Dr. Timothy Pater
Patient Reviews and Testimonials
Surgeon: Dr. Timothy Pater
Reason for orthopedic care: arthritis in the thumb
Anne Schmitt has been playing the piano since she was a little girl. She also knits, gardens and shows her Australian Shepherds. As pain started developing in her thumbs, she eventually had to give up the things she enjoyed, “I started getting pain in my thumbs all the time… even picking up a piece of paper would trigger excruciating pain.”
Anne tried injections and therapy to ease her pain but nothing seemed to help. “The pain and dysfunction were interfering with my life. When I couldn’t knit or garden, I knew it was time for surgery.”
In order to get back to the life Anne enjoyed she elected to have surgery, which would provide permanent relief of pain and return to function.
Following Anne’s surgery, the recovery was five months, “I was in a cast for five weeks and a splint for four weeks. Dr. Pater warned me that the recovery was long and would be frustrating at times,” Anne said. Recovery did prove to be frustrating for Anne; nonetheless, as time passed she was gaining function and gratefulness. “Dr. Pater is my hero because he has made such a difference in my life,” Anne commented.
Today you can find Anne working in her garden or grooming her Aussies. Anne says it best, “I’m even starting to knit again which is perfect because I’m going to be a grandma.”
About Anne’s Surgery: Arthritis in the thumb joint is extremely common. CMC arthroplasty of the thumb is the common surgical procedure used to treat arthritis of the base of the thumb. It is a procedure which involves removing some of the bone at the base of the thumb. Then, a tendon is taken from a different area of the wrist and forearm and used to recreate the important ligament in the thumb and fill the void that is left by removal of the arthritic portion of the bone. This provides a nice cushion for the thumb to function without pain instead of the “rusty” hinge that is present prior to the procedure from the arthritis. In a typical week Dr. Pater sees several new patients (5-10) with this problem. If things can be done to manage the symptoms such as cortisone, thumb bracing and arthritis medication then that is the preferred treatment option; nonetheless a definitive solution is surgery. Surgery allows permanent relief of pain and return to function. Dr. Pater performs 60-75 of these procedures every year or about 1-2 every week.
Randall White: class act, Vietnam War veteran, husband of 45 years, total shoulder replacement recipient.
When Randall’s right shoulder started to become painful four years ago, he chose to ignore the pain and hoped it would magically disappear. “I was the poster child for Aleve and ibprofin. It was my placebo,” Randall said. Yet the over the counter pain relievers weren’t working. Slowly Randall was altering his entire way of life because his shoulder wasn’t working. “I had to switch to an electronic toothbrush… I started tying a string to my belt so I could get it through my belt loops. By the end I couldn’t even lift a hairbrush to my head if I tried.”
The most agonizing parts of Randall’s decline was his inability to help with the house and yard, nor did he have the ability to open the door for his bride of 45 “I had a fear of letting my mate down. I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to hold up my end of the deal.”
If you ask Randall when his healing began, he will answer quite matter-of-factly “it was the day I had an appointment with Dr. Pater... Dr. Pater instantly recognized my issue and he wanted to get it fixed. There were no mysteries. Everything was always well explained.” Randall’s confirmation that he was making the right decision came from a complete stranger, “I was at ACE Hardware at a sidewalk sale and there was a lady with a blue sling on. I started a conversation with her because I knew I was about to be in her boat. She asked who my doctor was and I said ‘Dr. Pater’. She looked at me with a smile and gave me a thumbs up. That was the recommendation that put me over the top.”
In October of 2013, Randall underwent a total shoulder replacement surgery. In January of 2014 he was released from physical therapy, “I took my motorcycle out for a January ride because I hadn’t been able to ride it in years,” Randall said with a smile.
With a new shoulder replacement Randall doesn’t feel limited anymore, “Of all the things I like to do, I do them. Yes, I do them carefully but I still do them. I didn’t think I would ever be able to dance with my wife again and I can. I have no hesitation that when I go outside (to work in the yard) there isn’t anything that I can’t do. I can sleep on that side again. I can even brush my teeth with my right hand. My life’s back and I’m more than grateful … I’m never gonna pitch for the Rockies but that’s okay.”
Surgeon: Dr. Timothy Pater
Reason for orthopedic care: Dupytren’s Disease
Rich loves working on his cars, but it became difficult when he developed Dupytren’s Disease.
Dupytren’s disease, also known as Viking’s disease, is a connective tissue disorder. The disease causes thickening in the palm and can progress to create flexion contractures of the fingers. When contractures progress and create functional difficulty, action should be taken.
For Rich, the disease started in his right hand, “It wasn’t particularly painful it was just a nuisance. It was hard to shake people’s hands,” Rich said.
Seven years ago, when Rich was living on the west coast, he decided to have surgery on his right hand to release the tendons. “The surgery fixed the Dupytren’s, kind of. The surgery was very invasive and painful. I was in a wrap for almost a month and then I went to therapy for 3-4 months... The end result was my finger was straight but I couldn’t make a fist very well.”
Rich was frustrated with the surgical procedure and how long the recovery took. Since Dupytren’s isn’t particularly painful he decided to ignore the disease when it started to develop in his left hand.
When Rich went to see his primary care doctor, Dr. Letkomiller, for a routine check-up, she suggested that Rich go see Dr. Pater. “If it was going to be surgery again, I was not at all interested,” Rich said. Nonetheless, Rich went to see Dr. Pater. “I had heard of alternative procedures (to surgery) and Dr. Pater explained all my options… I chose the Xiaflex injection and it was amazing.”
Dr. Pater explains, “The major breakthrough in the last two years in the treatment of Dupuytren’s Disease is the use of Collagenase with the trade name of Xiaflex. This is a substance that is injected into the Dupuytren’s cord that breaks off the tissue of the cord. It takes just a few minutes to perform the injection in the office. The patient returns a day or two later to the office for manipulation of the cord and in most cases the finger immediately straightens. This method involves some bruising and swelling in the hand but recovery is rapid and the patient is allowed to return to normal activity very quickly. This can offer a great advantage over surgery in the ease of recovery and the simplicity.”
Rich couldn’t be more thrilled with Dr. Pater and his recommendation for Xiaflex, “There was no after-pain other than tenderness. I was using my hand like I used to the very next day,” Rich said. By the end of the week Rich was working with wrenches on his car… something he hadn’t been able to do in years.
If Rich had to rate his experiences they would be: Surgery = “-7” - Xiaflex = “just amazing!”
Rich also added, “Dr. Pater is very straight forward and candid. I like that he gave me my options. I’ve already recommended him.”
"I was referred to Dr. Pater by my D.O. for torn rotater cuff. Very friendly, explained details of operation and recovery, answered all my questions, was concerned about my problem. I rate him EXCELLENT!!!"
"My experience with Dr. Pater was excellent in every way. His technique was such that nerve damage was at a minimum. Would recommend him without hesitation."