Talking to Kids About Surgery

Dr. Eduardo Novais with patient Whitney Hovater

The Orthopedics Institute at Children's Colorado breeds innovation by encouraging faculty and staff to bring forth new ideas. As a result, in 2012, the Orthopedics Institute launched its Movement Innovations Labs, where it created a cloud-based computer program that patients can take home to practice physical therapy.

Eduardo Novais, M.D., draws on the dry-erase model of a pelvis, showing where he will cut during surgery.

His patient takes the marker, draws a line, and asks why Dr. Novais won't cut here. Dr. Novais turns the pelvis and shows how it would interfere with essential hip functions.

If you're a young surgeon, it is not always easy to lend a voice to the way things are done; it often takes years to become a leader.

But now, Dr. Novais, a promising hip surgeon who has published 20 peer-reviewed papers in just five years, is making his voice heard as the Director of the Child and Young Adult Hip Program in Children's Colorado's Orthopedics Institute.

He graduated from medical school in Brazil, and completed his residency there. All the while he read American medical journals and dreamt of training with a world-class hip surgeon. With steadfast determination, he created his own American training program that included institutions from Memphis to Salt Lake City, from the Mayo Clinic to Boston Children's Hospital.

He is changing the way patients receive information. Dr. Novais makes sure he sees every patient for a pre-op appointment so he can talk through the procedure. He enlists illustrators to help patients understand what is happening within their bodies.

"Patients need and seek information," Dr. Novais said. "I take this very seriously. I'm usually dealing with people's kids and I think they deserve to be prepared."

"We want to give surgeons like Eduardo opportunities," said Mike Kimbel, Service Line Administrator of the Orthopedics Institute. "He's brilliant and he's the future."

VIDEO: See how Children's Colorado touched lives in 2012