August 08, 2022

Meet Christopher Dy, MD, MPH 

Hand & Microsurgery Specialist 

Dr. Dy has clinical interests in brachial plexus injury, peripheral nerve surgery (including nerve injuries of the upper and lower limb), wide-awake hand surgery, compression neuropathy, nerve grafting, nerve transfer, nerve repair, nerve decompression, carpal tunnel release, cubital tunnel release, neurogenic thoracic outlet syndrome, tarsal tunnel syndrome, hand fractures, wrist fractures, distal radius fractures and hand surgery.

Learn more about Dr. Dy's practice by listening to The Upper Hand Podcast.

Where are you from?

I was born in Brooklyn, NYC, but grew up in Tarpon Springs, FL, in the Tampa Bay area. Tarpon Springs is known for their sponge docks and Greek food (including a healthy serving of potato salad underneath a traditional Greek salad)!

What made you choose orthopedics and hand/microsurgery as a specialty?

I chose orthopedics because I immediately saw the improvement in the quality of life for patients. I was drawn to hand and peripheral nerve surgery by a love and appreciation for the complexity of the anatomy in the hand and peripheral nervous system.

What brought you to Washington University Orthopedics?

I completed my hand surgery fellowship at WashU in 2015 and was recruited by Dr. Gelberman to join the faculty. Our faculty remain exemplars of high achievement in all areas - clinical care, teaching, research, and leadership. I was honored to join the faculty and am committed to contributing to its excellence.

What aspect of your practice do you find most interesting or rewarding?

I am incredibly grateful every time a patient thanks me for their care. In hand and microsurgery, we see a vast mix of patients with long-standing problems that affect their quality of life, as well as devastating traumatic injuries that change lives instantaneously. This leads to numerous "smaller" (and still really meaningful!) wins and the occasional "home run." I cherish all of them.

I am also privileged to work with colleagues and trainees in the surgical, non-surgical, and therapy disciplines that are of the highest caliber, which makes providing excellent care that much more enjoyable. My hand surgery partners are undoubtedly the most collegial, caring, and accomplished group of hand surgeons in the country. 

I am fortunate to have a stellar clinical research team (Carrie Burk and Yosita Beamer at the Orthopedic Clinical Research Center) who have tremendous skill in executing the vision for our clinical research program. Working with them is one of the very best parts of my job.

Was there a past patient who made a lasting impact on you?

I distinctly remember one our patients with a brachial plexus injury. Our residents astutely identified the injury during the patient's initial hospital stay and appropriately expedited a referral to our Multidisciplinary Complex Nerve Clinic.

David Brogan, MD, MSc, and I performed a reconstruction that provided objectively excellent functional results much earlier than expected. The patient received excellent hand therapy care. All of us on the medical team were thrilled. Unfortunately, the patient told us that he hated his result because it didn't match what he had expected. This was sobering and humbling, but pushed us to reflect on how we could have improved our pre-operative education about expectations for functional recovery as well as how the nerve injury would affect many aspects of his life. Because of this, our team has had a renewed dedication to treating the "entire" patient (physically, beyond their nerve injury, as well as mental health and social support).

We have also focused our NIH-funded research program on tracking outcomes after brachial plexus injury from multiple perspectives (patient-reported outcomes, surgeon-reported outcomes, and real-time assessment of extremity use) so we can truly see how we can better help our patients.

Anything new on the horizon for upper extremity care?

We are really excited about the new perspectives that we are bringing to outcomes assessment after brachial plexus injury, as mentioned earlier. I also think that Dr. Brogan is on the cusp of some really exciting breakthroughs in our ability to understand the true severity of nerve injuries at an earlier time. That will be game-changing because it allows us to determine when earlier surgery is helpful.

What is the best advice you ever received and who was it from? 

"If you don't prioritize your life, someone else will." - Scott Galloway (The Algebra of Happiness)

What is your favorite thing to do outside of work?

COOKING! I love the process, the challenge, and the creativity. Not much brings me more joy than sharing food and memories with friends and family. Those who know me well are aware that food is a love language for me.

If you weren't a physician, what would you like to be doing?

Struggling chef, recipe taster, aspiring travel show host, and karaoke hype man.

Anything else you would like to share?

I am blessed to have an incredible family - they are the reason that I leave the house excited for work and the reason I can't wait to get home at the end of the day. My wife, Dr. Tiffany Dy, is everything I could wish for as a partner and best friend. Our two children, Rafael (7) and Evelina (4), are rays of sunshine in my life. They always surprise me with the things they pick up from us!

Prior to a recent day of on-call cases at BJH, Rafael packed me a delicious and healthy lunch so  I wouldn't get hungry! And after a long day at work few months ago, Evelina pulled a stool up next to me while I was cooking and told me, "Daddy, when I grow up, I want us to be best friends so we can cook and do hand surgery together." It literally does not get better!

Learn why patient's choose Washington University Orthopedicsrequest an appointment online or call (314) 514-3500.

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