Esther D. Yoon, MD, a fellowship-trained pain management specialist with expertise in spinal injections, spinal cord stimulation trials, and other procedures to effectively treat back and neck pain, has joined the Denver spine specialists at Neurosurgery One. Dr. Yoon is now seeing patients in our Parker, Colo., offices at 9403 Crown Crest Blvd., Suite 200. Dr. Yoon joins us after recently completing a fellowship in interventional spine and musculoskeletal medicine at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. Fellowships, which are completed after internships and residency, give physicians specialized training in specific subspecialties.
Prior to Dr. Yoon starting with Neurosurgery One, we had a chance to sit down with her for a Q&A session. Here’s a little bit about Dr. Yoon and her experience as a back and neck pain management specialist.
What types of conditions do pain management specialists like yourself treat?
As a physiatrist, I treat a lot of different types of spine and musculoskeletal conditions, including general back and neck pain, joint pain, and sports injuries. Specifically, I diagnose and treat spinal stenosis, arthritis, tendon injuries, and damaged or pinched nerves.
When should I see a pain management specialist versus a spine surgeon?
One of the reasons I joined Neurosurgery One is because patients have access to spine surgeons and nonsurgical providers here. Physiatrists like myself are a good place to start when it comes to back, neck, and joint pain. We can diagnose and recommend nonsurgical treatments that might treat your pain without surgery or could help delay surgery. Some pain management techniques, such as spinal injections, will likely be required prior to surgery anyway so we’re a good place to start.
What types of pain management treatments do you provide?
I specialize in interventional spine and musculoskeletal medicine, which includes spinal injection therapy, nerve blocks, nerve ablations, kyphoplasty/vertebroplasty, and spinal cord stimulator trials in patients looking to delay or avoid surgery. I also perform electrodiagnostic studies (EMG/NCS) to diagnose nerve damage.
Where did you train to become a pain management specialist?
After graduating from the University of Michigan with a bachelor’s degree in neuroscience, I attended Temple University School of Medicine in Philadelphia. I stayed at Temple for my internship and residency, and then I moved to Dallas for a fellowship in interventional spine and musculoskeletal medicine at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.
What are your special interests?
Ultrasound-guided injections are of special interest to me. Many physicians use landmark guidance, which is essentially feeling around for different structures through the skin, to determine where to place an injection. I find that by using ultrasound-guidance, I am able to better visualize different muscles, tendons, and nerves in a way that lets me deliver injected medication to the exact location it’s needed. It’s a more directed technique that’s more accurate since we’re not guessing. I am also interested in fluoroscopy-guided spinal procedures where I use an X-ray machine to guide injections and procedures into the spine for management of patient’s back and neck pain.
Why did you decide to join Neurosurgery One?
What I really like about the practice is its multidisciplinary approach to patient care. There’s a lot of collaboration amongst the surgical and nonsurgical providers with the goal of providing the best patient-centered care possible to the community. That resonated with me.
What is your patient care philosophy?
I definitely take a more holistic approach when it comes to treating patients. I really emphasize proper biomechanics in a person’s movement and how even the smallest deviations can lead to injury or pathology. So, correcting biomechanics is a key component in the rehabilitation plans I develop for my patients.
Also, I consider patients part of their care team. Therefore, treatment is not something I do to them but rather with them. We work together closely to find solutions that will provide the best long-term pain relief for their lifestyle.
How do you spend your free time?
My husband and I really like outdoor activities—mountain biking, hiking, skiing, and snowboarding. I also play the guitar and piano, and I like to write music. Next up on our list is to adopt a puppy to add to our family.
If you would like to schedule an appointment with Dr. Yoon in the Neurosurgery One Parker office, please complete the form below or call 720.638.7500.