Dr. Gordon Stock grew up just over the fence from Utah Valley Magazine’s Orem office and enjoys practicing medicine in the area he’s loved since childhood.
But Dr. Stock was almost Engineer Stock. He started college by studying mechanical engineering, even working in the field before graduation.
“I decided it wasn’t for me, so I began looking into other areas and was drawn to medicine and, specifically, orthopedic surgery,” he says.
The right replacement “I mainly do hip and knee replacements. I enjoy that because you can take a patient who is struggling with walking and other daily living tasks and return them to the activities they’ve always enjoyed. It is so satisfying to see someone walk in to the hospital with significant pain and walk out with less pain.”
Conservative care “I take a conservative approach when it comes to joint replacement. There are many non-operative treatments that can improve life without surgery. For some patients, we can avoid surgery all together. However, having surgery as a tool is helpful. It’s not the first tool we pull out, but it’s great we have it if we need it.”
Patient priority “Decisions about care are collaborative. There was a time when patients would come to me and say, ‘Tell me what to do.’ I don’t see that as my job now. We’ll look at the images, talk about the options and then make a decision together. Ultimately, it’s the patient’s decision as to when this is done. I will suggest, educate and set realistic expectations, but it’s the patient’s decision.”
Physical future “One dramatic change we’ve seen recently in hip and knee replacement surgery is that we’re trying to get patients home sooner than we used to. We try to get folks up and moving as soon as they can. That is a departure from the old days when we would send them to a skilled nursing facility to recover. For hips, we can usually get people home the day after surgery. For knees, it’s usually within two days. You may even see some knee replacements done as an outpatient option.”
No pain, yes gain “We’re better at pain management than we used to be. That’s obviously something patients are worried about. We use a multimodal approach to pain management. While we still use narcotics, it’s not the sole approach to pain management. And the ability to get patients up and moving sooner is giving us better results than the past. Change in any field can be difficult, but the key is to always be looking to safely move forward and to use data and research to guide the decisions.”