Category: Health Magazine, Summer 2023

Title:Tools of the trade

Author: Jane Varner Malhotra
Date Published: June 20, 2023

tools including a baseball and a model of a hip

When Andrea Spiker entered medical school, she planned to specialize in internal medicine. Orthopedics was her very last choice for third-year rotations, but then she witnessed a knee replacement surgery and knew she had found her calling.

a woman with dark hair in a lab coat
Andrea Spiker (M’10)

“It was like the world turned over for me. I was enthralled by the immediacy of being able to change every component of somebody’s life, from their ability to do daily activities, to work in athletics. It was so impactful for me.”

Although there were no female faculty in the specialty when Spiker was at Georgetown, she felt very supported by her mentors. Even today among attending level physicians in orthopedic surgery, only 6% are women.

After 20 years on the East Coast, in 2017 she returned to her hometown of Madison to become doctor for the University of Wisconsin women’s and men’s basketball teams. She sits on the bench for their games and gets inspiration from the players and coaches.

As for the tools of her trade shown above, in surgery she uses an arthroscope or joint camera, and an assortment of power tools including saws. She often uses a model of a hip when meeting with patients. When she was a student and resident her white coat pockets were full of things, but now when she meets with patients, she doesn’t even carry a phone.

“I really focus on listening to the patient in our consultations. As a hip surgeon I have to be comprehensive because I’m ruling out adjacent structures: the back, pelvic area, and all the muscles around the hip joint and on the inside. It’s something I’ve retained from Georgetown all these years—spend time and effort to make the diagnosis, and look at the whole person.”

1. Arthroscope

2. Power tools

3. Hip model

4. Last year the teams played at the American Family Field in Milwaukee where they made the baseball field into a basketball court, and they gave her this special memento from the game

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