Interview: Dr. Sagar Desai


July 25, 2018

Tell us a little about yourself!

I am an Orthopaedic Surgeon with subspecialty training in Trauma as well as Foot and Ankle.  I have been at Humber River Hospital for 3 years. One of the procedures I have specialty training in is called Total Ankle Replacement.

Dr. Sagar Desai Patient

“The best part of my job is when I see my patients at their follow up appointment, and they’re happy because their pain is gone and they’re back to living their normal lives.”

How would you explain Total Ankle Replacement to a friend?

Your ankle joint involves two bones: the talus and the tibia. When the cartilage breaks down, we replace the joint with 2 metal pieces and 1 plastic piece that acts as replacement cartilage between the two bones. Historically, the alternative to this has been an ankle fusion, but that means the patient will no longer be able to flex and extend their foot.

Total Ankle Replacement is more technically difficult, but it is life-changing for our patients. I’ve been blown away by how well they’re doing.

What is the best part about your work?

When I see my patients at their follow up appointment, and they’re happy because their pain is gone and they’re back to living their normal lives. It’s an amazing feeling. It always reminds me why I do my job.

What is it about Humber River Hospital that makes it ideal for innovative surgeries like Total Ankle Replacement?

At Humber River Hospital we really believe in innovation, progressing science, and creating a total surgical experience (including STERIS, the Family Presence Program, and the Child Life Program for the kids).

Our Hospital encourages pushing the envelope for better patient outcomes.

What is your favourite technology at Humber?

From a surgical perspective, STERIS RealView. It allows families to keep track of their loved ones throughout their surgical journey. It gives them the chance to feel connected during a time when they might otherwise feel like they have no control.

What inspires you?

I get my inspiration from people who are committed and dedicated to their work. Some of them are my surgical mentors, and I’ve also learned a lot from professional athletes. Years ago, I heard that Kobe Bryant would get up at 3am to train. I’m a big basketball fan so that really made an impression on me. I am really inspired by other people’s work ethic, and have always felt that I could learn from it and apply it in my own field.

What is one awesome thing you’ve done in the last year?

This was over a year ago now, but in 2016 I got to live my dream of experiencing an NBA All-Star Game when it was held in Toronto! That was definitely on my bucket list and it was Kobe Bryant’s last All-Star Game, so it was unbelievable to be part of.