Four of our physicians at Hand and Microsurgery Associates, Dr. Paul Cook, Dr. Raymond Kobus, Dr. Lawrence Lubbers and Dr. James Nappi are among the 2017 Top Doctors of Central Ohio.
Top Doctors in Columbus and Central Ohio
The Columbus Monthly magazine August 2018 issue provides the listing of more than 400 of Central Ohio’s most respected physicians in 61 different specialties. The following article from the magazine, includes interviews with each of our Top Doctors.
Most people with a hammer in their hand like to find a nail. We’re not like that,” says Dr. Raymond Kobus of Hand and Microsurgery Associates. And he’s right; he and his colleagues are better.
Dr. Lawrence Lubbers, who cofounded Hand and Micro, as it’s known, in 1987 with Dr. James Nappi, notes that many surgeons are too quick to jump to a surgical solution for a problem in the hand or upper extremity.
“From the very beginning, our practice has been totally focused on what’s right and what’s the best care for the patient,” he says. “A lot of times, that’s not surgery.” A variety of factors—the severity of the injury or affliction, the lifestyle of the patient and even the abundance of conservative treatment options like cortisone and steroid injections—can result in patients of Hand and Micro avoiding the scalpel temporarily or entirely.
“I think the real reason I became a hand surgeon is there’s a multiplicity of answers for almost every problem,” says Nappi. “So we spend a lot of time finding the correct, custom-tailored answer.”
Of course, when surgery is required, the doctors of Hand and Micro don’t hesitate to put their hard-earned skills to good use. The practice employs five microsurgeons—out of roughly 200 in the entire country—and is one of fewer than 100 centers in the nation recognized by the American Society for Surgery of the Hand as a replantation and traumatic hand treatment center, says Dr. Raymond Kobus.
Those boast-worthy accomplishments are by design, Lubbers says.
He and Nappi came up together in the world of hand and microsurgery, working together on massive reconstructions before realizing they had the opportunity to do something few, if any, other surgeons in their subspecialty had done before. Together, they established relationships with EMS and other first responders to create a network that alerts Hand and Micro first when a patient with massive hand trauma is en route to a Central Ohio emergency room. The microsurgeon on call at Hand and Micro coordinates with the receiving hospital to get the patient into surgery faster, often resulting in better outcomes.
“There’s no one else in Central Ohio that offers that kind of service,” notes Kobus.
Regardless of the affliction, be it simple carpal tunnel or a traumatic industrial machining accident, the doctors of Hand and Micro are laser-focused on finding the best solution for each individual. They achieve that by developing a personal relationship with each patient, says Dr. Paul Cook. “Every single patient that we touch, it’s like a marriage, almost,” he explains. “When the patient looks in your eyes and realizes that you’re in this process with them, it’s a very different relationship than if you’re in a process just to run them through the system.”
Another factor that sets Hand and Micro apart: the practice’s seamless continuity of care, from initial diagnosis through treatment and therapy, all of which—with the exception of major trauma—is performed in a single location. “We see patients post-operatively; I think that’s unique throughout the country,” says Lubbers.
“The way we do things, we’re constantly challenging each other to be better. We can get immediate second opinions amongst ourselves, so it’s easy to stay sharp and up-to-date,” he adds. “We really strive to be truly world-class. If it can be done anywhere in the world, we can probably do it.”