Moving people — in more ways than one
If Dr. Nirav Patel is your physician, you can expect a few things: friendliness, direct feedback, empathy…and a British accent. “Teaching, research, and innovation are a constant in my field,” says Patel, an assistant professor at the VCU Medical Center’s Department of Orthopaedic Surgery who joined the health system in 2016. “That constant learning and sharing of knowledge is what drew me to becoming a surgeon.”
Dr. Patel treats conditions of the musculoskeletal system, such as hip and knee arthritis, cartilage problems, ligament/tendon injuries, and problematic joint replacements, along with hip and knee pain in general. His patients come in the form of young people with injuries, to middle aged individuals dealing with joint pain, to an elderly person who took a tumble or is living with a debilitating arthritis. He also has interest in sports medicine, helping athletes both amateur and elite with injuries, to return to play. Over the years, his specialty has increasingly focused on joint replacement techniques and implants, robotic surgery, joint preservation, and better pain management.
“Helping people in pain can sometimes be challenging, especially if they face other medical conditions or are dealing with complications from past surgeries. But every obstacle I face is worth it if the patient recovers,” says Patel, who speaks Gujarati, French, Hindi and Spanish. “Helping people go from having a poor quality of life and dysfunction to having improved mobility and a great quality of life is the kind of reward that is hard to put into words, really.”
What drew Dr. Patel to VCU Health is the system’s state-of-the-art resources, focus on research and discovery, highly experienced surgeons and clinical staff, and collaborative team dynamic. “We have created a fantastic team environment that truly makes a difference in the way we care for our patients,” he says. His advice to patients when coming here: Take control of your healthcare. “When you come to VCU Medical Center, use all our resources. Ask a lot of questions,” he says. “And above all, stay positive.”
When Dr. Patel isn’t treating patients, he enjoys traveling, live music, keeping active, cars and charity work.
Dr. Patel’s research interests include enhanced recovery after joint replacement, cartilage preservation, opioid sparing surgery, joint replacement after sports injuries, and the process of returning to sports after injury and surgery. He has authored numerous peer-reviewed articles and book chapters related to a variety of orthopedic conditions, with numerous national and international presentations. He is a member of several professional organizations, including the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS), American Association of Hip and Knee Surgeons (AAHKS), American Orthopedic Society for Sports Medicine (AOSSM), and the American Medical Association (AMA). He serves on the Education Committee for the Arthroscopy Association of North America (AANA) and as an Editorial Board Member of the Journal of Arthroplasty.