For Brandon Downs, MD, FAAOS, the path to medicine was blazed early on. The Nashville native and founder of Orthopaedic Specialists didn't hesitate to follow in the footsteps of his father and grandfather - both local physicians.
"I was exposed to medicine at a young age by going on rounds with my father," Downs said of his early years.
After attending Belmont University as a full Presidential Scholar and graduating magna cum laude, he continued his education at Loma Linda University School of Medicine, where he was named the AMA Society Medical Student Researcher of the Year. Downs went on to an orthopaedic surgery residency at the Campbell Clinic in Memphis, followed by an orthopaedic sports medicine fellowship at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation in Ohio.
Following fellowship training, Downs achieved Board Certification and a Certificate of Added Qualification in Sports Medicine from the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery and the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine. He has been practicing orthopaedic surgery in Nashville since 2006.
Several years ago, with a stated goal of providing the finest orthopaedic care in the region, Downs launched Orthopaedic Specialists. His first office opened in Dickson in 2015, and an Ashland City practice soon followed.
In early 2018, Downs opened the Nashville office of Orthopaedic Specialists, located at 1912 Charlotte Ave. Downs and his staff provide concierge-level care from his Nashville office, where patients enjoy downtown views, front door parking and same day appointments. Convenience is a major focus with patients having the ability to receive physician-supervised care alongside onsite medical imaging, physical therapy and occupational therapy.
Downs, who specializes in orthopaedic sports medicine and minimally invasive joint replacement, frequently uses custom designed implants and performs computer-navigated total joint arthroplasty. He also offers regenerative medicine, performing platelet rich plasma injections and stem cell injections onsite.
"Regenerative medicine is still early science but is such a promising field," Downs said. "It offers a non-surgical approach to care for many of the problems we see in orthopaedics. I have lengthy discussions with my patients, especially those with orthopaedic medical issues or degenerative joint disease, who have daily pain but desire non-surgical treatments."
Overseeing a comprehensive orthopaedic center is big undertaking, but Downs said the value added to patient care and experience makes it all worthwhile. "I'm excited about the level of care we are able to provide for patients," Downs said. "We provide outstanding care for the patient needing medical orthopaedic care, the candidate for sports medicine surgery and the candidate for minimally invasive joint replacement. I'm pleased that we are able to provide state-of-the-art imaging and therapy services with the care and a personal touch that people enjoy."
Teaching & Designing
Downs also is a consultant and instructor for orthopaedic manufacturers such as Arthrex and Exactech, with a focus on computer-assisted navigation.
"Navigated orthopaedic surgery is a quickly growing area, and manufacturers are moving strongly forward with this technology," Downs explained. "We're developing and placing personalized implants based on the unique needs of a particular patient."
Navigation-guided surgery helps surgeons avoid poorly positioned implants, which provides increased stability, less pain and better patient outcomes. Through these partnerships, Downs performed the very first computer-navigated total shoulder arthroplasty in Tennessee in 2017. "It's great to be on the cutting edge of what's happening in orthopaedics and to make sure my patients are getting top quality care," he noted. "It compounds that effect if you're able to design the next generation implants and help other surgeons in the process."
Considering the rapid evolution of orthopaedic technology, Downs is committed to staying ahead of the curve. "In my early training, reverse total shoulder arthroplasty wasn't readily practiced, and now it's frequently used," Downs said. "Seeing that transition in such a short time over my career, I wanted to make sure I was a part of developing better techniques and software to improve outcomes and decrease revision rates for surgery patients. I enjoy helping to ensure we're advancing the craft forward for future patients."
In & Out of the Office
Downs maintains surgery center privileges at TriStar Centennial Medical Center, Saint Thomas Midtown Hospital and Indian Lake Surgery Center in Hendersonville, where he lives with his family. An avid snow skier and triathlete, Downs serves student athletes as team physician for Davidson Academy, Creek Wood High School and Dickson County High School.
With continued growth, Downs expects to add other specialists when the time is right. However, he said he doesn't envision Orthopaedic Specialists becoming so large that the practice loses what makes it special.
"In this practice, all patients are family ... so when they call they don't have to ask for a specific nurse," Downs said. "Everyone here is already familiar with your treatment, because we're all dedicated to your care."