Some people are willing to go the distance to achieve their goals. Jake Porter III, M.D., MPH, is one of those people. When he left his hometown of Atlanta, Georgia to become an orthopaedic surgeon, his path led him to Nashville for medical school and Pittsburgh for a foot and ankle fellowship. He also entered the hallowed halls of Harvard where he presented his Master of Public Health (MPH) thesis at the New England Science Symposium, as well as the National Medical Association Annual Convention & Scientific Assembly in Las Vegas, Nevada.
No matter how far he travelled, however, Georgia was always on his mind.
When Southeast Georgia Health System invited him to join Summit Sports Medicine & Orthopaedic Surgery, he was pleased to bring his education and expertise back to his home state.
“The opportunity was exciting and not only because of the Health System’s advanced technology,” says Porter. “The inviting nature of the staff and the community also influenced my decision.”
The journey back to Georgia was a long one for the fellowship-trained surgeon.
“Becoming an orthopaedic surgeon took more than six years of training,” he explains. “I’ve been uprooted from my home state and pursuing my specialty for nearly a decade.”
As an orthopaedic surgeon, Porter is trained to prevent, diagnose and treat disorders of the bones, joints, ligaments, tendons and muscles.
Driven by his interest in human anatomy, Porter achieved academic success. While pursuing a medical degree at Meharry Medical College in Nashville, he was one of five out of 100 students inducted into Tennessee’s Gamma Chapter of the Alpha Omega Alpha Medical Honor Society. The Society recognizes students for academic performance and community service.
After Nashville, he returned to Georgia to complete a residency at Atlanta Medical Center’s Department of Orthopaedic Surgery. With that under his belt, it was time to leave home again. After building a background in general orthopaedics, he devoted a year to fellowship training in foot and ankle surgery at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.
“I studied under five surgeons and gained hands-on surgical experience in foot and ankle procedures,” says Porter.
Drawing on his comprehensive educational and surgical experiences, Porter repairs traumatic injuries, treats hip and knee arthritis, and practices sports medicine. Using his fellowship training, he helps people struggling with ankle arthritis and ankle instability.
“Unlike hip and knee arthritis, ankle arthritis isn’t caused by aging,” explains Porter. “Arthritic ankles occur from fractures, repeated sprains or ankle instability resulting from loose joints.”
According to Porter, ankle instability is widely misunderstood. “Patients think they just have to live with it or believe that an ankle fusion procedure is their only option. Now, however, we perform ankle replacements, just like hip and knee replacements.”
Additionally, Porter finds ankle replacement procedures particularly rewarding. “We can now identify which patients will have the best outcomes, and the procedures are shorter, since measurements are done pre-operatively. And advances in ankle prostheses allow us to preserve more bone. As with hip and knee replacements, ankle replacements don’t last forever. If a revision is needed, the new prostheses spare enough bone to work with.”
From young athletes diagnosed with ankle instability to older patients coping with the pain of wear and tear, Porter is prepared to offer solutions. “My family and I are building a lifelong home here, and I feel privileged to dedicate my career to helping the people of this community.”
• To schedule a consultation with Jake Porter III, M.D., MPH, call Summit Sports Medicine & Orthopaedic Surgery, at 912-466-7340 or visit sghs.org/summit.