South Florida Hospital News
Saturday October 31, 2020
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October 2020 - Volume 17 - Issue 4
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"Scrubbing In" With Dr. Dillon Arango Orthopedic Surgeon

Dr. Arango, can you walk us through your journey to becoming an Orthopedic Surgeon?
 
June 2, 2020 - I was born and raised in Miami for most of my life. My family is Colombian so I did live there for about 5 years during high school. When I came back to Miami I attended FIU for college and was fortunate enough to be part of the first graduating class at the FIU medical school. During my time there, I fell in love with Orthopedic Surgery for the simple fact that it gives you the opportunity to fix a patient's quality of life. In Orthopedics we frequently say that we may not be in the business of saving lives, but we are certainly in the business of saving lifestyles. 
 
Once I decided to pursue a career in Orthopedic Surgery, I spent 5 years in Philadelphia, PA where I completed rigorous residency training at Einstein Medical Center. This was a level 1 trauma center where we treated a lot of patients who suffered from gang violence. Once I finally graduated, I decided to pursue an additional year of fellowship training in Boston for Sports and Shoulder Surgery at Harvard affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women's Hospital. 
 
After 14 years of post high school education, I was ready to move back home to the warm weather in Miami!
 
14 years of education after high school, would you say the journey was easy? Was it worth it?
 
The journey was certainly not easy. Any surgical residency can be grueling, and mine was no exception. Waking up at 5 am during winter to shovel a foot of snow off your car will never be easy. Holding retractors during an 8 hr spine surgery and trying not to fall asleep will never be easy. Doubting yourself after a difficult surgery and wondering if you have what it takes to become a surgeon will never be easy. Do that for 5 years and it is no wonder that many people quit surgical residencies. I believe I slept in the hospital for about 8 months during those 5 years! It certainly takes a lot of mental fortitude and I have seen many people break down. 
 
To answer the second question- I had my doubts along the way, but looking back now, I would certainly say the hardships were worth it. Not a lot of people get to surgically treat patients the way an orthopedic surgeon does. We have the ability to make someone walk again by fixing a broken leg, we have the ability to replace a joint to treat years of stiffness, or we have the ability to simply give someone an injection to help with chronic joint pain. That to me is special. Once we treat the patient and they look you directly in the eye and say "thank you for helping me", that is the moment that makes the journey worth it. 
 
Now that you have finished training, please tell us about your practice
 
I began practice in September of 2019 and was fortunate enough to join a private practice group that has been in the community for over 20 years! I joined the group in order to expand the skills of the practice mainly in terms of sports and complex shoulder surgeries. My specialty involves a lot of arthroscopy which is a great way to treat injuries of the knee, ankle, hip, and shoulder via a minimally invasive approach. By using small cameras and tools, I am able to treat injuries that would otherwise require a much larger incision. Due to my level 1 trauma training in residency, I also take trauma call at several hospitals in the community. This mostly involves fracture care which can be very rewarding for both the patient and the surgeon. Other than arthroscopic surgery and fracture work, I am currently the only surgeon who performs should replacement surgery in my practice. This niche can be a wonderful procedure for a patient who has been living with years of chronic pain in their shoulder. By removing the damaged cartilage and replacing it with highly specialized synthetic materials, we can give patients the ability to raise their arms again and actually use them in a functional manner at home for daily activities or chores. Most importantly, they can now do it without pain! 
 
Currently, I have an office in Hialeah and Miramar and see new patients in clinic on M/W/F.
 
 Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
 
Though I am a Miami native, I am certainly new to the medical community in Hialeah and Miramar. Over the next 10 years, I hope that my practice will continue to grow based on my patient's experiences. Meaning, if my patients are happy, my work in the local medical and orthopedic community will speak for itself. The only thing that matters in my profession is patient outcomes and satisfaction. If I can help someone's grandmother walk again and do it in a way where she and her family feel informed and satisfied through the entire treatment process, I will be happy and the patient will be happy. If the patient is happy and I can provide them with excellent outcomes, I expect my practice to continue to grow as it already has during this first year of practice. After 10 years, I would hope to become a staple of the local orthopedic community, helping patients who put their trust in me, always learning from more senior surgeons, and mentoring the next generation of surgeons that will come after me. 
 
 
 
 
 
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