When Alec Denes talks about his decision to become a doctor, he mentions a certain feeling that pushed him. “It was that feeling that every day would present new challenges and a new opportunity to help someone,” he says.
He got that and more on Sept. 11, 2001 in New York City. While in his orthopedic residency at the hospital closest to the Twin Towers, he worked on the front lines for three days straight, caring for victims and rescue personnel of that unforgettable disaster.
From there, Dr. Denes got a change in scenery at a sports medicine fellowship in the ski town of Mammoth Lakes, Calif., where he treated an active population of all ages, and even worked with the Olympic marathon runners of Running USA. He learned to approach surgery like a detailed craftsman, to integrate the latest medical advances, while always respecting the individual needs of each patient.
Today Dr. Denes helps patients in a variety of areas, ranging from athletic injuries and fractures, to arthritis and other degenerative conditions. As a physician for the U.S. Ski Team since 2007, he travels with and treats world-class athletes on a regular basis.
He has special training in arthroscopic surgery and shoulder, hip and knee replacements. At the forefront of hip preservation surgery, he is one of few doctors in the region performing arthroscopic hip surgery, as well as anterior approach total hip replacements. This experience allows him to offer more treatment options to active patients with hip pain and arthritis.
“I listen to every patient's story, and try to understand their lifestyle to come up with a treatment plan that works best for them,” he says.
And when it works, that’s when he knows he made the right career choice. “The most rewarding part of my job,” he says, “is hearing someone say, ‘You gave me my life back.’”
More about Dr. Denes
Favorite movie: Miracle.
Favorite book: The Alchemist.
Why I live in Portland: Urban living close to the mountains.
What I do to relax: Yoga.
My favorite sports moment: My St. Louis Cardinals in Game 6 of the 2011 World Series.
The worst injury I ever suffered: Ankle fracture.
When I’m not at work: I’m probably running, cycling, or with my family.
Best music to work out to: Beastie Boys.
I’d be lost without: My wife and son.
Best advice I ever got: Don't be sorry, be perfect.