to fix rotator cuff tears, cartilage tears in the shoulder, no two of them are alike. They’re always different. In orthopedics, a lot of the stuff is pretty repetitive. All knees are typically similar – yes, there are bad arthritic knees, but for the most part the flow of the surgery is always the same, it doesn’t change. Rotator cuffs, you have to think about a little bit, which makes it the most interesting type of surgery.
What excites you most about the future of Orthopedics?
Regenerative medicine! We go to our annual conferences every year and they release the latest and greatest literature and research it’s out there. The hottest topic right now is regenerative medicine. We are just breaking the ice, so to speak, with stem cell research and platelet rich plasma injections – using your own body cells to help heal and regenerate tissue. I think it’s exciting to know over the next couple decades where that’s going to go. I mean, they’re breaking down to the cellular level of injuries, asking ‘why does a tendon go from an inflamed tendon with partial tearing to fully tearing and how can we stop that progression of cellular damage?’, which is pretty exciting.
What has been your most challenging case so far?
Well the most challenging cases, typically, are some of the revision surgery. So when a patient has a total shoulder replacement or a total knee replacement and it goes on to loosen or fails for whatever reason, you have to go in and remove all that hardware, put a new knee in using what ever’s left. The biggest philosophy in Orthopedic surgery is to spare tissue – you don’t want to take any more than you need because you don’t know what that patient is going to need down the road. When a patient has had a previous knee replacement or has already had a revision and you’re going back in for a third time – those get very challenging.
From the patient’s perspective, the nightmare in Orthopedics is dealing with infection. You do everything possible to avoid infection after a surgery, but they can happen and it’s not just a nightmare for the patient but it’s a nightmare for us, too. I tell patients that it’s one of those things that you just don’t want to deal with, so we take every precaution possible to avoid an infection. But if you get an infected total joint, it can be an absolute nightmare. That joint has to come out, get replaced with an antibiotic joint, leave it in there for 6 or 8 weeks. Then you go back in, take that out, hope the infection is gone. Do a bunch of studies to make sure the infection has cleared, before finally replacing the joint – those are very challenging. They’re long, they’re exhausting for the patient. Months of exhaustion.
What do you do in your downtime to relax?
I enjoy spending time with my family – that’s my therapy. When I’m traveling with the kids, those weeks during the year are cherished because it’s it’s the one time – I should say two or three times – of the year that you can you can free yourself from working. You need that; we all need that therapy. So aside from that, we spend a lot of time outdoors. We fish, we boat, we have some property so we’re always riding ATVs and things like that.
Thank you, Jonathan Gillman!