Knoxville Orthopaedic Clinic

Leading the Way to Spine Satisfaction

Rooted in personal experiences and a dedication to care, the doctors at Knoxville Orthopaedic Clinic are committed to spine work in ways that reach far beyond the norm

Bruce Fry can still recall the back issues that took him out of football when he was a teen. “I was 15, but they didn’t really know what it was,” he says. “At the time, there weren’t really great diagnostics to figure out what was going on.” He didn’t get the care he needed.

He would eventually spend hours researching how to rehab his back on his own. “It took me out of football for about a year and a half.” This experience eventually led him on a path to Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. “I always had kind of that interest in musculoskeletal medicine,” he says. “And with my background having back pain and not much help at the time, I think I just found my way to spine.”

Today, Dr. Bruce Fry serves the community as a physiatrist at Knoxville Orthopaedic Clinic, helping patients—some reminiscent of himself as a teen—get the nonsurgical care they need for their spinal issues.

2023 Cityview Magazine, Inc. Knoxville Orthopaedic Clinic | Nathan Sparks

Down the hall from Dr. Fry is spine surgeon Paul Johnson. Similar to his colleague, Dr. Johnson experienced a life-changing injury as a teen—a dislocated shoulder and torn rotator cuff—that eventually led him to the field of medicine. “I was the kid in high school who would do everything he wanted to do and then all of a sudden, I couldn’t even wash my hair because I couldn’t lift my dominant arm over my head,” he recalls.

Unlike Dr. Fry, Dr. Johnson did find the help he needed. The shoulder reconstruction he underwent during high school involved a long recovery. But it also laid the groundwork for his future. “I was so impressed with the man who fixed me,” he says. “Fast forward to finally going back to the weight room and finally getting back into it, and I said, ‘I want to do what that guy did. He was a badass.’ And I went to college with that in mind.”

These are the stories that rest at the heart of Knoxville Orthopaedic Clinic’s spine team. Doctors, many grounded in their own experiences of surgery and rehabilitation, others rooted in a deep appreciation for hiking, sports, and a commitment to wellness, work daily to help members of the community tackle challenges with their back and neck. All of this is done in an effort to help their neighbors live life to the fullest.

Take William Lambert, for example, who originally came to KOC with pain between his shoulder blade and spine. “I didn’t know what to do about it,” Lambert says. So he worked with Dr. Kimbro Maguire, senior spine surgeon at KOC, who found and treated what turned out to be a herniated disc. Lambert would end up being a “frequent flyer,” as he calls it, of both Dr. Maguire and Dr. Fry over the years, undergoing first successful nonoperative treatments, and then later operative treatments for various problems of his spine. “Those two doctors have helped me a great deal because you can’t do a whole lot when you’re in terrific pain all the time,” Lambert says. “When they’re able to find the problems…that makes a big difference.”

2023 Cityview Magazine, Inc. Knoxville Orthopaedic Clinic | Nathan Sparks

That’s what the spine team at KOC does for patients. They care from start to finish, finding the root causes of spinal issues. “The majority of people with back problems and neck problems don’t need surgery,” says Dr. Maguire. “In general, surgery should always be a last resort.” There are a host of conservative treatments that doctors explore with patients prior to surgery, utilizing on-site MRIs, physical therapy, and interventional spine injections, most of which can be done in-office at two KOC locations. 

“All of us know that most people deserve the opportunity to be treated non-surgically,” Dr. Johnson says, “with the expectation that the majority of patients are going to get better with nonsurgical management.” And for those times when surgery is necessary, KOC’s team is at the ready. “Spine surgeons basically do one of three things,” Dr. Maguire says. “They either decompress something, or they fuse something or they do a combination of the two.” 

Locations in Weisgarber, West Knoxville, North Knoxville,
Oak Ridge, Jefferson City, and Roane | (865) 558-4400

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