What Does Success Look Like To You? – Robert MacArthur MD

What Does Success Look Like To You? – Robert MacArthur MD

Dr. Robert MacArthur, MD, is a distinguished orthopedic surgeon from Albany, New York, known for his expertise in advanced surgical techniques and patient-centered care. A New York State Champion in pole vaulting, he pursued a double major in biochemistry and physiology at UC Berkeley before leading as class president at Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons. His deep interest in human movement led to a successful career in orthopedics, notably as chief of orthopedics at a level 3 trauma center in California. Balancing his demanding profession with being a single father, Dr. MacArthur embodies resilience and dedication to both his family and the field of medicine.

Q&A with Robert MacArthur MD 

Dr. MacArthur, what was a pivotal moment in your medical career?

Robert MacArthur MD: A defining moment was during a complex joint reconstruction surgery early in my career. It taught me the importance of precision and innovation in orthopedic procedures.

How do you approach challenging cases in orthopedic surgery?

Robert MacArthur MD: My approach is patient-centered. All my surgical patients receive my personal cell phone number for any post operative questions or concerns.  I have found that this approach significantly decreases stress and complications and has not resulted in any increased burden on me.  

What role does technology play in your surgical practice?

Robert MacArthur MD: Technology is crucial. It has transformed how we perform surgeries, especially in terms of accuracy and reducing recovery times. 

How do you balance your demanding career with personal life?

Robert MacArthur MD: Balancing is key. I make sure to allocate time for personal activities and family, which are essential for my mental health and overall happiness.

Can you discuss a recent advancement in orthopedic surgery that excites you?

Robert MacArthur MD: Certainly.  One advancement is in post operative therapy for total joint patients.  I have significantly changed the post operative therapy protocal and this has resulted in; less post operative pain, less post operative bleeding and swelling, better post operative range of motion and function, and fewer post operative infections.

Secondly, I have recently patented a hand brace that corrects the alignment of metcarpal fractures.  Current splints are bulky and do not correct the alignment of the fracture.  My new splint, called the Perfect Fit Splint, will be available on Amazon in Spring of 2024 and will significantly improve comfort and outcome for patients with hand fractures.

What advice would you give to aspiring surgeons?

Robert MacArthur MD: Be prepared for a lifelong journey of learning. Stay curious, embrace new technologies, and always prioritize patient care.

How do you view the future of orthopedic surgery?

Robert MacArthur MD: I’m optimistic. The future holds immense possibilities with personalized treatments and advanced surgical techniques, promising better care for patients worldwide.

What’s your approach to patient communication?

Robert MacArthur MD: Clear and compassionate communication is vital. I make sure my patients fully understand their condition and the proposed treatment plan. It’s important they feel heard and supported throughout their journey.  I started giving out my personal cell phone number to my surgical patients over a decade ago, and I have found that this dramatically reduces patient stress and post operative complications.

Finally, what does success look like to you?

Robert MacArthur MD: To me, success is multi-faceted. Professionally, it means achieving the best possible outcomes for my patients. Personally, it’s about maintaining a healthy balance between my career and my life outside the hospital, ensuring that I am there for my family and myself.

Key Takeaways 

  • Patient-Centered Approach: Robert MacArthur MD emphasizes a patient-focused strategy in treating orthopedic cases, advocating for individualized  care plans and a collaborative, multidisciplinary treatment approach.
  • Importance of Ongoing Education: He highlights the necessity of continuous learning and keeping abreast of new technologies and advancements in the rapidly evolving field of orthopedic surgery.
  • Work-Life Balance: Dr. MacArthur underscores the significance of maintaining a balance between his demanding professional life and personal well-being, emphasizing the need for time management and prioritizing family and personal activities.