In early March, an open house for the newly expanded Houston Methodist Hand & Upper Extremity Center marked a milestone in Dr. Evan Collins career and a renewed commitment to a collaboration that is changing outcomes.
While determined to make an impact on medical science, as he completed his residency in Orthopaedic Surgery at the State University of New York Health Science Center in 1998 and began a Fellowship at Baylor College of Medicine, his commitment remained first and foremost to improving patient care.
In just a few short years, Dr. Collins became Chief of the Hand Section and Director of the Hand Fellowship program at Baylor, amassing numerous awards and co-authoring dozens of scientific papers and presentations. During this time, he also managed to assemble a healthcare team to provide dedicated attention to injured workers returning from Iraq, for which he was recognized as a Haliburton Hometown Hero.
Today, he is Director of the Houston Methodist Hand & Upper Extremity Center and the Plastic Surgery Resident Rotation. Found just as frequently monitoring the rehabilitation session of a patient as he is lecturing to students, he is the programs true center.
His approach to patient care and clinical outcomes has earned him a spot on both national and international lists of leading physicians in his specialized area of expertise.
But, thats not what drives him.
His work with a unique subset of athletes within the performing arts is changing treatments and rehabilitation protocols for repetitive stress injuries and conditions affecting everyday individuals as well, serving as the impetus for his efforts.
Now spanning decades, his work with the Houston Methodist Center for Performing Arts Medicine, the Houston Symphony, the Miro Quartet, and the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University has resulted in a first-of-its-kindresearch study focused on the type of repetitive stress and overuse disorders experienced over the long career of musicians.
These initiatives are just the beginning of a paradigm shift in how we care for patients -Dr. Evan D. Collins
Our work with professional athletes and performing artists is translating into a better understanding of their unique healthcare needs, which will have significant implications for the care of everyday individuals, Dr. Collins said.
What were finding in the types of repetitive stress conditions and overuse injuries we see in professional musicians, an unconventional athlete, will easily translate to the general population. These initiatives are just the beginning of a paradigm shift in how we care for patients, he added.
Repetitive Stress / Overuse Injuries and Conditions
While Dr. Collins is often sought for consult on complex trauma cases, he spends most of his time treating and assessing repetitive stress disorders and overuse injuries, such as carpal tunnel syndrome, cubital tunnel syndrome, tennis elbow and UCL (ulnar collateral ligament) tears.
These types of disorders are the result of repetitive movement placing stress on and causing inflammation of a nerve, tendon, ligament or joint. Frequently affecting professionals in sports and the arts, it also affects everyday individuals as a result of work or other extracurricular activity.
Among the lead investigators in a study, which resulted in one of the first FDA approved less invasive, high-energy extracorporeal shockwave treatment options for chronic tennis elbow, Dr. Collins serves today as an expert in repetitive stress disorders. He remains committed to establishing early diagnoses and treatment protocols, as well as prevention programs as such disorders can serve as a precursor to larger musculoskeletal issues and eventual joint degeneration.
Research on the Worlds Stage
In his over 20-year career, Dr. Collins has served as an investigator in many research projects focused on the small bones and joints of the hand, wrist and elbow.
While much of his early research focused on degenerative joint conditions and the relationship between the bones, joints, and connective tissue of the hand and wrist in determining the best motion-sparing surgical approach for both injury repair and joint reconstruction, his work over the past few years has focused on repetitive stress disorders, particularly among musicians and performing artists.
My clinical work has both prompted and benefited from research focusing on the pathology of such conditions, Dr. Collins said.
Our current research aims to identify evidence-based research, the mechanical and biological impact, and the role of capacity in repetitive stress and overuse injuries that these professional artists [musicians] experience, in order to establish preventive care and treatment protocols that will translate to the broader population, Dr. Collins added.
An Untraditional Hand & Upper Extremity Center, Breaking Down Walls
The Houston Methodist Hand & Upper Extremity Center is a comprehensive, patient-centered healthcare program unlike any other.
Working collaboratively to care for the whole patient, while treating common and complex hand and upper extremity injuries and conditions, the center is setting new standards in superior patient care by taking a multidisciplinary approach and promoting open communication between all members of a patients healthcare team.
We often treat patients with multiple conditions involving physicians in different areas of specialty. Our program is committed to collaborative care with a singular goal restore this patients function and return them to their life and the activities they love, Dr. Collins said.
Our program is committed to collaborative care with a singular goal restore this patients function and return them to their life -Dr. Evan D. Collins
We work to facilitate communication between all of the healthcare professionals involved in a patients care for cohesive treatment that doesnt overlap efforts, addresses all of their needs and makes sense for the patient, he added.
While home to many of Houstons professional athletes and performing artists, the center provides the same level of care, passion, and integrity to every patient who walks through the door.
Located beneath a single roof, patients have access to the latest in minimally invasive treatment options, joint reconstruction procedures, and hand therapy built on evidence-based research and clinical outcomes.
An expansive rehabilitation salon features therapy stations and sprawling spaces for throwing and swinging exercises. The area is framed by exam rooms, on-site digital X-ray, electrodiagnostic testing rooms, research labs and a dedicated surgical suite.
The treatments provided at the center include advanced endoscopic and arthroscopic procedures, injection therapiesincluding platelet rich plasma (PRP)ligament reconstructionlike Ligament Reconstruction and Tendon Interposition, LRTI, Tommy John Surgery / UCL, MCL Reconstructionand fracture repair.
The primary focus of the center and staff is the care of hand, wrist, elbow and shoulder injuries and conditions, ensuring that every patient and family member is treated with respect and compassion.
Therapies are designed to facilitate recovery, restore strength and range of motion for the long term.
With all resources on hand, Dr. Collins is able to efficiently monitor patient progress and discuss necessary changes in treatment or other coordination of care with the therapists and extended hand support team.
The opening of this newly expanded hand center in the heart of the medical center reaffirms my commitment and that of Houston Methodist Hospital to academic excellence, education initiatives within the community and a higher standard of patient care, Dr. Collins said with a warm smile.
About Evan D. Collins, M.D., MBA
Dr. Collins holds a Certificate of Added Qualifications (CAQ) in surgery of the hand and has dedicated the past 20 years to medicine, research and teaching. Hoping to expand on his effectiveness in each of these areas, he pursued his MBA from the Rice University, Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Business and added it to his list of accomplishments in 2013.
His research findings are published in national and international journals such as Techniques in Hand and Upper Extremity Surgery, the Journal of Hand Surgery, Current Orthopaedic Practice, Orthopedic Reviews, as well as textbooks Operative Techniques in Hand Surgery and Orthopaedic Knowledge Update.
The opening of this newly expanded hand center in the heart of the medical center reaffirms my commitment and that of Houston Methodist Hospital to academic excellence, education initiatives within the community and a higher standard of patient care -Dr. Evan D. Collins
Passionate about education, he serves as a member of the faculty of Weill Cornell Medical College and Baylor College of Medicine, leading educational seminars and mentoring residents and hand fellows. He works extensively with CPAM and is part of the healthcare team responsible for the care of collegiate and professional athletes across Texas.
Achieving some of the highest nationally ranked patient satisfaction scores while advancing research in his field, Dr. Collins is recognized by local, national and international organizations assessing medical excellence, including Castle Connolly Top Doctors, U.S. News & World Report Top Doctors, Best Doctors in America, Texas Monthly Super Doctors,H-Texas Top Doctors and Houstonia magazines Top Doctors.
A father of three, the New York native considers Houston his home and enjoys all of the outdoor activities that the nearly year-round summer time temperatures permit. He also enjoys the performing arts, often attending the performances of the artists he treats.
Photos by Alex Steffler of Alex Steffler Photography. For more information visit www.alexsteffler.com.
For more information on the Houston Methodist Hand & Upper Extremity Center visit www.drevancollins.com or call 877.726.9362. The Houston Methodist Hand & Upper Extremity Center is located at 6560 Fannin Street, Scurlock Tower, Suite 410 in Houston, TX 77030.