Physician Focus: Chad Holien, M.D.


Dr. Holien received his undergraduate degree from Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, and his medical degree from the University of Minnesota Medical School, Minneapolis, MN. Dr. Holien joined our clinic in the summer of 2002 and is a member of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and the American Medical Association. Dr. Holien is Board Certified by the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery and specializes in adult reconstruction and joint replacement surgery.

Joint replacement surgery is continuing to evolve. Dr. Holien is constantly staying on the forefront of the latest techniques. He is currently looking at more and more ways to improve the quality of outcomes by improved techniques and post operative care. “For hip replacement in many patients, we can utilize an approach to the surgery which allows for not detaching any muscle during surgery (direct anterior approach). This allows for more rapid mobilization with less restrictions,” says Holien. “For both hips and knees we continue to use computer assistance at the time of surgery to improve accuracy of implant placement.”

When the procedure is finished, the work is just beginning. “It has been shown that the faster that patients get up and moving, the better their long-term outcome,” says Holien. “We try to accomplish this by the types of techniques we use with surgery and by concerted efforts with nurses and therapists to mobilize very early.” Post operative care is being improved by use of patient centered protocols for pain management, blood loss, and even urination.

Another area of focus is on patient factors. “It is important that patients play a vital role in their own care. A big part of increasing success after any surgery—but especially joint replacement surgery—is getting the patient involved in their care and modifying risk factors prior to surgery,” says Holien. The biggest areas of risk are smoking, weight, and diabetic control. Better control in these areas has been shown to significantly improve patient outcomes.

Smoking cessation will help decrease risk of advancing arthritis as well as decrease risks of infection and other complications related to surgery. Diabetic patients can dramatically decrease risk by having as tight of control of blood sugars as possible and exercise can help keep weight in check. “Arthritis decreases patients desire to be active,” says Holien. “My advice is to do what you can. Water exercise and swimming can be wonderful ways to exercise for people with arthritis as it helps relieve stress on the joints and makes it easier to exercise.” Dr. Holien also recommends sticking to exercises that are low impact such as biking, walking, and using elliptical machines. “Everyone should stay active. Find something you like to do and do it.”

In addition to helping patients at St. Cloud Orthopedics, Dr. Holien works closely with the care team at the St. Cloud Hospital to improve protocols for patient care and currently serves as the chairman of the Department of Orthopedics at St. Cloud Hospital.

Dr. Holien enjoys spending time with his wife of 16 years (who is also a physician), and their 3 children. Because of his middle daughter, Dr. Holien has recently caught the “theater bug” and has been in a few local theater productions. He enjoys running (and has run 10 marathons and several half marathons), cooking, and coaching baseball and hockey. Dr. Holien is active in his church as a council member and enjoys going on mission trips.