Photo by Cameron Wittig
Andrew Schmidt, Attending Orthopedic Surgeon, HCMC
Attending Orthopedic Surgeon / Hennepin County Medical Center
Top Doctors Designee: 2004, 2007, 2008, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014
When did you realize you wanted to go into medicine?
Even as a young child I remember being interested in the Reader’s Digest articles that were about trauma and real life. Whenever an issue came, I would grab it and find that month’s article about emergency medicine and read it.
What would you say the biggest change in orthopedics has been since you started?
It’s much less invasive now. Hospital stays have decreased dramatically—we routinely get patients out after they only spend three or four days in the hospital, and some patients only spend the night. The other part is the health care system itself. Everything is computerized. And the way we practice—it’s not just the patient and the doctor anymore, it’s a massive team approach, which has its advantages but also makes health care a little harder than it used to be.
What is happening in orthopedics right now that you’re excited about?
Just like everything else in medicine, we are moving into less-invasive or non-surgical ways to treat problems. And 3D printing is the technology that’s there all of a sudden—in orthopedics it’s really going to help us make custom implants for people based on their unique shape and anatomy. Those innovations are just around the corner, whereas they were science fiction 10 years ago.
If you could talk to yourself at the beginning of your career, what advice would you give?
My wife is a doctor too, and we managed to raise our kids. Medicine is a taskmaster—it’s a 24-hour-a-day job. You can’t completely get away from it. The advice I’d give is be prepared to work hard; find yourself an institution like I did, where you have the support you need to be able to take time off when you need it; and have a partner who supports you.