Doctor Spotlight: Neil T. Dion
Dr. Neil T. Dion is a board-certified orthopaedic surgeon, practicing in Concord, Derry, and Laconia. Dr. Dion is a graduate of Boston University and Northwestern University where he earned his medical degree. Dr. Dion remained at Northwestern University for his Residency, before completing his fellowship at Harvard Medical School in Adult Reconstructive Surgery.
Q: When did you first know you wanted to become an orthopaedic surgeon?
A: I decided on Orthopaedics during my third year of medical school. It was by far my favorite specialty that I rotated through. I was drawn to the ability to reliably fix problems for patients. My parents tell me that I told them this is what I wanted to do after I broke my wrist when I was about 10.
Q: What were some challenges you faced along the way?
A: Residency was a 5-year long challenge with very long hours and countless difficult cases. It takes a lot of practice, as in thousands of surgeries, to become a competent orthopaedic surgeon. I was fortunate to learn from some great surgeons throughout my residency and fellowship.
Q: What makes your patient care approach unique?
A: I try to find the right solution for each individual patient. Just because someone has arthritis doesn’t mean they automatically need a knee replacement. I can also use a variety of nonoperative treatments to help patients meet their mobility goals. For patients who do opt to pursue joint replacement, I am able to offer partial or total knee replacement depending on the arthritis pattern and patient desires. I am also able to incorporate robotic assisted technology into my practice.
Q: What made you decide to focus on total joint surgery?
A: I was drawn to hip and knee replacement surgery by the powerful and predictable results of these procedures. Hip and knee arthritis are some of the leading causes of disability across the world, and these surgeries are transformative for patients.
Q: What is the most common injury you see?
A: I typically deal with arthritis in its many forms which include osteoarthritis, post-traumatic arthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis in addition to other types of inflammatory arthritis.
Q: Can you walk us through a day in the life of Dr. Dion?
A: My OR days are very different from my office days. They both have some very enjoyable aspects, but the OR days are more exciting, so I’ll walk you through that. On a typical OR day, I’ll wake up and hopefully have time to get a run-in. I will eat breakfast with any of my 4 children who happen to be up early. I am typically at the hospital or surgery center before 7 am to talk with the first couple of patients before surgery. I review my operative templates and plans which were done the week before. I discuss any unique concerns or instrument needs with our team to confirm everything requested is available before we start. I then typically do between 4 and 7 hip and knee replacements in a day depending on the complexity of the cases. Between cases, I am answering any final preoperative questions for the next patient, review post-op x-rays from the prior patient, and personally calling my patients loved ones to let them know when surgery has been completed. Despite these busy days, I am usually home in time for dinner with my family. This time of year, there is usually a little league game to get to as well.
Q: What are you most proud of in your career to this point?
A: Without question, I am most proud of the charitable joint replacements that I have done in developing countries with Operation Walk Chicago. I am proud to have played a small part in this wonderful organization that was founded by one of my mentors. I have had the privilege of performing joint replacements in Nepal, Vietnam, and Brazil. I am excited to be heading back to Nepal this October where our team will perform 40 free knee replacements for patients who would not otherwise have any access to this care.
Fill in the Blanks
- If I were not a doctor, I would be: An engineer or maybe a chef
- My biggest pet peeve is: Starting work late
- The #1 song on my all-time playlist is: Yellow Ledbetter by Pearl Jam
- One little-known fact about me is: I drove an ambulance for a year in Boston after college
- My favorite food is: Coffee