Your spine is an incredibly important structure that supports your entire body. But when its health is compromised, it can have far-reaching effects on your overall well-being, limiting mobility and leaving you in chronic pain. If you’re experiencing spinal discomfort, finding an experienced, empathetic clinician is a must.
Fortunately, those in the crossroads of Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah have Spine Colorado. For more than 20 years, they’ve been the trusted provider for orthopedic spine care in the Four Corners region. Their dedicated team of medical practitioners prides themselves on using an evidence-based approach, conservative care, and advanced techniques to positively impact the lives of their clients.
One of those dedicated professionals is orthopedic surgeon Dr. Ryan Martyn. He works tirelessly to improve the lives of his patients at Spine Colorado, bringing experience and passion to his work in and out of the operating room.
A Journey Driven by Service
Dr. Martyn joined Spine Colorado in 2021, offering years of experience in orthopedic surgery to the practice. He specializes in minimally invasive spinal surgery, handling adult-degenerative spine work, treatment for deformities like scoliosis, and more. To put it simply, “I handle everything from the neck to the back,” he says.
A military veteran, he was drawn to treating musculoskeletal injuries because of his experiences serving in Iraq. “I was raised as a pastor's kid, but I ended up joining the military when I was 17,” he says, “I joined the Navy as an explosive ordnance technician, so if you’ve seen Hurt Locker, you have a little glimpse into my life.”
Because of his time in the armed forces, he felt called to attend medical school at the University of Colorado after his service, eventually pursuing surgical orthopedics. “I really was drawn to the acuity and the seriousness of spine surgery and the impact that can have on people's lives,” he says, “it was a perfect fit for me.”
To further expand his skills, he sought specialized training after medical school. He attended the Geisinger Medical Center for Orthopedic Surgery, receiving a significant amount of experience in traditional open deformity and trauma-type surgery. He then spent a year at the Spine Institute of Arizona, expanding his knowledge of minimally invasive techniques and microsurgery.
With such a broad and solid foundation in orthopedics, Dr Martyn found Spine Colorado to be the perfect fit for his talents. “It has really prepared me for a community practice like Spine Colorado where we see the whole gamut of pathology,” he says.
Comprehensive Care, Patient-Centric Approach
When treating clients at Spine Colorado, Dr. Martyn brings a patient-centric approach to care that approaches their problems comprehensively. Each patient is unique, and their individual experiences, perspectives, and goals guide the decisions and treatments he offers.
He begins his evaluations by looking at three key factors: what patients feel, what he finds in the examination, and what the MRI and X-rays show. Based on those findings, he assesses the proper course. “If the patient's history, physical exam, and imaging all line up, that's a recipe for success,” he says.
From there, Dr. Martyn collaborates with the Spine Colorado team to create a treatment plan tailored to each patient, stressing non-operative approaches over surgery for a majority of cases. “We always strive for non-operative interventions because we can get the majority of symptoms under control without surgery,” he says, “we really pride ourselves at Spine Colorado with exhausting all non-operative interventions before we talk about surgery.”
Client care is often a group effort for Dr. Martyn and the team at Spine Colorado. Sometimes, this means working hand-in-hand with their in-house pm&r physicians to treat with injections or medication for pain management, if that's warranted. For other cases, they work closely with local physical therapists in the community. “And a lot of times, that's all people will need,” he says.
But sometimes non-operative intervention isn’t the best course of action for Dr. Martyn’s patients. For certain conditions or severe symptoms, orthopedic surgery may be the most effective approach to treatment.
Cutting-Edge Surgical Techniques
When an operative intervention is the best course of action, Dr. Martyn relies on minimally invasive surgery and microsurgery to treat patients. Contrary to traditional surgery, these methods use small incisions and advanced medical technology to open just the surface area that he needs to work.
In the past, traditional open surgery was the only option available to orthopedic patients. “With traditional open surgery,” Dr. Martyn says, “you're exposing the back, you're exposing the bone, it's a lot of soft tissue disruption.” This led to larger openings and more collateral damage, often prolonging recuperation times.
Instead, Dr. Martyn uses minimally invasive surgery that relies on anatomical landmarks, X-rays, and specialized retractors and microscopes to achieve the same goals as traditional open surgery with a smaller footprint. This reduces trauma to surrounding tissues, often giving patients decreased postoperative pain and better cosmetic outcomes.
Plus, minimally invasive surgery allows patients to get back to doing what they love quicker. “It translates to faster recovery, less blood loss, and being able to do things in an outpatient setting that otherwise would have to be done with an overnight stay,” Dr. Martyn explains.
Compassionate Treatment, Positive Outcomes
In addition to being the most advanced around, Dr. Martyn’s treatments have a transformative effect on his patients’ lives.
As Spine Colorado deals with many of the most complex cases in the area, patients often come to the practice with severe spinal issues, some even losing basic motor functions. Dr. Martyn frequently encounters myelopathy, where an individual has serious compression on their cervical spine. He also frequently sees debilitating diseases that hinder patients’ ability to walk or use their hands.
Through surgery, Dr. Martyn is able to restore their quality of life and give them the ability to perform the everyday tasks that others take for granted. “It's very satisfying to be able to help these folks surgically regain some of their function, where maybe they couldn't walk before and now they're able to walk.”
Inspired by Innovation and Research
To treat patients effectively, Dr. Martyn and the team at Spine Colorado keep up with the latest advancements in the orthopedic industry to provide the best possible care in all cases, regardless of severity. Whether collaborating with companies on product development or contributing to the growing body of orthopedic research, the team is always advancing.
Staying on top of new, cutting-edge technology makes the biggest difference for Dr. Martyn in the operating room. With specialized retractor systems, he’s able to put his instrumentation through increasingly smaller incisions. This minimizes soft tissue disruption, ultimately leading to better outcomes and improved healing.
In addition to the retractor systems, he’s also utilizing technology that increases his visibility and accuracy once inside. “A lot of the new technology we have,” Dr Martyn explains, “besides the new tractor systems, include navigation-type systems where we don't have to use traditional fluoroscopy and X-rays in the operating room.” This helps increase the speed and detail of the imagery he uses to work in orthopedic surgery.
Dr. Martyn and the Spine Colorado team are also involved with clinical trials and contribute to the growing body of research in the orthopedic field. They participate in quarterly journal clubs with the providers where they study and review the most current literature. Dr Martyn also conducts his own research and collaborates routinely with the national spine industry as a whole.
Invested in Durango
Outside of the office, Dr. Martyn is deeply rooted in Colorado and its natural wilderness. “It's always been a dream of mine to call Durango home,” he says, “I couldn't be happier living here.”
The area has always been a home base for the orthopedic surgeon. His father worked as a pastor in the area during Dr. Martyn’s time in the service. He remembers that “everywhere I was in the world, I'd always come back to Durango, Colorado.”
Naturally, Dr. Martyn’s passion for the outdoors matches his passion for his patients. He spends his weekends exploring the surrounding mountains and trails with his family. “We're always in the high country: mountain biking, skiing, fishing, or all three, depending on the time of the year,” he says,“but fishing and mountain biking are our go-tos.”
Constructive, Effective Orthopedic Solutions
It’s important to Dr. Martyn that his patients know that they’re not alone in their pain and discomfort. “I always tell people that back pain is just a part of walking on two feet, it's part of the human condition,” he says, “so everyone's going to get back pain and it doesn't necessarily mean we need to do something serious, certainly not surgical.”
Through comprehensive treatment, expertise in the field, and patient-centric care, Dr. Martyn creates positive outcomes for patients that improve their quality of life. Whether a non-operative or surgical approach is the best path forward, his patients know that they’re getting the best possible treatment for their unique situation.
Call the team at Spine Colorado to book an appointment with Dr Martyn.