Quin Throckmorton, MD, figures he's lived in the Mid-South long enough - two decades in Tennessee with nearly half that time in Memphis - to finally be considered a local. And while the Iowa native's roots aren't actually Southern, his passion for improving healthcare for people in this region certainly distinguishes him as a welcome transplant.
As residency program director at Campbell Clinic and professor at the UT-Campbell Clinic Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Dr. Throckmorton is committed to advancing treatment options for patients to speed healing while reducing recovery time.
His dedication is garnering attention across the country. The innovative surgical techniques Dr. Throckmorton and his clinical colleagues perform at Campbell Clinic are being studied and replicated elsewhere.
That includes a revolutionary reverse ball-and-socket shoulder surgery that was developed in France and made its way to the U.S. a dozen years ago. Dr. Throckmorton was the first surgeon at Campbell Clinic to perform the procedure and is coming up on his 1,000th procedure.
"The most important change in shoulder surgery to occur in the last generation is the ability to do different types of shoulder surgeries because before it was basically just replacing the ball," he said. "The rotator cuff has been difficult and painful to treat, but now there's a procedure for the total shoulder that reduces hospital time and recovery, too."
Campbell Clinic performs about 200 of these surgical procedures each year. When Dr. Throckmorton was coming through training, a typical shoulder surgery meant several days in the hospital and weeks of rehabilitation.
"We have advanced to the point that today we perform this procedure in a couple of hours on an outpatient basis, and I cannot overstate how popular this has become," he said. "Very few places are doing outpatient joint replacement surgeries on hips and knees and shoulders. Nobody else has our clinical experience."
Dr. Throckmorton points out that while surgery and recovery times are decreasing, so is something else: reliance on pain medication.
"What research on narcotics has shown is that these drugs are bad patients, but that's not always obvious to the community," he explained. "We've got to educate people that these drugs can be highly habit-forming and it is not appropriate, for example, to take Percocet for tendinitis pain. That isn't a solution and can only lead to more problems."
One way Campbell Clinic is tackling the issue is by ensuring that patients are well prepared for procedures before undergoing surgery. For some that may include eliminating any current usage of narcotics, while others may be encouraged to quit smoking or address conditions such as diabetes that may hinder or prolong recovery.
The formula appears to be working, and Campbell Clinic continues to expand its reach. Last year the clinic counted more than 180,000 outpatient visits across its five locations. And the clinic's physicians - now numbering more than 50 - performed more than 14,000 inpatient and outpatient surgeries at all locations, including surgery centers and hospitals.
The focus on efficient and exemplary care has been a hallmark of the clinic since it was founded more than a century ago by Dr. Willis C. Campbell, Dr. Throckmorton said. Recognized as a leading center for joint replacement, orthopedics, rehabilitation and sports medicine among other specialties, Campbell Clinic continues to raise the bar for healthcare innovations.
The clinic, which is also dedicated to teaching and research, accepts eight new residents each year for a five-year program that counts 40 total residents. Recruitment is national in scope, and most graduates leave Memphis to promote Campbell Clinic's innovations across the country, Dr. Throckmorton said.
"Most of our graduates continue their practice in other cities and share their expertise with different communities," he said. "We have such a wealth of talent here because most practicing orthopedic surgeons, being Campbell Clinic grads, we may not realize just how fortunate Memphis is to have such excellence in experience and expertise. This truly sets us apart."
Campbell Clinic provides physicians and sports medicine services for local professional sports teams, universities, high schools and sports facilities. An experiment that began nearly a decade ago to treat patients with sports-related injuries after hours has blossomed into a robust program that treats thousands of patients each year.
Today, not only is the clinic open on weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., but also during the evening for sports-related and other injuries Monday through Thursday from 5 p.m. to 8, and Saturday from 8 to 11 a.m. The reasoning, Dr. Throckmorton said, is that injuries don't happen at convenient times and not every injury requires a trip to the emergency room.
"The main issue is access, and we believe everyone should have access to orthopedic and other care when they need it without having to wait overnight or over the weekend for the clinic to reopen," he said. "People have better things to do than wait for healthcare services, so we're constantly improving our services to be able to provide care when patients need it and make their time spent at our clinics as efficient as possible. We regularly receive positive feedback about how easy it is to get in and out of our clinic and receive quality care."
Improving healthcare includes being a good steward of healthcare dollars, Dr. Throckmorton added. That means Campbell Clinic keeps a sharp eye on cost to keep rates lower while providing efficient and affordable care. The clinic's impressive list of sub-specialties makes it a leader in the field and a new surgeon is joining the practice to focus on shoulder treatments.
"One feature that makes Campbell Clinic stand out is our range of sub-specialty areas, and now that we've added another surgeon to focus on elbow and shoulder procedures we will be able to expand our services even further," Dr. Throckmorton said. "Our goal is to provide quality, efficient and affordable care, and we are constantly assessing our services with that mission in mind."