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High-Level Spine Care with a Hometown Touch

For orthopedic surgeon Brent Adams, M.D., practicing medicine in Yankton was a natural choice. Adams, who has been with Yankton Medical Clinic since 2013, grew up in the River City, the son of a longtime Yankton OB-GYN, Curtis Adams, M.D.

As an electrical engineering major at South Dakota State University, Dr. Adams spent several summers working on the electronics that underlie different medical devices. After graduating from the University of South Dakota Sanford School of Medicine, Adams completed his orthopedics residency at the University of Kansas and went on to a spine fellowship at the Twin Cities Spine Center.

“Sometimes, I don’t feel like the word gets out that we have a fellowship-trained spine surgeon here,” says Dr. Adams, who spent three years at the Kansas Joint and Spine Institute in Wichita before coming home to Yankton. “Fellowship training is important because it raises the level of expertise beyond that of general orthopedics. All I did for an entire year was spine surgery. It really hones your skills to do the best job for patients.”

Today, about half of his orthopedic practice is devoted to the treatment of conditions of the spine, such as cervical and lumbar spinal stenosis, herniated discs, sciatica, cancer, deformities and scoliosis. Adams is the only member of the International Scoliosis Research Society in the state of South Dakota.

“My training is the same as surgeons in Sioux Falls or Sioux City,” he says. “I do scoliosis surgery, fusions, microdiscectomy, cervical surgery, tumor surgery–anything and everything for the spine.”


“I do scoliosis surgery, fusions, microdiscectomy, cervical surgery, tumor surgery–anything and everything for the spine.”


A new CT-based OR navigation system in Yankton helps ensure precision during spinal procedures. But Adams says there are other aspects to spine care besides surgery. Yankton has that covered, too. “We now have a pain management program in Yankton and can offer access to high quality epidural injections. Those things are here because spine care is here,” he says.


Along with his fellowship-trained orthopedic colleague Jeremy Kudera, M.D., Dr. Adams says he wants to ensure that Yankton-area patients do not have to travel to get cutting-edge care. Most joint surgeries are now done on an outpatient basis, thanks to more effective pain control measures and new surgical techniques. Yankton surgeons adopted the anterior approach to total hip arthroplasty so that even these patients can go home the next day.

“We are offering the same level of subspecialty care that larger places are offering, but we have more of a hometown approach,” says Adams. “I have close relationships with our post-operative physical therapists and I talk frequently with the PTs who are working with my patients. That is a big benefit for patients and it is not possible in some places.”