I became an orthopaedic surgeon because...

I became an orthopaedic surgeon because I was fascinated by the ability to use my hands and help people. As I look back at the whole process of becoming a doctor, I may have been a little bit biased by the three orthopaedic procedures that I had as a child. During medical school I was intrigued by all the different specialties, but none of them impacted me like my first orthopaedic rotation. I remember one particular night during a trauma rotation at UC Davis. A woman was badly injured in a car accident, and was brought to the hospital. She was taken to the operating room that evening to fix her fractured bones. A couple of days later she was able to leave the hospital with her family. Four weeks later she came back to the clinic, was able to sit up and use her hands despite the pain from her recently fixed forearms, and she was able to say hello and thank you. I loved seeing that immediate impact on a patient’s life!

What is the most rewarding part of being an orthopaedic surgeon?

The most rewarding part of being an orthopaedic surgeon is establishing a relationship with a patient, taking care of them, and seeing them do well. Whether it is getting the patient back to sports, helping them to walk without having severe pain, or helping a cancer patient preserve their function and be able to get out of bed, I really enjoy being able to help others. I also enjoy seeing the amazing strength and courage in our patients, as they recover and improve.

What do you like to do in your free time?

In my free time I enjoy being with my wife, three boys, and dog. I like being outdoors, surfing, stand-up paddle boarding, and music. I enjoy playing the piano, and I’m trying to learn to play the guitar.

In what volunteer activities or efforts do you engage that mean the most to you and those you serve?

Giving back to the community is very important to me. I volunteer at a local free clinic that is run by the medical students at UC San Diego School of Medicine. I am involved in mentorship programs to minority students in the local schools. I like to contribute to medicine by being involved in various committees and subspecialty societies in my hospital and in orthopaedics.

Stories related to Dr. Michael Flippin

View All