Kenneth W. Jee, MD

Dr. Kenneth Jee is the “generalist” on the staff of Tanner Clinic’s Orthopedic Center and, as a surgeon, undertakes most types of orthopedic procedures, including knee arthroscopy, joint replacement and fractures.

Dr. Jee joined Tanner Clinic in 1989 and received his board certification from the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgery. He earned his undergraduate and medical degrees from the University of Utah, also serving his residency in orthopedic surgery at the U of U Health Science Center and Affiliated Hospitals. His internship was completed at the University of Kentucky Health Science Center.

Dr. Jee is a former president of the medical staff at Davis Hospital and a member of the National Board of Medical Examiners, which standards for assessing physicians nationwide.

Dr. Jee is a native of Salt Lake City and lives with his wife, Noriene, and daughter in North Salt Lake. His favorite pastimes include golfing, fly fishing and horseback riding with his family. He’s also been on the Deer Valley ski patrol for 25 years.

What patients are saying about Dr. Jee

“I just can’t say enough to tell you how much I appreciate the care that Dr. Jee has given me. He even came to the rehab center when we were discussing a prosthesis … He has been exceptionally compassionate through all of my problems.”   —  Mabel of Layton, in-office comment card, April, 2014

“Dr. Jee has taken care of my mother since 2001, and we want you to know what a wonderful and caring physician and person he is. He always goes above and beyond where she is concerned. We appreciate him very much.”   —  Beverly of Layton, in-office comment card, April, 2014

Specialized Procedures
A Split-Second of Thought Can Prevent a Life-Changing Mishap

Dr. Kenneth Jee advocates for all kinds of activities. He’s a fly fisher and lifelong skier himself. Indeed, one thing he likes about his field, orthopedics, is that “it helps people maintain their activity level so they can stay healthy.”

By all means, keep up the pace, he says. But (you knew it was coming!), he adds, slow down. “I see a lot of accidents with people who take shortcuts and risks,” says Dr. Jee, an orthopedic surgeon with Tanner Clinic’s Orthopedic Center.

That applies to car accidents — those emergency-room detours that Dr. Jee’s sees regularly. “If everyone would just take their time and be a little more courteous on the road and not rush themselves,” he says, “they would not have as many accidents.”

But he also warns people to think twice before they balance on that chair to change the light bulb, or scramble on the roof to attach Christmas lights. These dumb, split-second decisions don’t make the headlines, but they can destroy a family’s peace as well as any national disaster.

“In general, when people take chances or shortcuts at home, like climbing up on a ladder that they set up incorrectly, they could fall,” says Dr. Jee. “If they would take their time and be a little more careful, they could avoid those.”

Skiing was the draw back to home

Just for the record, a quarter of all falls happen off ladders, and falling is the leading cause of home injury deaths, claiming nearly 6,000 lives per year, according to national insurance statistics. Dr. Jee sees plenty of injuries as a surgeon, and also as a member of the Deer Valley ski patrol for 25 years.

It was, in fact, skiing that brought the University of Utah undergraduate back for medical training to his alma mater, where his father taught anatomy as a member of the U of U School of Medicine faculty. While studying at Princeton University and the University of Pennsylvania, he found, “I missed the mountains.”

As a young medical student, he thought he saw his future in pharmacology research. But, before too long, he said, “I discovered I really didn’t like working in a laboratory.” He did, however, identify an affinity and knack for surgery. It was particularly in orthopedic surgery that he found, “I like the mechanics of it, the carpentry part of it.”

Today, Dr. Jee is a “true generalist,” in the words of Dr. Charles Bean, director of the Orthopedic Center. It’s a description Dr. Jee himself is happy to accept. “I decided not to do a specific specialty because I like the whole variety of orthopedics,” he says.

In a field that is generally sectioned into specialties, the advantage of a generalist, he says, is that patients who’ve seen him for one issue, such as a knee arthroscopy, can return if their shoulder is giving grief. “They don’t have to go off and see someone new,” he said.

Keeping up with technology advances

Dr. Jee prefers arthroscopy, a minimally invasive surgical procedure that’s performed using a tiny camera inserted into the joint through a small incision. The surgeon is then able to view the joint area on a video monitor and then, for instance, repair torn ligaments or reconstruct an injured rotator cuff.

The result is that incisions are much smaller. For instance, a knee arthroscopy requires only two small incisions. That, in turn, speeds up recovery time because, he says, “there’s not so much involvement of the muscles.”

Over his quarter-century as an orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Jee has seen technologies advance to where even traditional “open” surgeries are less extensive than they used to be.

Implants such as hip joints have become sleeker and more specialized. “The implants we use now are much improved,” he says. “It used to be they were general implants that you had to fashion to fit. Now they’re much better designed.”

And he points to advanced diagnostic tools such as MRIs and imaging techniques that eliminate the vagueness that used to come with, for instance, an achy knee. “A lot of times we couldn’t figure it out, and we’d have to resort to surgery,” he says. “Now we can be more definite if someone needs the surgery.” Overall, he adds, “We now have better implants and techniques that are more secure, and we can get people recovered much more quickly.”

He adds, “That’s the greatest thing about orthopedics — getting people back to their lifestyles and work.”

Step Up: Use These Tips for a Safer Climb

The statistics back up what Dr. Kenneth Jee, a  surgeon at Tanner Clinic’s Orthopedic Center,  has found in his experience: Ladders keep  orthopedic surgeons busy.

 According to the American Journal of  Preventive Medicine, the number of ladder-related injuries in the United States has increased by more than 50 percent from 1990 to 2005.

One in 10 ladder users who fell ended up in a hospital emergency room. And, in case you were wondering, males accounted for more than three-quarters of all those ladder-related injuries.

The study also found that 97 percent of injuries occurred at homes, farms and other non-occupational settings.

So, consider these safety tips next time you set out to paint the eaves:

   ▸ Before you climb, inspect the ladder for cracks or structural damage — especially after long storage or if it has ever fallen over.

   ▸ When working on roofs, use a rope to haul up materials rather than carrying them in your hands. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that 50 percent of all ladder-related accidents were due to individuals carrying items as they climbed.

   ▸ Always look up before you raise a ladder to check for power lines or obstacles.

   ▸ Climb facing the treads and in the center of the ladder — between the side rails. Always maintain three points of contact with the ladder to ensure stability.

   ▸ Wear shoes with non-slip soles; stash the sandals.

   ▸ Never climb a closed stepladder that is leaning against a wall.

   ▸ Don’t stand or sit on the top of a stepladder, the pail shelf or on the top three rungs of an extension ladder.

   ▸ Don’t exceed the ladder’s weight capacity.

Don’t climb a ladder when you’re alone, in the event you take a fall yourself.

— Tanner Clinic staff