Hand surgeon got first taste of orthopedics with her own broken ankle

As a Norton Louisville Arm & Hand surgeon, Lauren M. Fader, M.D., enjoys the wide range of patients she gets to see: from a child whose fingers have been closed in a door, to an athlete with an elbow injury, to an octogenarian with arthritis.

As a Norton Louisville Arm & Hand surgeon, Lauren M. Fader, M.D., enjoys the wide range of patients she gets to see: from a child whose fingers have been closed in a door, to an athlete with an elbow injury, to an octogenarian with arthritis.

I love the variety,” Dr. Fader said. “I try to approach every patient with the thought in mind — everybody is here for a reason. They’re trying to get back to something.”

According to Dr. Fader, the practice sees a lot of wrist and hand fractures, elbow injuries, nerve compression injuries — such as cubital tunnel and carpal tunnel syndrome — and arthritis.

“In many cases, we start with conservative treatments like bracing and splints, therapy and in-office injections for the hand, wrist and elbow,” Dr. Fader said. “I enjoy surgery. I went into orthopedics to do surgery, but there are often so many things we can try before getting to the point of surgery.”

For example, patients with joint pain from arthritis can receive nonsurgical treatments including anti-inflammatory medications, braces, physical therapy and steroid injections. If the pain persists, Dr. Fader goes through a stepwise approach before recommending surgery.

In addition to surgery for fractures, Dr. Fader does tendon and ligament repairs/reconstruction, nerve decompression, arthroscopy, fusion procedures and joint replacements for the hand, wrist and elbow.

“Joint replacements in the upper extremities aren’t as common as knee replacements and hip replacements, but they are effective in the right patients,” Dr. Fader said.

Dr. Fader also enjoys the very fine motor skills needed to perform microsurgery on the hand.

“We typically use magnification with loupes or a microscope because the structures are so small. The anatomy is fascinating,” she said.

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From an ankle fracture to becoming a surgeon

Growing up in Cincinnati, Ohio, Dr. Fader had a first taste of orthopedics as a high school soccer player with an ankle fracture. She didn’t need surgery, but she was introduced to an orthopedist and to the field.

“I didn’t know anything about orthopedics before that. That was sort of a gateway,” said Dr. Fader, who would wind up shadowing the orthopedist in clinic and the operating room. “He became a mentor to me. I thought that was really, really cool what he did and decided that was what I wanted to do.”

Dr. Fader played Division I college soccer at Iowa State University in Ames before attending medical school at the University of Cincinnati. From the start, she wanted to go into orthopedics. In medical school, she did research with an orthopedic surgeon who exposed Dr. Fader to hand surgery.

Dr. Fader matched at the University of Louisville for her orthopedics residency and completed a hand and upper extremity fellowship at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville.

“During residency, I worked with a lot of great surgeons who are now my partners,” Dr. Fader said. “They’re amazing surgeons, and they’re also really good people.”

For fun, Dr. Fader and her husband, Shane Kibbe, M.D., also an orthopedic surgeon, like spending time outdoors with their dog. She also enjoys running and travel and is an enthusiastic sports fan.

Dr. Fader joined Norton Louisville Arm & Hand in September 2021.

“I’m excited to be here. This is where I want to be, working with the people who were my mentors and played a big role in my training,” she said.


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