Orthopedic Surgery & Sports Medicine
Board Certified, American Academy of Sports Surgery
“We’re working hard so that adults and kids don’t need to leave our community for the best medical care possible,” says Dr. Timothy Carey about his commitment to bringing new and innovative surgical technology to Fairbanks.
Dr. Carey is an orthopedic surgeon with a specialization in sports medicine. His medical interests range from orthopedic trauma and arthroscopic procedures to orthopedic reconstruction for adults. His advanced knowledge in computerized techniques, the basis of many recent changes in orthopedics, provides the opportunity for complex surgeries, including total joint replacements. For example, he is the first physician in Fairbanks to perform hip arthroscopy and the only physician conducting all-arthroscopic rotator cuff repairs. The surgeries are performed on an outpatient basis at The Surgery Center of Fairbanks.
The advancements in CT and MRI technology have also been contributing factors to improvements in orthopedic surgery, he says. “These devices are used to guide procedures, enabling a higher degree of precision. The new techniques provide other significant benefits beyond the surgery itself: they provide a pathway to reducing the narcotic abuse epidemic. Dr. Carey and The Surgery Center are actively taking steps to decrease the potential of overuse while still controlling pain for patients. “I recently had a patient who underwent a total joint replacement at The Surgery Center without narcotic medication. He walked out of the building 18 hours later.”
Rotator cuff repairs, using the all-arthroscopic methodology, provides a substantial benefit to patients. A similar approach can be used for shoulder joints. With cameras to view and guide the repair, there is a smaller incision, recovery times are shortened and patients can return to work and other normal activities more quickly. When conducting procedures with a traditional open surgery method at a hospital, one of the most significant risks is infection, he says.
One of the new procedures Dr. Carey introduced is hip arthroscopy; he is currently the only physician conducting this minimally-invasive surgery through use of a tiny incision. As it stops progression of the injury, it also delays the requirement for total hip replacement and reduces the pain and the associated need for medication.
In general, advantages of using minimally-invasive surgeries in an outpatient setting at The Surgery Center, combined with technologies such as MRI and CT scans, increases precision of the surgery, reduces bleeding by up to 50% and shortens the duration of the procedure, while decreasing the pain medication needed.
Finding new ways to provide better healthcare for children is one of Dr. Carey’s interests, especially, as he has observed a rise in children’s orthopedic trauma and other complex issues. In the past, the closest facility for treating these specialized problems was the Shriners Hospital in Spokane. That meant taking sick children on a 5 ½ hour flight plus the costs of travel and stress of being away from home. To help solve this problem, Dr. Carey created a collaborative working arrangement with four pediatric surgeons from the Shriners’ network. When he sees a child with a complicated issue in Fairbanks, he shares the x-rays and other patient information with the surgeons in Spokane and jointly plans the optimum treatment approach. The Shriners’ surgeons come to Fairbanks every other month for pre- and post-operative patient visits.
Dr. Carey also described a few of the initiatives underway involving physicians and other professionals at The Surgery Center to help the Fairbanks North Star Borough become a healthier place to live. An illustration is his work with aestheticist Dr. David Flory to reduce or totally eliminate narcotics use for pain after surgery, and providing education to families, children and the community about controlling the narcotic crisis. He goes on to describe the student sports physical program conducted on a volunteer basis with Dr. Mark Wade, founder of The Surgery Center. This free program at The Surgery Center focuses on student athletes participating in sports at one of the six-area high schools.
Dr. Carey says all his surgeries are conducted at The Surgery Center, because of its focus on patient care and making surgery the best experience possible for patients. “A patient’s healthcare and time is the number 1 priority. When any of us are injured, we need to be fixed in the safest way without a delay. The Surgery Center provides the way for that to happen.”
Timothy Carey, DO
Dr. Carey grew up outside of Washington, DC, completing his undergraduate and graduate work at Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia. He attended Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, graduating with honors, before joining the US Army and completing his residency at the Eisenhower Medical Center (Augusta, GA). He subsequently served on active duty for 13 years, including tours in Kuwait and Afghanistan. “I am proud to have served my country overseas at a time of need,” he says. While in the Army, he also worked in the emergency room at Fairbanks Memorial Hospital and fell in love with Fairbanks. He subsequently formed a partnership with Dr, Daniel Johnson to create McKinley Orthopedics in 2016, a comprehensive orthopedic group with six providers.
In addition to donating his time caring for the student athletes in the Fairbanks North Star Borough, Dr. Carey is also dedicated to volunteer work with the troops and cites great satisfaction from assisting with the Wounded Warrior Program. Dr. Carey is an avid skier and enjoys fishing and hunting.