Dr. Mykola Bartkiw is a well-known orthopedic surgeon with a very specific specialty – he is a hand and micro surgeon. This means that he treats patients for conditions affecting the shoulder down to the fingertips. See why this specific area of the body is so fascinating to him and the unique ways that he can help his patients heal.
A World of Details
When it comes to his patients, Dr. Bartkiw believes that the most important part of his preparation is seeing what is in the details. “My specialty is extremely detailed and that fits my personality,” says Dr. Bartkiw. “Details for hand surgery are so important from the start to the finish. The considerations include how you assess the condition, whether you deem surgery appropriate, how to maximally utilize and choose a good therapist, and all of the follow up,” he explains. Managing all of these details and understanding exactly how they can affect his patients’ recoveries is one of the most satisfying parts of his job. These details might be as general as personally reviewing therapy notes for his patients all the way down to repairing microscopic vessels or nerves, but they are all important to Dr. Bartkiw when it comes to ensuring the best possible outcome for patients.
The Power of Therapy
While details are important, therapy also plays a critical part in patient recovery, whether surgery was needed or not. Dr. Bartkiw says that although he is a surgeon, 50% of his patients are treated without requiring a surgical procedure, and he accredits this to his deep knowledge of the field and the excellent care delivered by the therapists with whom he works closely. “It is all about the details and the therapy. For example, when I see my patients I first examine them before deciding the specific x-rays. Every patient deserves a specialized exam when they see a specialist,” he says. Dr. Bartkiw also elaborates that he incorporates this philosophy when working with his residents. ” We have to get away from the mindset of quickly ordering standard tests such as x-rays, and instead approach the condition from the mindset of doing a thorough exam and listening to the history and using our SKILLS to do so.” Once that information is gathered Dr. Bartkiw believes surgeons are better able to actually diagnose the cause of the patient’s ailment and thus develop the specialized plan. “For 50% of my patients, surgery is not necessary and conservative treatment and patient education becomes the treatment tool,” says Dr. Bartkiw. He describes a 25% to 75% balanced relationship between himself, the patients, and oftentimes a therapist. As a physician, he contributes the first 25% of the treatment, but the remainder of the work occurs as the patient and therapist work through the recommended therapy. Dr. Bartkiw reinforces that everybody has to be an active participate in the team.
Healing Your Connection to the World
What keeps Dr. Bartkiw passionate in his work is the opportunity to physically see his patients heal. He explains, “When I meet people, they are often in the pits of despair. Hand and upper extremity injuries are very unique. They connect you to the world. When you have a deficit, you are reminded of this every single day.” Dr. Bartkiw says that he believes his role is not only to treat the human tissue but in many ways to also help treat the human spirit. “I always make sure to reassure my patients that the depression or anxiety they might feel is real and that it is understandable.” He continues, “What’s uplifting to me is seeing people’s enthusiasm when they have healed compared to how distraught they were before.” It is his patients and their journeys to becoming functional again that pushes him to hone his skill and extend the limits of what is possible.
Why Crittenton Hospital
Dr. Bartkiw is a partner physician at the Center for Advanced Orthopedics and Sports Medicine. “I am extremely proud of our practice. We are an elite group of fellowship-trained surgeons able to treat the full spectrum of musculoskeletal conditions,” explains Dr. Bartkiw. He works with Crittenton Hospital because of how highly specialized it is. “Crittenton is a beautiful and extremely clean hospital and is a specialized hospital with many excellent physicians. The nurses are sincere and knowledgeable,” Dr. Bartkiw explains. “They have updated and new equipment to perform complex surgeries that other area hospitals do not have available.” What is his other favorite part about the hospital? That he can walk down the hallway and always see people he knows. That is the comfort of a community-based hospital.
Advice to the Community
Dr. Bartkiw sees plenty of patients who come to him with an injury related to an accident. When asked if he has any advice to avoid the common accidents he sees, Dr. Bartkiw answered with a resounding yes. “Practice slow, purposeful movements,” Dr. Bartkiw advises. “You should always think before you move and practice proper ergonomics. For example instead of twisting your body to reach into your backseat for a bag, I would suggest one would instead walk around to the back door and pick it up in order to avoid strain or injury.” And this is advice that he has started following himself.
Out of the Hospital
Though Dr. Bartkiw is more often found in scrubs than relaxing, in his free time he enjoys cycling, watersports, and exploring the rich history of Detroit, including the urban development growth. When he has more than a few hours off, Dr. Bartkiw takes time to indulge in his other passion: traveling. He has traveled extensively both around the country and internationally.
About Dr. Bartkiw
Dr. Mykola Bartkiw received his medical education from Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine. He did his residency in orthopedic surgery at McLaren Oakland – Michigan State University and his hand and microsurgery fellowship at the world renowned Indiana Hand to Shoulder Center. Dr. Bartkiw is an assistant clinical professor at the Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine. He is board certified and also holds Certificate of Added Qualifications in Hand Surgery (CAQH).