February 15, 2002

Kregor named orthopaedic trauma chief

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Dr. Philip Kregor, a graduate of VUSM, has been recruited as the new Director of Orthopaedic Trauma in the Department of Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation. (photo by Dana Johnson)

Kregor named orthopaedic trauma chief

Dr. Philip J. Kregor has been recruited as associate professor and the new Director of Orthopaedic Trauma in the Department of Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation. Kregor assumed the position on Jan. 1.

“I’m extremely honored and delighted to be here,” said Kregor, who graduated from Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in 1988. “Vanderbilt is such a strong institution with so many excellent students and faculty. It’s nice to be back.”

“I’m ecstatic that he’s here,” said Dr. Dan M. Spengler, professor and chair of Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation. “Phil is extremely talented and has established himself in the field of orthopaedics. He’s committed to finding new and better ways to restore normal function in patients through clinical trials. Phil really brings the research dimension of orthopaedic trauma to Vanderbilt.”

Kregor has several directives from Spengler to further strengthen the division’s academic and clinical programs. “We’re working to become a state-of-the-art center for orthopaedic trauma,” Kregor said. “Our orthopaedics department already has an excellent national reputation. The next step is to further develop our clinical and basic research programs in orthopaedic trauma. We want to make Vanderbilt one of the top 10 programs in the country. Dean Gabbe and Dr. Spengler are committed to that vision”

Kregor’s future vision includes developing a five-faculty member team dedicated to the study and practice of orthopaedic trauma. A Clinical Research Center in Orthopaedic Trauma is already in the works as part of the new Musculoskeletal Institute at Vanderbilt, set to open in 2003. The center will investigate long-term outcomes in the patient sustaining significant musculoskeletal trauma. In addition, a research director will be recruited to head up projects that study patient functional outcomes. Kregor also wants to bring two orthopaedic fellows to Vanderbilt each year to study orthopaedic trauma.

In his endeavors, Kregor plans to collaborate with other programs at Vanderbilt, especially the Department of Medicine’s Center for Health Services Research headed by Dr. Robert S. Dittus, Joe and Morris Werthan Professor of Investigative Medicine.

“Bob has done such a great job here in organizing research based on patient outcomes,” Kregor said. “I’m very excited about his presence here at Vanderbilt. He is a huge asset. I hope to work together on studies that will answer today’s most important clinical questions in orthopaedic trauma.”

A member of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS), Kregor has a special interest in acetabular fractures, where the pelvic bone is fractured at the hip joint. “Repairing acetabular fractures is truly a high-stakes operation. It has become my clinical passion,” Kregor said.

“When it comes to these types of surgeries, there is a very low tolerance for imperfection. Adjustments of a single millimeter often mean the difference between a poor outcome and a patient who can regain nearly normal joint function. This type of surgery is extremely demanding and requires detailed planning before each procedure. The discipline required and the potential for good outcomes is what drew me to this field.”

Along the way, Kregor has had several role models including Dr. Neil Green, director of Pediatric Orthopaedics and vice chair of Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation, and Dr. Marc F. Swiontkowski, former chief of the Orthopaedic Trauma division at Vanderbilt from 1985 to 1988. Both faculty members opened Kregor to the world of orthopaedics when he was a Vanderbilt medical student.

Kregor received a B.S. degree in chemical engineering from the University of Kentucky in 1984 and graduated with his M.D. degree from Vanderbilt in 1988 as a member of Alpha Omega Alpha. Kregor went on to complete his surgical internship at Duke University and did his residency in orthopaedic surgery at the University of Washington in Seattle.

From 1993 to 1994, Kregor was awarded a one-year NIH research fellowship studying bone microcirculation at the A.O. Research Institute in Davos, Switzerland. He then spent 15 months as an AAOS Traveling Fellow in Pelvic and Acetabular Trauma, during which he visited eight major trauma centers. Kregor also had the opportunity to study under Drs. Joel Matta, Jeff Mast, and Keith Mayo—former pupils of French surgeon Emile Letournel, who is considered the “father of acetabular surgery.”

In 1995, Kregor joined the faculty of the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson as assistant professor in Orthopaedic Traumatology.

Kregor has authored or co-authored 18 publications involving his clinical interests, which include pelvic and acetabular fractures, the multiply injured patient, distal femur and tibial fractures, nonunion surgery, and hip joint preservation surgery.