A fellowship-trained knee and hip replacement surgeon brings extensive experience to the Lowcountry

by DANA W. TODD / photography by HOLGER OBENAUS

Choosing a surgeon can be a daunting task for a patient who is already facing daily medical challenges and chronic pain. Those whose challenges involve joint issues, such as hip or knee pain, will be pleased to learn that Dr. Dustin Hambright of South Carolina Sports Medicine & Orthopaedic Center receives high praise and five-star ratings from his patients.

Patients writing reviews on Healthgrades give especially high marks for Hambright’s bedside manner, high level of care and his listening ability. “I treat my patients as if they are my own family members,” says Hambright. “I devote myself to my patients’ health and well-being. Together we form a team that strives toward focused goals, improving quality of life, alleviating pain and getting patients back to the activities they enjoy.”

A former rugby player himself, Hambright understands how difficult it is to be sidelined by an injury. Marathoner Jay Velasco, a recent knee replacement patient, says: “Dr. Hambright is a straightforward guy. We talked about my goal to run again, and he understood how important that was to me. He focused on what we could do and not what I couldn’t do.” Nine months after his surgery, Velasco ran another marathon.

Hambright is an orthopedic surgeon specializing in hip and knee joint reconstruction and replacement. He works with a team to provide the highest levels of care for his patients, whether they need nonoperative care, such as steroid injections, viscosupplementation injections, physical therapy, anti-inflammatories, assistive devices and braces, or partial or total replacements due to arthritis or injury, or revision replacements. “Whether you are a professional athlete or a grandparent with arthritis, joint pain can be debilitating and life-altering. Often, it’s the pain and immobility that prompt patients to seek treatment,” says Hambright. “At SC Sports Medicine, joint replacement is intended to greatly reduce that pain—often alleviating it entirely—and restore mobility to the affected area.”

Hambright reports that hip and knee replacements are well-known surgeries with excellent success rates. A recent patient says: “Dr. Hambright looked at my X-ray and recognized that no amount of physical therapy would help me. Three weeks later, he replaced my hip. One year later, I am nearly 100%.”

“Currently, robotic hip and knee replacements are the cutting-edge of replacement technology,” Hambright says. “Our team utilizes both image guidance and robotic assistance during surgery for many hip and knee replacements. Image guidance and robotics help optimize component placement. I use it as a tool to provide unmatched accuracy and precision. It is specifically helpful in patients with complex anatomy. Robotics is utilized when standard instrumentation is too difficult or unable to be used.”

Hambright’s roster of accomplishments makes him highly sought out in the Lowcountry. As a fellowship-trained surgeon, he has spent extra time and received extensive training in hip and knee replacement procedures. This training provides him with exposure to a wide range of cases and makes him an expert in his sub-specialty. His medical education at top-ranked universities such as Stanford, Duke, Harvard and Washington University provides him a range of both general medical and specialty joint replacement knowledge. He enjoys the engineering and handiwork of the classic method of hip and knee replacements but also stays at the forefront of his field in robotics, and he is well versed and well trained in both methods in order to complete a replacement under most circumstances. In recognition, HealthLinks Charleston magazine’s readers voted him 2022’s Best Surgeon.

While volunteering as a health educator in Tanzania, Hambright spent time at the local hospital and saw medicine’s life-changing power, which changed his course in life. When he saw his first total knee replacement in medical school, he knew orthopedics was his calling. He also credits his early family life with helping him with his profession today. “I was inspired to go into orthopedics, and specifically hip, knee and joint replacement, because of my family background in manual labor and carpentry,” he says. “I grew up working on cars and building all kinds of things with my brothers and my dad. I feel like orthopedics goes hand in hand with that. You start getting your surgical hands at an early age turning a screwdriver and hammering nails as a kid.”

It is Hambright’s care for his patients that makes him a well-rounded surgeon. “I concentrate on helping patients regain their quality of life,” he says. “I do nonoperative work first and only perform surgery when it is the best option for my patients. I always ask: Does this affect quality of life? Does it limit daily activities? Does it limit enjoyable activities? Before surgery, the answer must be yes to all of these. After surgery, nothing is more rewarding than seeing patients walk into the clinic with their quality of life back, performing tasks with ease around the house and getting back to doing activities they enjoy.”

Dana W. Todd is a professional writer and public relations consultant.

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