Kind Words from our Patients
Dr. Kerr – Nerve Pain in the Lumbar Spine
Procedure Name: L4-5 Decompression
Radiculopathy Lumbar Spine – Spinal Stenosis
Dr. Kerr – Neck & Spine Patient
Neck Decompression & Fusion
Lumbosacral Decompression & Fusion
Coracoid Non-Union Orif, and Type 5 AC Joint Reconstruction Patient
“In June of 2020, I saw Dr. Kerr in Seattle to address the chronic pain in my back which was likely the result of a fall from a ladder that occurred years before when I broke my collar bone and back. Making that appointment was without doubt, one of the best decisions I have ever made!
I had initially tried conservative, non-invasive treatments including massage, chiropractic and physical therapy to relieve numbness in my hands, and pain that radiated down my arms and across my upper and lower back, but the non-invasive treatments provided only short term relief. I needed a better understanding of my back problems and a realistic solution to fix them before my diminished activity began to affect my overall health.
Dr. Kerr came highly recommended because of his experience working with trauma patients in Afghanistan, Alaska and Washington State, and when I met him, I was impressed. He was super nice and provided a clear explanation of my condition that was surprisingly reassuring as we reviewed my spine issues on an MRI, which plainly indicated I had sustained severe disc damage in the fall and deterioration that had complicated the problem at multiple levels in both my cervical and lumbar spinal areas.
Dr. Kerr outlined the two surgeries I would need to fix my back problems and assured me that I could get back to the healthy, active lifestyle I had enjoyed before chronic pain overwhelmed me. I left his office feeling full of hope for the first time in a long time, grateful for his openness, patience, and caring approach because it instilled in me the confidence I needed to move forward with getting my life back through surgery.
In September 2020, Dr. Kerr performed a multilevel ACDF (Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion) on my neck to address the upper back issues. He explained in great detail what he was going to do, as he had done before, and reminded me about possible side effects. But, when all was said and done, wearing a neck brace and taking care not to lift, twist or bend my neck for a couple of months was the most discomfort I felt following surgery, aside from my normal upper back pain that gradually disappeared as I healed. It’s now been 6 months and even the small incision he placed in one of the folds on my neck is imperceptible by most of my friends.
In January 2021, Dr. Kerr performed a Multi-level Lumbar Spinal Fusion surgery on my L4, L5, and S1vertebrae in my lower back to correct the damage and deterioration that was causing severe sciatica extending down both my legs. Following this surgery, I spent a few days walking the halls of Swedish Hospital in a back brace and went home wearing it for a few months. I am 2 1/2 months into recuperation and am delighted to report that I have not experienced any sciatic or lower back pain since the surgery.
Dr. Kerr is a miracle worker who gave me my life back, and I would not hesitate to recommend him to anyone seeking help with neck and spine issues, fracture repair, or joint replacement.”
“Dr. Garcia did a fantastic job explaining what needed to be done to fix my torn bicep and rotator cuff. He exceeded my expectations on recovery time and I am back at my favorite activities in a short 4 months.”
“Dr. Garcia gave me the ability to walk/run again. After 7 years of hyperextension and constant pain, I’m living life to the fullest. THANK YOU.”
ACL Surgery Patient
“Dr. Garcia was fantastic! He reconstructed my ACL and did a meniscal repair after I injured my knee skiing. He is an incredibly knowledgeable physician and a gifted surgeon. He was very thorough in his assessment and walked me through his recommendations. He took the time to make sure I was comfortable with the plan and then he hit it out of the park. My goal from the beginning was to get back to telemark skiing. He heard me and gave me the steps I needed to succeed. Nine months later, I was able to get back out there and hit the slopes. Thank you, Dr. Garcia!”
Revision ACL & PLC Reconstruction Patient
Elbow Instability (loose elbow joint) Patient
Multiple Ligament Reconstruction Patient
Multi-Directional Shoulder Instability Patient
Cartilage Transplant Patient
Knee OCD (Osteochondritis Dissecans of Knee) Patient
“I should share that it took a team approach to get back on the water, starting with Dr. Shapiro’s and his teams expertise, then a commitment to do physical therapy prior to and after surgery and again as 2019 ski season approached. Dr. Shapiro gave the green light to ski in the fall of 2018, but I delayed getting back to it, until I met my goal of losing 35 lbs. prior, I believe that this also contributes to the success, so did not start skiing again until this May. As a side note I am also skiing on a left hip replacement by Dr. Downer in 2016. Since the reason I was at the clinic sharing the video was to have my right shoulder looked at for the same symptoms and as diagnosed I will have a goal sometime in the not too distant future of skiing with two new shoulders and also probably a right hip.”
Cartiva Procedure Patients
I had my operation on March 7th. I had lived with what I thought was a broken toe since 2010. For a while I was able to manage but by the time I saw Dr. Reed it hurt to walk with my foot completely on the ground.
To say that it was a joy to walk without pain is an understatement. Six months to the day I am pain-free and able to walk in heels again – 3-4 inch stilettos – without any discomfort. Six months ago, I could only walk in very wide foot shoes, with pain.
Healing took awhile for me. I’m not someone who sits around and I have a demanding job. So, it took awhile for the swelling to go down. At about 5 months I was starting to walk + run in any type of shoe.
Dr. Reed was superb at every stage. He is very knowledgeable, gentle, authentic/honest and a good listener, with a warm disposition. I couldn’t recommend Cartiva + Dr. Reed enough. And thank you 😊
Dr. Reed is professional, competent and willing to spend time and answer questions. 13 weeks out of bilateral Cartiva implant surgery, I do not believe I could have had a better outcome or experience with any other doc.
As my right great toe was deteriorating, I was experiencing more and more pain. I was only able to wear shoes that accommodated my full length, semi-rigid custom orthotics with a “Morton’s Extension” to prevent my toe from bending back too far and causing more pain. To continue to work out, I had to tightly tape my toe every time for several years until having the Cartiva surgical implant.
The surgery went smoothly and the recovery time was less than I expected. With attention to recovering strength and flexibility, I was able to bring my toe/foot back to the same level of comfort I hadn’t’ felt in many years. This past summer (6 months after surgery), I’ve been barefoot and wore light sandals for the first time in many summers. Now at the age of 58 (245 pounds), I’m back to playing competitive volleyball and barefoot dancing!
I consider the surgical implant a complete success!
After many years of toe joint pain due to arthritis, steroid injections, and increased difficulty walking and enjoying sports, I decided to seriously address the issue. Most doctors recommend a fusion of the joint, but that possibility was not appealing, particularly because I enjoy practicing yoga and it would undoubtedly affect the flexibility of the joint.
I feel fortunate that my primary doctor referred me to Dr. Reed. His approach was thoughtful and cautious. Eventually, we agreed on a Cartiva implant to maintain movement and alleviate pain. Despite some stiffness after years of limited movement, I have increased mobility and flexibility in my foot. More importantly, the chronic annoying pain is now gone.
I’m grateful to Dr. Reed and his team for recognizing that each patient’s story and situation is unique. It’s wonderful that the implant was available; for years fusion was the only option. Than you Dr. Reed
After an injury to both of my big toes while I was in my thirties, arthritis of both joints developed, gradually becoming worse—until, at age 56, while on an annual 100-mile bike ride with my sons, I concluded that this ride might have to be our last one unless I finally had my joints fused to stop the debilitating pain. I waited till May of this year to see if my toes improved or worsened. They worsened even with reduced activity.
I went to see Dr. Reed to inquire if fusing was my only remaining option (I had been using carbon plate orthotics in my shoes for years already). He was pleased to tell me about the Cartiva procedure that he’d been performing successfully for some months. Having recently been to an orthopedic conference (with my wife who is an orthopedic nurse) I was aware of the rapid technological developments in other joints and pleased to learn the big toe joint hadn’t been left out!
When I explained my desire to go on the annual bike ride again this year, July 18th, he informed me I was in his office barely in time to recover for the ride if we could schedule the surgery no later than May 25th. Dr. Reed kindly maneuvered his schedule to get me in for surgery on two separate days (insurance company rules inefficiently dictate having the operations on separate days)—May 21st and May 23rd. He informed me that I would be able to bear weight, carefully, immediately with the help of special shoes post op; that it would be about 8-10 days after that that I could begin wearing some normal shoes, and eight weeks before I could expect to feel comfortable doing gentle to moderately strenuous things with my toe joints. He also expected that bike riding with toe clips would be strenuous for my legs and core, but only moderately so for my toes and would be an acceptable activity provided I found it comfortable.
Every one of his estimates was right on. Exactly 8 weeks after my operation I was able to resume a brief week of riding activity to train for the longer two-day 100-mile ride. The ride went so well that I decided to follow up with a one day 60-mile ride back from our destination (I finally had to have my wife pick me up for the last leg home as I finally did begin to get sore feet and toes). One day later, my toes actually feel better than they did the week before.
My flexibility has steadily increased, and it appears I am on track for really strenuous toe activity after 6 months as Dr. Reed has projected. All of his explanations of the procedure, post op instructions and predictions of my progress were spot on and gave me the confidence to plan for my bike ride. I cannot recommend this procedure and Dr. Reed’s care highly enough.
– M. E. (July 25, 2018)
Cards from our our Patients
I have had very positive results following my anterior hip replacement surgery that was performed by Dr. Downer and his staff in May 2012. I suffered for a number of years from both lower back and hip pain and walked with a limp. My personal treatment to alleviate pain was to hang upside down on an inversion table and visit my Chiropractor on a regular basis. However, this was only a temporary fix and did not solve the serious issues I endured each day.
It has now been 5 1/2 years since my surgery and I am happy to say that I have had no problems with my hip, and most importantly, I am pain free. I no longer walk with a limp and the sciatica pain that had been running down my leg is gone. My quality of life has significantly improved. I cannot express how thankful I am for Dr. Downer and his team.
I am a 67-year-old retired general contractor and union carpenter. I am still very active, work hard, and exercise almost every day. Part of my daily exercise regimen includes going four to five miles on an elliptical and treadmill. It will soon be six years since my surgery and I am in better shape now than I was 20 years ago. I know how important it is to stay active and exercise on a regular basis.
Thank you once again, Dr. Downer, you are a miracle worker.
Hi, Dr. Weil –
Thanks again for fixing my broken arm last summer.
As you can see, it worked great during this amazing winter we had, and I skied every weekend from Thanksgiving to the end of April!
I hope you were able to enjoy all that gorgeous snow, too.
“Although I never imagined needing a hip replacement at age 44, I am now pain free for the first time in five years.
Thanks to Dr. Downer, I can backpack, hike, bike, do yoga and Pilates, and even run again! From my first consultation and surgery to helping me rent an electric bed and overseeing my recovery, my experience with Dr. Downer and his amazing staff was top notch.
I am so grateful to the capable, competent team of individuals at Orthopedic Specialists of Seattle who helped me get my life back.”
– K. B.
I wanted to give you an update on how I am doing following my shoulder surgery on January 4. It has been six months now and I feel I am doing great. You may have heard that they discharged me from Physical Therapy in Edmonds. They felt I can do fine by continuing my stretching and exercises, plus living my active lifestyle.
I am now back to doing yardwork around our home and riding my bike around the neighborhood. It is boating season now and we have done two trips within the Sound. Just getting the boat ready was physical therapy as I got the boat ready this year and moved things back aboard. In Gig Harbor recently I took our ten foot inflatable out and rowed it nearly a mile around the harbor exploring like I often have done in the past. The rowing felt natural and good and I experienced no pain.
The past two weeks I have spent helping our handyman completely tear down our old front porch and install a new Trex deck in its place. During the demolition I was using a seven pound hammer with my right arm to break planks loose from joists. I was careful and I experienced no excess pain as a result.
One thing I learned from this was to “listen to my arm.” You really get to know what you can and can’t do and my arm has been fine for the activities I have described. My pain level is somewhere below one on a one to ten scale. Hardly noticeable and I know I will wake one day to the revelation that there is no pain.
So all is very good. I want to thank you for showing me the way. You assured me back in November that if I had the surgery and did the physical therapy the odds were very good that I would be able to use my arm just as I had before. You were correct. I know the full heal is a year and will continue to be careful.
All the staff at Seattle Orthopedic were very professional and caring. I appreciate all they did along with those excellent Physical Therapists at Swedish Edmonds.
My story is a success and I am willing to share it with anyone. Thank you so much Dr. Shapiro.
I’m back working construction. Thanks to you, the first years of my knees was major pain. Then it turned into agony. I’m so glad I went to your free clinic at Swedish because you changed my life. I took a gamble on you and I won. I knew I could trust you…Thank you! You the man!”
When I got married on September 25, 2016, I was able to dance with both my father and my husband. I spent the morning kayaking with our bridal party and the evening celebrating my marriage. I could not have done either activity without you. Thank you.”
I can only tell you that my experience with each of the staff at the Ballard Office was the best I could imagine. Each of the people I came in contact with treated me as though I was their only patient. Beginning with the three ladies at the front desk, professional and kind. The PA’s: Gail and Brian The MA’s: Kirsten and Kiyoshi. The surgical coordinator: Sarah
The PA’s corrected the problem I was having with a splint. The MA’s casted and corrected cast when I had a problem.
As far as I am concerned, all are part of a great team, and if needed, I would want all of them to care for my issues with hand surgery. And, of course, the knowledge and professionalism of Dr. Wayne Weil, my hand surgeon. I would definitely come to Dr. Weil with other hand surgery if I needed.
It is always nice when our physicians receive notes from their patients.
Patient underwent a lower amputation of her lower right leg after years of multiple surgeries & pain. Dr. Mark Reed performed her surgery and a Rush Foot prosthetic was placed. Today, she has more function to help her live her active lifestyle.
Thank you to Sandra for her feedback. We are so happy we could help!
I am so impressed with Dr. Peterson.
I brought my mother in to see him this past week. She has some complications and he has been so upbeat and helpful. I also feel his concern for her. He just called to see how she was doing and he articulated what procedures will happen next with my mother. I am so appreciative with his compassion. Thanks Dr. Peterson for all your concern and professional advice you have given my mother.
Dr. Peterson performed a left total hip arthroplasty and it looks like he is doing great! Congratulations Kyle on doing the STP ride!
Dr. Weil’s patient, M, drew him a picture to say thank you for being a great doctor.
Dr. Ruhlman’s patient, J. S., congratulating him on being named one of the Top Docs from Seattle Met.
Dr. Shapiro’s patient, R. K., sent Dr. Shapiro a thank you card for correctly diagnosing his arm pain.
Video Review: “After rock climbing at an advanced level for twenty five years…”
my body parts started to wear out. Injuries I sustained many years before while climbing reappeared as constant pain in my right shoulder and left hand. At first I tried to control the pain with ibuprofen and physical therapy, but eventually I realized that more was necessary. A friend referred me to Dr. Weil for my hand and Dr. Shapiro for my shoulder. Both advised conservative treatments to start. For my hand, a single steroid injection by Dr. Weil was enough and worked great. Dr. Shapiro used steroid injections for my shoulder that bought me two more good years, but eventually surgery became necessary. Recovery wasn’t fun but it was totally worthwhile – I can climb again! Great job by both Drs. Shapiro and Weil.”
– J. (Oregon)
The following are some of Dr. Downer’s patients’ own words about their experience with the anterior approach hip replacement surgery:
“I was referred to Dr. Downer by a friend who was skiing better and faster than he had in a long time. I researched the anterior hip approach and it seemed like the way to go. I was back on my feet and back to work in ten days, and now I am skiing just like my friend – better, faster and without pain. I am also now back to riding horses and competing in shows with them, which I love but had to give up because of hip pain. This is a great procedure.”
– C. (Yakima WA)
“I am a surgeon and as such I am especially particular as to whom I will let operate on me. I was very interested in an anterior approach hip replacement because it has a tremendous track record in the right hands. Because there is very little muscle trauma with this surgery, the recovery is easier in terms of pain and there is rarely a need for physical therapy.
An anterior hip replacement has less risk for dislocation after surgery than other approaches and therefore the worries that patients who undergo the conventional surgery have of guarding their hip against excessive flexing while sitting are eliminated. Finally, this approach uses a special table that allows for more precise implant placement and decreases the chances for leg length discrepancy as well as other technical problems associated with conventional posterior and lateral hip replacements.
When I found Dr. Downer, I was thrilled that someone close to my home was doing this surgery. The surgery has gone as well as I could have ever expected. He and his team at the office, the OR and on the postoperative hospital ward did a terrific job.”
– B. (Kirkland, WA)
“Dr. Downer. You are a brilliant surgeon! I am grateful to have received a new right hip joint through your anterior approach. many have observed the anterior benefits — including faster recovery.
Having been discharged a little more than 24 hours after my surgery on September 11th, I feel well on my way to recovery.My Swedish Ballard Hospital experience was extraordinarily satisfying. I’m most impressed with your friendly, efficient, competent team, beginning with the intake nurse Cara, followed by Dr. “A” the anesthesiologist. Because I only had a spinal, I could easily interact with the delightful nurses in the recovery room. Katie, Susan, and Linda monitored and communicated with me clearly; actually this marked the beginning of my ‘joint journey.’ I began to feel relief there.
The journey continued on the 4th Floor with more wonderful RNs, Renate, Pam, Deb – with help from Alvin and Miranda. I liked the PTs Janet and Debbie – as well as the OT Rosie. Bobby wheeled me into room 429 and later out to Bryan’s car… Another genuinely helpful staff member.
Your PA Agnes discharged us with some useful information, mainly about the prescriptions.
The entire experience was positive. Thank you!”
– D. (Seattle, Sept. 2012)
“This is a summary of my hip replacement surgery, performed by Dr. Downer in May 2010.”
I am 62 years old with an athletic build and an avid golfer and recently have become an active cyclist. I met with Dr. Downer about six months before my surgery – he was the fifth doctor I saw previous to having my hip replacement done. I met with very popular surgeons in Bellevue and Seattle before seeing Dr. Downer. Each one came highly recommended. They all used the posterior method of hip replacement.However, I learned in my research about the anterior method of hip replacement – not as well known, but with a much shorter recovery time and just as good of results. From my golfing experience I remember that Tom Watson had anterior hip replacement surgery in Santa Monica, California, only six months prior the British Open in 2009, a tournament in which he led until the last day. That was amazing to me. When I inquired about who in the Northwest did this procedure, the same doctor kept coming up – Dr. Phil Downer in Ballard.
So I made an appointment and checked him out. I liked his direct approach – easy going and efficient, but also straight to the point. He sized up my situation in short order. I needed a new hip, but as long as the pain was not overbearing, he advised that I wait until it was sure. A few months later, when I could not walk my dogs around the block, I set a date. The surgery was very successful. I could not have pictured a better result and the hospital stay was just one night. Follow up was good and I really had no issues to deal with.
In ten days, I was on a spin bike. In two weeks, I was down to one crutch. In three weeks, I was walking with no help whatsoever and back to my spin class – just cruising for a couple of weeks, but it was not long before I was doing the whole class. I had a six-month check-up. Nothing could be better. Check that one off the list. I have referred many friends to Dr. Downer and they have had similar experiences. I highly recommend him.
– B. (Bellevue WA)
“I’m 68 and have enjoyed good health, except for moderate to severe arthritis in both knees and right hip.”
“Dr. Downer replaced the hip on October 26, 2011. I’d never had major surgery before, so was apprehensive, even though I’d spent considerable time educating myself about what to expect.Following my procedure, I felt a little shaky/woozy and needed narcotic painkillers and a walker for about a week. I switched to Tylenol and a cane for another week or so. After that, there was minimal pain and steady, speedy improvement.
Now, nearly two months later, I’m totally pain free, walking easily and naturally, even doing some dancing! Dr. Downer is a highly skilled, caring surgeon who listens carefully, explains thoroughly, and deserves your trust and complete confidence.” (Patient comment, December 2010)
The following are comments from a focus group about the anterior approach hip replacement surgery (October 2007):
“I got into the surgery process and the surgery was very easy. I was up and walking probably within — if not that afternoon, certainly the next day. No physical therapy after, no extreme pain, no limitations, just – it’s like I hit the jackpot or something.”
“It was wonderful. It was absolutely wonderful.
“I had two visiting nurses that came. They came on two different trips.
“Even in the hospital, the physical therapist and the nurses and such were amazed. They had me up in 2 hours.”
Reviews from Facebook
“Big thank you to Dr. Downer for taking on my complex hip replacement/reconstruction with a positive attitude at the age of 20 when all other doctors turned their head! I highly recommend him to anyone thinking about hip replacement, or to anyone with rare hip conditions!” – Meteah
“Going in for a knee fix tomorrow morning and expect the same excellence as last time. Dr. Franklin is terrific. I have also hade Dr. Weil fix a thumb joint. They are superb!”
“Dr Watt was great he took the time with me to explain my knee pain and then with a shot my knee pain was gone in a day. He is a miricle worker I am very very pleased and highly recommend Dr. Watt.”
“If you ever need any orthopedic work done, joint replacements, etc., contact Orthopedic Specialists of Seattle. Dr. Downer and his clinical and surgical staffs are top notch. Can’t say enough nice things about my surgical experience. They are true rock stars in their field.”
“Dr Downer did a complete hip replacement (anterior approach) to my left hip less than one month ago. I’m very pleased to relate that I’m doing excellently and will recommend both Dr Downer and the Orthopedic Specialists of Seattle very highly!”
Dr. Reed’s patient, A. Watson sent a note of thanks for fixing his foot.
Thank you for Dr. Reed (View PDF)
Dr. Weil’s patient, J. Kettinger sent him a thank you card and update on the work he did on his hand.
Thank you for Dr. Weil (View PDF)
Thank you card from one of Dr. Weil’s patients
Thank you card for Dr. Reed from one of his patients