April 27, 2021
Meet Deeptee Jain, MD – Spine Specialist
Assistant Professor, Orthopaedic and Neurological Surgery
Mother, surgeon, colleague, trailblazer. Dr. Jain wears many hats and wears them well. She is the only female adult spine surgeon at Washington University, and one of only a small group of female spine surgeons in the country. “Here at Washington University Orthopedics, I am so lucky that I have colleagues and mentors who support me. The actions of our department leaders have demonstrated that they truly believe in supporting women in medicine."
Dr. Jain specializes in degenerative spine conditions, including lumbar and cervical disc herniations, degenerative disc disease and spinal stenosis. She treats patients with minimally invasive (MIS) spinal procedures, and uses traditional approaches when necessary. She also treats adult patients with spinal deformities and traumatic spinal injuries.
Her research includes include predictive analytics in spine surgery, digital technology in musculoskeletal health, minimally invasive spine surgery, and robotics in spine surgery.
Where are you from?
Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I grew up in a lovely community similar to St. Louis. It is very family oriented.
What made you choose orthopedics as a specialty?
I am so lucky to have a job that I love; orthopaedic surgery has given me they ability to restore function to my patients. I think it is so incredibly important to maintain an active lifestyle, and I have the privilege of helping patients with that endeavor.
What brought you to Washington University Orthopedics?
I am proud to be a part of Washington University Orthopaedics because of the people. Every surgeon here is a leader in his/her respective subspecialty. Not just in St. Louis, but in the country and even internationally. We strive to be best and the brightest, changing the way we practice musculoskeletal care, ultimately to improve patient outcomes. I am blessed that I have found supportive and lifelong colleagues, friends and mentors in my partners, especially those in my division of spine surgery.
What aspect of your practice do you find most interesting or rewarding?
It is so rewarding to drastically improve a patient's quality of life. I see patients with very debilitating spinal conditions, and a 45-minute minimally-invasive operation is life changing for them. They often go from only being able to walk half a block to walking three miles pain free.
Are you working on any interesting clinical trials or studies right now?
We are examining an artificial intelligence-based motion coach to guide patients with low back pain through therapy exercises. I think this has tremendous value if it does indeed guide patients through exercise therapy similar to a live physical therapist. It would greatly increase accessibility to exercise therapy in select patients.
What’s on the horizon for spine patient care? What are you excited about?
The greatest improvements in spine care center around how we deliver surgical services to improve the care pathway. To me, that means surgical techniques that allow for a minimally-invasive approach with less muscle dissection, a pathway that encourages rapid mobilization and faster return to work, and pain management strategies that allow for that. I am excited that we are now able to perform lumbar spine fusions with only an overnight stay, as compared to a typical two to three-day hospitalization.
What’s the best advice you ever received and who was it from?
“If you always let your decision making be guided by what is best for the patient, you can never go wrong.” From my co-resident when I was in training at UCSF. It has since been repeated by multiple mentors, both in clinical care and outside of clinical care.
What’s your favorite thing to do outside of work?
Dance with my almost two-year-old baby girl. And workout. Although these days I would fit the definition of a “weekend warrior.”
If you weren’t a doctor, what would you like to be doing?
My secret professional ambition has always been to be a professional hip hop dancer.
Learn more about Dr. Jain, including the moment she captured her all-female team at work at Barnes-Jewish West County Hospital, and why patients choose Washington University Orthopedics.