Delivering world-class spine care to the Yampa Valley
Dr. Clint Devin, of Steamboat Orthopaedic and Spine Institute, provides spine care to the region that’s as good as it gets anywhere in the country
Brought to you by Steamboat Orthopaedic and Spine Institute
Dr. Devin previously worked as an Associate Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery and Neurosurgery at Vanderbilt University, caring for all levels of complexity. As an invited speaker and teacher throughout the country, he focuses on outcomes research and treatment-selection strategies for maximizing patients’ quality of health and satisfaction
Dr. Devin completed his medical degree, followed by his orthopaedic residency, at Vanderbilt. He subsequently completed a complex spinal-reconstruction fellowship at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and returned to be on staff at Vanderbilt Medical Center before arriving in Steamboat. He remains an Adjunct Associate Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery and Neurosurgery at Vanderbilt University Medical Center advising residents and research fellows, and actively guides the American Spine Registry as part of the board.
For more information or to book an appointment, visit steamboatortho.com or call 970-879-6663.
Active people often juggle a fine balance between taking care of their bodies and wearing down their bodies. While spine trauma can happen during outdoor recreation, many spine conditions and injuries tend to be due to degeneration.
“For young, healthy, active people with hobbies and passions, it’s important they get that function back. It’s nice to have that option here in Steamboat,” said Dr. Clint Devin, a board-certified orthopaedic surgeon who is fellowship trained in spine surgery and a partner at Steamboat Orthopaedic and Spine Institute (SOSI).
As the former head of spine trauma at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn., and an Adjunct Associate Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery and Neurosurgery at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Dr. Devin helps to make Yampa Valley’s spine care at SOSI as good as it gets anywhere in the country.
“We’re able to offer a higher level of care than maybe even in Denver,” Dr. Devin said.
Caring for the spine
The spine is a unique speciality in medicine because it combines orthopaedics and neurosurgery. Dr. Devin said that patients should seek out a surgeon who is fellowship trained in spine procedures.
“It’s very nuanced. It’s a bit of an art to understand who you can help and who you can’t,” Dr. Devin said. “We work through various diagnostic techniques to pinpoint who you can help. Beyond that, even those you identify you can help, some of them aren’t going to respond. … It’s amazing the number of different patient characteristics that drive outcomes.”
That’s part of the challenge — and even the fun — in caring for spine patients. Dr. Devin knows he can make a big difference in their lives, especially when he’s able to get patients who didn’t initially respond to treatment to wind up doing so with patient modifications through therapy, blood sugar control, and other such modifiable characteristics.
“It’s a dramatic impact that you can have on patients’ lives — to see someone whose balance and coordination is off and then get them walking, or someone with awful pain from disc herniation and being able to address that,” he said. “The technical aspect of spine is very rewarding, but seeing people return to passions in life is the icing on the cake.”
Dr. Devin’s philosophy is to provide the least invasive treatment approach possible to allow patients to return to their passions in life. He maximizes conservative intervention through physical therapy, yoga, injections and more before resorting to surgery.
Using data to improve patient outcomes
Having done more than 5,500 spine surgeries, Dr. Devin recognizes he has never finished learning. He’s always looking for ways to change techniques or look at data to provide meaningful improvements.
One example of improved outcomes came from looking at emergency-room visits after surgery and discovering that 10% of spine-surgery patients were going to the ER within 90 days post-surgery. He discovered that a major factor was a lack of ability to get medication on the weekend, while others just needed better check-ins from mid-level providers during follow-up care.
Responding to this data reduced the rate of ER visits to less than 4%, he said.
His passion for data includes outcomes research, which measures important metrics in life such as return to work and play, quality of life, improvement in pain, and safety of care. By building a database at SOSI — modeled after the American Spine Registry, for which Dr. Devin sits on the board — and then comparing their numbers to national benchmarks , the institute is able to use real data to show patients what kind of outcomes they can expect.
“People really don’t know what they’re getting for their money, aside from some star ratings on the internet,” Dr. Devin said. “The idea of this is to say here’s how we perform, here’s the percent improvement, when patients could return to work, get off opioids, etc. These are important measures by which patients determine if the surgery was successful.”
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