Wes Madsen, MD

Dr. Wes Madsen, an orthopedic surgeon at Tanner Clinic, is a specialist in total joint replacement. He joins the clinic’s Orthopedic Center after concluding a fellowship in joint replacement surgery at the University of Utah.

Dr. Madsen received his undergraduate degree at Brigham Young University, where he maintained a 4.0 grade point average. His M.D. was earned at the U of U School of Medicine. He followed this with a residency in orthopedic surgery at the University of Rochester Medical Center in Rochester, NY., where he worked as chief resident and leader of the university’s orthopedic residency curriculum.

He is certified by the National Board of Medical Examiners, and is board certified by the American Board of Orthopedic Surgery.

Dr. Madsen, a native of Vernal, Utah, lives with his wife and two children in Layton.

What patients say about Dr. Madsen

“I‘ve been going to Tanner Clinic since I was very young. My mom and dad went there also. We have loved all of our doctors and now with my knee replacement, I just love Dr. Madsen!”   —  Judy on Facebook, Feb. 13, 2014

“I just wanted to thank you for sending me to physical therapy for building strength in my legs for balance. It has been very successful! I have more confidence and ability. Thanks so much.” –Caroline Harris, April 25, 2016

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Am I a Candidate for Total Joint Replacement?

A total joint replacement of the knee or hip is a decision that requires thought, as well as advice from your physician.

But first, you have to actually get to a doctor. If you answer “yes” to any of the following questions, you may be suffering from a degenerative hip or knee joint. If so, warm up those creaky joints and call us for an appointment with Dr. Madsen.

› Do you suffer severe pain that impairs ordinary activities of daily living such as climbing stairs, walking or even arising from a chair?

› Do you find your flexibility and range of motion limited?

› Do you notice increasing painful stiffness in the joint that further impairs your ordinary activities?

› Is it painful to place weight or pressure on the joint?

› Is your knee swollen with fluid?

› Do you find yourself limping on a regular basis?

› Are medication and therapy no longer effective in controlling pain and improving mobility?

› Do you have a family history of osteoarthritis?

— Tanner Clinic staff

Patient Plays an Active Role in Successful Joint Replacement

An object in motion stays in motion.

That’s according to Newton’s first law.

Dr. Wes Madsen has his own first law of joint replacement: Keeping that motion takes a lot of push.

Dr. Madsen, a total joint replacement specialist at Tanner Clinic’s Orthopedic Center, says the most important aspect of a joint replacement may not occur in the operating room.

It’s the following six weeks that may determine whether the joint replacement — especially for knees — is a success. And those six weeks are in the control of the patient. Remember, the second part of Newton’s law is: An object at rest stays at rest.

Movement is important for recovery

Few surgeries require as much work from the patient as do knee joint replacements, which involve replacing a damaged joint with a manmade prosthesis. Recipients of new hips have an easier recuperation — full motion usually returns as “long as they just walk,” said Madsen.

But knees are a bit different. We need our knees to climb stairs, get into cars, weed gardens. These daily activities “require more motion than when you simply walk,” says Dr. Madsen. So, for those healing from knee surgery, the first six weeks are crucial.

During those six weeks of post-surgery physical therapy, what were once easy movements — such as bending and straightening the knee — can become gold-star achievements.

“The knee is swollen and it’s painful. It’s hard,” he acknowledges. “But if (patients) push through it, they’re usually very happy with it.”

Following knee surgery, Dr. Madsen suggests working with a physical therapist three times a week and doing home exercises five days a week.

Generally, you’ll stay at the level of motion you’ve regained at three months following surgery. “Whatever motion you have then is what you’ll continue to have,” he said.

New life after new joint

Dr. Madsen brings to Tanner Clinic a high degree of specialty in joint replacement. When he begins practicing at the Layton clinic in mid-August, he’ll be finishing up six years training in orthopedics — the last year specializing in joint replacement at the University of Utah Orthopedic Center.

A native of Vernal, Utah, he grew up with a doctor father, an internist who still practices in the Uinta Basin community. Medical school was pretty much a natural, and he went on to Brigham Young University, ranking on the Dean’s List each year.

But it wasn’t until his residency that he decided to specialize in orthopedics. “It’s a unique field in medicine,” he says, because it comes with a high rate of success.

After joint replacement surgery, “most patients have a new view on life because they can do what they did before,” he said. “They can get off their pain meds, quit limping, and enjoy their lives.”

Joint-replacement patients getting younger

In recent years, the group of people undergoing joint replacements has grown younger. Historically, those 65 and older were the primary candidates. But, he says, “that age has decreased over time.” Now, most of his patients are in their late 50s or early 60s.

Often, patients come to him and other Tanner Clinic orthopedic surgeons after a referral from their primary care provider. Or, a painful knee or hip has prompted them to scroll through the tremendous amount of information on the web.

“A lot of patients are looking online. They know they’re older and their knee has hurt them for 10, 20 years. They know it’s probably time to do something,” he said.

Plus, he adds, people understand that today’s technology allows them more options — patients are seeking treatment earlier and, he says, “they don’t put up with the pain they used to 10 or 20 years ago. They want a better life.”

Under Pressure? Your Joints Definitely Are


Unlike many medical conditions, there’s little you can do to prevent a joint that becomes so damaged it must be replaced.

Arthritis is usually the culprit, and it’s a disease that most of us will endure at some point in our lives.

“Nothing’s been shown to prevent a joint replacement,” says Dr. Wes Madsen, a total joint replacement specialist at Tanner Clinic’s Orthopedic Center. However, he adds, exercise and any amount of weight loss may make the arthritis “less symptomatic” — that is, less painful and stiff.

The extra weight we add to our frame makes life much harder on our joints, Dr. Madsen said. Research has shown that each additional pound around our waist adds six pounds of pressure on our joints. “If you’re 20 pounds overweight and you’re jogging or jumping, that’s up to six times that weight going through your joints,” he said.

Weight loss and physical activity may not cure painful joints, he said, “but it makes you healthier. It keeps your heart and lung healthier, which will make your life more enjoyable.

“And, if you do require a joint replacement and you’re active and in shape, the surgery’s much easier,” he added.

— Tanner Clinic staff

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