Western Missouri Bone & Joint:

Story by Lynne Hayes

Keeping Johnson County, MO Pain-Free

We humans have 206 bones and 4,000 tendons in our body, along with an assorted supply of ligaments, cartilage, and muscles. That leaves a whole lot of ways to break, sprain, tear, strain, and deteriorate the structures that keep us upright and moving, pain-free.

Fortunately for the folks who live in and around Johnson County, Missouri, there’s an expert repair team standing by to help. Western Missouri Bone & Joint is one of the area’s premiere orthopedic practices, boasting a full slate of surgical and medical management capabilities, along with state-of the-art facilities and equipment.

Part of Western Missouri Medical Center, the orthopedic specialty clinic is staffed by two board-certified orthopedic surgeons specializing in total hip, knee, and shoulder replacement, along with a board-certified hand surgeon, a family sports medicine specialist, a physician’s assistant, and a robust support staff of nurses and administrators.

“Western Missouri Bone & Joint consistently provides top-notch, evidence-based care for our patients,” noted Darinda Dick, President/CEO of the Medical Center. “We’re proud that the practice was re-certified once again in 2023 by The Joint Commission for both total knee replacement and total hip replacement and received their Gold Seal of Approval. Additionally, WMBJ just received its certification in total shoulder replacement.”

Added Mrs. Dick, “When you’re regularly judged by the highest authority in the orthopedic profession, it provides an excellent framework and motivation for staying on top of what’s best for patients.”

Top Orthopedic Expertise All Under One Roof

In 2017, the practice relocated from a small office adjacent to the hospital to its new $2 million, 8,711-square-foot facility inside the WMMC medical office building. The move fulfilled its promise to provide patients with all of the necessary orthopedic services under one roof.

In addition to in-house radiology and lab departments, WMBJ’s offices include three casting rooms, two X-Ray rooms, one procedure room, plus 12 exam rooms where the surgeons can administer pain management injections and perform a variety of orthopedic outpatient procedures.

Another “under one roof” advantage is the clinic’s close proximity to Western Missouri Medical Center’s superb rehabilitation facility; run in partnership with PT Solutions, a leader in rehabilitation services.

Dr. Drew Glover, the practice’s sports medicine and non-operative orthopedic specialist said quality rehab is key to a speedier, more successful recovery after an orthopedic injury.

“My focus is on sprains, strains, non-operative fracture care, and over-use injuries,” he explained. “I also administer platelet rich plasma injections to speed healing of damaged joints, ligaments and tendons, but it’s the rehabilitation program that truly makes the difference in so many of my cases.”

The same is true for surgical cases as well, noted orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Chris Wittgren.

“The surgical part of orthopedics is only part of the equation in treating our patients,” he said. “A truly successful outcome is only as good as the rehabilitation. Our relationship with PT Solutions is directly responsible for those outcomes.”

State-of-the-Art Surgery Options

In its continuing mission to provide the community with the latest advancements in orthopedic care, WMBJ recently expanded both its surgical team and its equipment.

In March of this year, WMBJ began partnering with Dr. Alexander Palmer to provide patients with advanced hand surgery options.

“Hand and upper extremity conditions are challenging to treat,” said Dr. Palmer. “Having the additional fellowship training has provided me with the knowledge and experience to give WMBJ patients the very best care.”

Additionally, Dr. Palmer will soon be offering carpal tunnel release surgery and other minor hand procedures at Western Missouri Bone & Joint. This is ideal for patient convenience and will allow Johnson County residents to avoid driving to the Kansas City area for this type of specialized care.

This summer, the practice also invested an estimated $700,000 in the ROSA Knee System, an exciting advancement in robot-assisted total knee replacement.

“The ROSA, which will be used during knee joint replacement surgery, allows for precise bone cuts and implant measurement customized to each patient,” said orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Aaron Rupp. “With smaller incisions and a lower incidence of complications, we’ll be able to achieve shorter hospital stays and a quicker return back to a normal life.”

“While our clinical outcomes for total knee joints is already excellent, the ROSA will be a great asset for taking things to the next level,” added Dr. Wittgren. “This is an exciting step for us as well as for the community.”

The team expects to begin training with the ROSA in September and plans to implement it on their total knee cases by late October.

True Teamwork Creates a Major Patient Advantage

Beyond the superb, expert care, one of the intrinsic benefits of choosing a practice like Western Missouri Bone & Joint is the feeling that no patient is ever just a number on an intake form.

“I regularly hear from patients that they feel well cared for at WMBJ. It’s clear from the moment they walk through the door that our staff is attentive to their needs,” shared Mrs. Dick.

One particular advantage she pointed to was Tina Carter, a Physician’s Assistant with the practice.

“Tina helps the whole patient journey be so much more streamlined,” observed Mrs. Dick. “She has high level of trust among the doctors, and regularly scrubs into surgeries. When she sees those patients for follow-ups, she knows them and their history, because she took part in their procedure.”

“Many patients are still confused about what a P.A. does,” explained Carter, who was a registered nurse for 14 years, practicing in the ICU, ER and OB, before becoming a Physician Assistant. “We are actually rigorously educated licensed clinicians able to perform many of the functions of a physician, from assessments and treatment recommendations to reading x-rays.”

“Additionally,” added Mrs. Dick, “Tina, as well as Dr. Glover, are always available to see our acute cases like sprains and strains, so everyone gets in quicker. Even when an ortho patient leaves the ER, they leave with an appointment to see us within a day or two. No one falls through the cracks.”

The addition of Tina has been so advantageous, said Mrs. Dick, that WMBJ plans bring on a second Physician’s Assistant in the very near future.

An Unsurpassed Patient Care Team in a Welcoming Atmosphere

 You don’t often think about surgeons as having a personable disposition –they often get stereotyped as “all business.” But the team at Western Missouri Bone & Joint really does have a human side. They have a deep respect and trust with each other and strive to show great compassion to their patients.

“The idea of seeing my patients over a span of months, even years, is one of the reasons I was interested in orthopedics to begin with,” Dr. Rupp admitted. “It’s an honor to care for these patients and have them put their faith and trust in you. So much so, that you begin to develop a family-like relationship with many of them. When they come back to see me years later, it’s extremely rewarding.”

Dr. Wittgren agreed that trust and compassion really are a big part of the doctor-patient relationship at WMBJ.

“Many patients have never experienced the joint replacement process and it can be scary,” noted Dr. Wittgren. “We believe it’s our responsibility here to alleviate that fear. We take great care to introduce them to the process during their office visits and offer detailed pre-op classes to help prepare them, all culminating in a calm, professional atmosphere on surgery day.”

Added Dr. Wittgren, “I have to say that the camaraderie and positive attitudes around our practice are almost palpable, and that’s something we’re proud of.”

Close to Home and Happy to Serve

From treating the personnel of Whitman Air Force Base to the athletes at UCM to their own neighbors, the team at Western Missouri Bone & Joint has created a true community of care.

“We all have different training experiences and may approach a problem from a different perspective given those experiences,” observed Dr. Glover, “but having each other to discuss particularly complex or difficult cases with helps to ensure we provide the most comprehensive and best care possible to our neighbors.”

“Warrensburg may be a small town,” said Mrs. Dick, “but running a clinic and a hospital in a small town isn’t an excuse to do anything less than the big guys do it. Our goal is to be top-notch at every turn.”

The doctors of WMBJ wouldn’t have it any other way.


407 Burkarth Rd., Suite 201

Warrensburg, MO 64093