Hi, I’m Dr. Tom Dovan, one of the orthopedic surgeons here at Elite Sports Medicine + Orthopedics. My specialty is hand and upper extremity, which includes injuries and conditions of the shoulder all the way down to the hand.
I am originally from New Jersey. I went to medical school at Emory University in Atlanta following which I trained in Nashville at Vanderbilt University. Upon completing my residency, I pursued a fellowship in hand and upper extremity at Washington University in St. Louis.
After completing my education, I joined Elite Sports Medicine + Orthopedics in 2007.
Why Did You Decide to Become an Orthopedic Surgeon?
I went into medicine because I felt I could make a difference in people’s lives. I was originally an electrical engineer, which I enjoyed, but I believed medicine was my true calling.
In medical school, there are a lot of different options. Orthopedics was the specialty that really interested me, I think probably because of my engineering background.
What Does Being an Orthopedic Doctor Mean to You?
Orthopedic doctors take care of the body as a whole. Often, we view orthopedics mechanically as joints, muscles, nerves, and tendons, but it really is the entire body we are caring for.
At Elite, we take care of a lot of athletes; but in our mind, sports medicine is life.
You come to us with a problem where you can’t do the things you love, and our job is to find a solution. That is what we really enjoy doing as orthopedic doctors – getting you back to your life, whether that be the football field or taking out the trash in the morning.
How Did You Become a Hand Doctor?
When you choose to become an orthopedic surgeon, you train in every facet of orthopedics.
As you finish your residency, you are presented with the option to subspecialize in a certain area of orthopedic surgery. Some orthopedists, like the ones at Elite, will choose to subspecialize as it allows us to gain expertise in a specific skillset.
I chose to become a hand doctor because of the vast array of problems it presents. I was intrigued by the intricacies of the tendons, nerves, joints, and muscles. I truly enjoy being a hand specialist.
What Types of Patients Do You See?
I see all sorts of patients. I can think of countless athletes, children that have hurt themselves on the playground, or even retired people that want to keep living their best life. Many of my patients just want to live a pain-free or lower pain lifestyle.
What Can You Expect Working with Dr. Dovan?
I view the patient experience as a unique opportunity for me to help somebody.
My patient got up in the morning, got dressed, and took the time to come see us.
We know they have a problem, and our job is to find a solution. By the time that patient leaves, they should feel comfortable knowing that what needed to be addressed has been addressed.
It is satisfying when you can make someone feel as though they have been listened to and then help them.
Is There a Success Story That Makes You Most Proud?
It is incredibly difficult to pick out a single success story, but there is one that does stand out to me.
A young lady came to see us following a playground injury. She broke her arm, and it healed - for a lack of a better term - crooked.
She is an accomplished ballerina, and what we learned is that you must be extremely symmetrical. When your arms go out, they need to be straight. Otherwise, you cannot progress in your field. She had huge potential to become a professional ballerina had it not been for what we call this arm deformity.
Upon seeing her, we used a company that dialed in a connection and allowed us to operate and straighten her arm. She is now on her way to becoming a professional ballerina.
Editors note: You can hear more about this story directly from the ballerina’s dad!
What Is the Most Rewarding Part of Your Job as a Hand Specialist?
The most rewarding part of my job is when a patient looks at you and says, “thank you”. That is what it is all about.
What Makes Elite Different from Other Orthopedic Clinics in Tennessee?
I chose Elite mainly because of the orthopedic specialists, the office staff, and the culture here. I knew that the other doctors would do as much as I would to help my patients.
As an orthopedic specialist, I choose to take care of the hand and upper extremity. If I have a patient that requires attention from another subspecialty, I can feel confident sending them to another orthopedic surgeon here. That’s why I chose Elite.
Dr. Thomas Dovan has been named a Castle Connolly Top Doctor several times, solidifying himself as one of the best hand doctors in Nashville, TN.
He has been treating hand pain and pain in the upper extremities with Elite Sports Medicine + Orthopedics since 2007. You can schedule appointment with Dr. Dovan or any of our other skilled orthopedic surgeons near you through the appointment request form or by clicking the “Call Us” button.
If you are experiencing pain in your hand, shoulder, elbow, wrist, or arm, you may need to schedule an appointment with a hand specialist near you.