Faculty Spotlight – Tyson Boettcher

Clinical Instructor

Comprehensive Orthopaedics

Northern BC – University Hospital of Northern British Columbia (UHNBC)

Meet UBC Orthopaedics Clinical Instructor, Dr. Tyson Boettcher, a dedicated orthopaedic surgeon whose journey from the rugged landscapes of Northern BC to the world of comprehensive orthopaedics reflects a deep commitment to patient care and community well-being. Learn more about Dr. Boettcher’s remarkable path, his vision for improving healthcare access, and the adventures that await him beyond the operating room.

Can you share a little bit about your educational background and journey, and how you got to where you are today?

I’m originally from Northern BC and was born and raised in Fort St. John. The majority of my family worked in the oil and gas industry and I began my working career at an industrial telecommunications company. I was working in nearly -50-degree Celsius temperatures, when I thought more seriously about pursuing further studies. My undergraduate education brought me to the Okanagan, where I completed a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry, followed by a Masters of Management at the University of British Columbia (Okanagan campus).

During my time in the Okanagan, I met my wife to be. Fortunately, I was accepted to UBC’s Northern Medical Program following my time in Kelowna and we moved north together to Prince George. She was beginning her BSc in Nursing and I began my path in medicine. The decision to apply to orthopaedic surgery in residency was fostered by an exceptional experience with the Division of Orthopaedics in Prince George during my elective with them. Hands-on, first assist experience coupled with their commitment to teaching and encouragement solidified my decision to apply to orthopaedic surgery residency, which I completed at the University of Alberta, in Edmonton from 2016 to 2021.

Fellowship brought me back to BC once again with the UBC Adult Hip and Knee Reconstruction group. My year in Vancouver was challenging and rewarding with a high volume of complex primary and revision arthroplasty cases supported through endless mentorship by an extremely talented faculty group. Following fellowship, I was feeling prepared to begin my career and again, I was drawn north by the same supportive group that were a major contributor in my decision to pursue orthopaedics in the first place. This past year has continued to provide challenges, but also many successes, on both a personal and professional level. Most importantly, I feel fortunate to provide care to the northern half way of the province, where I was trained and grew up.

What inspired you to work in orthopaedics, specifically in comprehensive orthopaedics?

My experiences as a medical student, while both on my core rotation and an elective with the University Hospital of Northern British Columbia (UHNBC) orthopaedic group, clearly demonstrated the often-immediate positive impact an orthopaedic surgeon can have on a patient. Whether fixing a fracture or replacing an arthritic joint, patients were frequently relieved of their acute pain and able to benefit from their intervention early on during the post-operative course. The impact on quality of life and mobility was evident even at short term follow up. Subspecialized care is sorely needed in Northern Health, as it is in all health regions, but access to care can be especially difficult in the wide spread geography of Northern BC. Bringing back not only fellowship training in complex primary and revision hip and knee arthroplasty, but also experience in all areas of orthopaedics, is extremely important to help bridge the access gaps that many of our patients endure. My residency experience with the University of Alberta provided me with an exceptional high-volume exposure to comprehensive orthopaedic surgery, which has continued to help me throughout my first year in Prince George, where the pathology is endless!

What impact would you like to see your work have on patients, communities and society at large?

By returning to Northern BC, I want to provide long-term orthopaedic care, while minimizing access and travel issues for patients from our health region. Also, as the youngest member of my division, I want to continue to support and grow the Division of Orthopaedic Surgery at UHNBC. The current members have had a major role in the development and training of myself not only as surgeon, but as a person, and I aim to provide the same kind of support and mentorship to trainees and potential future colleagues for years to come. A cohesive group of invested clinicians will translate to the best patient outcomes.

What excites you most about your work? What are you most proud of?

I am most excited helping patients through complex problems. On a personal level, working through complex pathology, from initial consultation to post-operative follow up, is challenging, interesting, and rewarding. Most importantly though, is sharing the experience with my patients when they are able to enjoy a positive outcome, when they are able to return to activity after an injury or debilitating arthritis.

I am most proud of providing orthopaedic care to patients from Northern BC, minimizing their travel and allowing them to advance through their medical journey closer to home, often with close proximity to their support network.

What is one piece of advice that you’d like to give to current trainees?

Training is busy and difficult with a high volume of patients with complex issues, but always remember that no matter how many times you have seen certain pathology, the experience of each patient is unique and individually challenging to them. Every broken ankle or arthritic hip is attached to an individual and reminding yourself of that will help you remain empathetic.

When you’re not working, where can we find you?

When I’m not working, you will find me adventuring with my family. My wife and I have a growing family, currently with 2 sons and expecting our third child this fall. We also have two dogs. We frequently explore our surrounding areas, going hiking, mountain biking, kayaking, fishing, and camping! We also have family that live in the city and they commonly come along for the adventures!

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