INTERVIEW WITH DR. MATTHEW RUSSO
What guided your decision to go into medicine and specifically, your chosen field?
As a third generation orthopaedic surgeon, I have had the unique perspective of both the ups and downs of practicing medicine, specifically orthopaedics. One thing I always remembered is how much my dad seemed to love his job and the satisfaction of taking care of people. I remember participating on rounds with him at the hospital as a child as all his patients bragged about how wonderful he is. I even spent some time in surgery with him while on medical missions to Nicaragua. I like to think some of his best qualities have started to rub off on me.
Of course many things have changed from the days of my grandfather taking house calls and accepting payment occasionally in the form of a puppy for his young children. But what has remained constant is the joy and pride of watching my patients transform from experiencing pain and disability on an everyday basis to getting back to the activities that matter most to them – and no longer with the pain they had before. The field of orthopaedics and especially joint replacement, offers this opportunity for me on a daily basis.
“A humble physician has the courtesy of discussing the treatment plan with the patient rather than dictating it, especially if there is a possibility of a different diagnosis with the goal of improving that patient’s quality of life rather than elevating their ego.”
What are the most important qualities for a doctor to have?
I would have to say humility. If your doctor has a sense of humility with you in the office, chances are they have carried this attribute with them all throughout their training and will continue to treat you with respect. In my experience, the most impressive surgeons were not the ones that would tell you they were the best but rather the ones that approached every patient as unique and listened to their concerns and answered their questions honestly rather than assuming they know what’s best. Not every problem or complaint has a definitive answer with 100% certainty. A humble physician has the courtesy of discussing the treatment plan with the patient rather than dictating it, especially if there is a possibility of a different diagnosis with the goal of improving that patient’s quality of life rather than elevating their ego.
What about Doctorpedia resonates with your personal and professional mission?
Part of what was mentioned above relies on good communication. Doctorpedia allows us as physicians to communicate through video dialogue more information about their particular problem and reinforce what was said in their office appointment. In many ways, I look at these videos as a chance for the patient to hear it again since many of my patients are learning about surgery for the first time. With this format, the patient can experience different parts of the clinic visit again, as I discuss various aspects of their surgery and post-operative recovery expectations.
What problem do physicians face that Doctorpedia can help solve?
On the other hand, Doctorpedia helps patients I haven’t even met yet by helping them decide who the best person would be to help them with their problem. For instance, in my field of hip and knee replacement, there are many patients who can be experiencing pain from arthritis in their low back or from their hip. It can be very difficult to distinguish between these two conditions until the patient watches the video on what symptoms are mostly likely attributed to hip arthritis. This can allow the patient to proceed directly to either the hip or low back specialist instead of just flipping a coin.
“Doctorpedia helps us to bridge this gap so that all our patients do well and know what can be expected throughout their care.”
What do you think about the health and wellness information and resources available online? How can Doctorpedia improve medical literacy?
Studies have demonstrated this time and again. No matter whether it’s managing your blood glucose or recovering from surgery – a well-informed patient has superior outcomes compared with a patient who is not informed. Doctorpedia helps us to bridge this gap so that all our patients do well and know what can be expected throughout their care.
What can a patient expect when they have you as a doctor?
Our office is a very familiar and family environment and patients can expect to feel this when they come in. They know that I will treat them just as I would any member of my own family; an open and honest dialogue about their condition, options, and thorough explanation of risks and benefits of each. I tend to spend more time with patients than most orthopaedic surgeons as these qualities are important to me. The better I know you, your goals, hobbies, and aspirations, the better I can help you get there.
What is the most important factor in the doctor/patient relationship and why?
Trust. And this goes both ways. Possibly for more obvious reasons having trust in your doctor is paramount, and you want to choose a doctor who can instill this trust, but if I can’t trust my patient to follow simple precautions after their surgery or (for example) instructions about their bandage, then the patient will be at risk for complications and decreased satisfaction. Success after surgery is 50/50 on both parties and it’s a team effort.
What makes you different from other doctors in your field?
I focus on the treatment of the hip and knee through joint replacement and underwent further training in the form of a fellowship after my orthopaedic residency to focus on this. I perform the direct anterior approach to hip replacement which has become increasingly popular through minimally invasive techniques. I also perform total and partial knee replacement with the assistance of robotics.
With whom do you spend your free time?
I am the luckiest man in the world to share my life with my beautiful wife Caitlin and three children. Maybe I can convince one of them to be the 4th generation!
Founding Medical Partner
We welcome Dr. Russo to the Doctorpedia team and look forward to working together with him to revolutionize the Doctor/Patient experience. We look forward to utilizing his knowledge and expertise in orthopaedic surgery to refine our condition websites centered around these specialties. Please check out these websites for his great content:
With over 2,500 condition websites being built, our team of doctors is continually growing. We believe that the closer connection our condition websites can have to practicing doctors, the better product we can provide.
For more information on becoming a Founding Medical Partner please contact us at:
Dr. Matthew Russo
Dr. Russo is a third-generation orthopedic surgeon in Scottsdale, AZ specializing in total hip and knee replacement surgery. He feels very grateful to have the opportunity to serve the Phoenix community as an orthopedic surgeon, just as his father and grandfather have done, for over 30 years.