July 11, 2023

Meet Melissa Wright, MD

Shoulder and Elbow Specialist 

Dr. Wright is an orthopedic surgeon specializing in shoulder and elbow surgery. She treats all injuries and conditions of the shoulder and elbow, including shoulder arthritis, trauma, instability, dislocation, fractures and tears. She approaches patient care conservatively, and offers both nonoperative and operative care as appropriate.

Where are you from? 

I am a St. Louis native – I grew up in University City only a few blocks from the WashU Danforth campus.

What made you choose shoulder and elbow as a specialty?

I liked the variety and the generally very positive outcome that patients have after treatment for shoulder problems. I get to take care of all different kinds of conditions, perform a wide variety of surgical procedures (joint replacement, arthroscopy, fracture fixation), and really develop a high level of expertise in this one area. I also had some great mentors in shoulder and elbow who helped inspire me in my pursuit.

What brought you to Washington University Orthopedics?

I spent nine years at Washington University as a medical student and then orthopedic resident. So the opportunity to come back to this outstanding department, work with friends and mentors, teach and pursue research, all while close to my family who is all still in St. Louis, was an opportunity I just couldn’t pass up.

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

The opportunity to meet, and help, so many different people is my favorite part of the job – I just really enjoy people and so getting to know those from different walks of life, hear their experiences, and hopefully help improve their quality of life is amazing. 

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

There are many; it is hard to pick just one. I feel privileged to get to learn so much from my patients and also help them get back to what they love. I feel lucky to get to do what I do.

Anything new on the horizon for shoulder and elbow care?

One of the things I love about shoulder and elbow surgery are the continual advancements in surgical techniques and best practices so that we are always delivering the best care to patients. The design of shoulder replacement implants continues to evolve and I think the role of augmented and virtual reality in shoulder replacement is going to grow immensely in the next decade, with more personalized implants and surgical plans.

What is the best advice you ever received? 

One of my mentors always used to tell me that you can learn something from everything you do and everyone you meet and I try to take that attitude in all aspects of my life.

What is your favorite thing to do outside of work? 

Try out new restaurants with my friends and family – and I am always looking for new suggestions!

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

I would like to be a food scientist and chemical engineer and help create new flavors of all my favorite snack foods!

Anything else you would like to share?

I have a dog and a cat (Charlie and Rayna).

I love to travel! Our next trip is to Santa Fe – the desert is one of my favorite places to visit.

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