Dr. Rooney, Background

Richard Rooney, MD, FACS

Richard Rooney, MD, FACS

Board Certified Orthopaedic Spine Surgeon

Dr. Rooney is a fellowship trained Orthopaedic Spine Surgeon. He is Board Certified by both the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery and the American Board of Spine Surgery.

He was an All-Army and intercollegiate athlete as a cadet at the United States Military Academy where he majored in Nuclear Engineering and then attended medical school at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland.

After medical school, he completed his Orthopaedic Surgery training in the Army and a Spine Surgery Fellowship at U.C. San Diego.

What sets Dr. Rooney apart?

Dr. Rooney has devoted his entire career to caring for patients with complex spinal problems. He has one of the largest spinal reconstruction practices in the northwest United States, with years of experience treating scoliosis, spondylolisthesis, kyphosis, and cervical spine abnormalities in children, adolescents, and adults.

In his day-to-day practice, Dr. Rooney strives to achieve a patient focused and family centered medical care environment. The goal is to put patients and their families at the center of the health care experience.

Accomplished Surgeon
Dr. Rooney began his practice in the Army at Ft. Hood, Texas in 2002. He was chosen to create, from the ground up, the first Spine Surgery Service that Ft. Hood had ever had at Darnall Army Medical Center. Ft. Hood is the largest Army base in the world and was the busiest base in the US Army due to the massive numbers of soldiers passing through on the way to and from the Middle East on deployments. The complexity of spinal conditions was staggering as was the volume of surgery. Success soon followed and by 2005, the Spine Surgery service was one of the highest volume in the Department of Defense with an almost non-existent complication rate. In his annual review, the Chief of Surgery referred to Dr. Rooney as a 'one man center-of-excellence'.

In 2005, as a result of his success building the Spine Program at Ft. Hood, Dr. Rooney was transferred to William Beaumont Army Medical Center which is home to the largest Orthopaedic Surgery residency program in the Department of Defense. The program is combined program with Texas Tech University and Dr. Rooney was made Director of the Spine Surgery Service. He was responsible for teaching to future Army Orthopaedic Surgeons how to perform Spine Surgery.

His abilities and accomplishments were recognized both in and out of the Army and he was awarded the Edgar Dawson Clinical Travelling Fellowship from the Scoliosis Research Society in 2005. In 2006, he was awarded the North American Spine Society Clinical Travelling Fellowship and the Cervical Spine Research Society Clinical Travelling Fellowship. He is the only surgeon to ever win all three of these prestigious awards.

In 2009, his contributions in Regenerative Medicine were recognized and he was selected by Congress as a peer reviewer for Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (CDMRP) in the field of Regenerative Medicine in Orthopaedics (Stem Cells). In this role, he helped evaluate and recommend the most promising research projects for Congress to fund through this program. He was selected again by the CDMRP in 2011.

In 2010, Dr. Rooney retired from the Army and began the civilian portion of his career at The Polyclinic in Seattle. Success once again caught up with him and he was selected as a Seattle Superdoctor in 2011, 2012 and 2013 and voted as a Top Doctor in 2012 by Seattle Met Magazine.

Recognizing that the best way to deliver healthcare is with complete professional independence, in 2012 he left The Polyclinic to start NeoSpine with Dr. Wohns and Dr. Tredway.

Throughout his career, the three themes that consistently are used to describe Dr. Rooney are the shear depth and breadth of his spine knowledge, his technical aptitude and his conscientious care. It is fair to say that patients will be hard pressed to find a Spine Surgeon that will care as much for them and as much about them as Dr. Rooney. In 2013, he was awarded with a Vitals Compassionate Doctor Award.

Dr. Rooney was among the first surgeons in Washington and the Northwest to perform many complex surgical operations; specifically, with the use of computer navigated or computer assisted surgery.

Dr. Rooney was the first surgeon in the Northwest to use Stem Cells routinely as a way to optimize spine surgery outcomes and in some cases to avoid spine surgery altogether.

Dr. Rooney was the first in Washington to perform and integrate the ScoliScore genetic testing into his practice. This test gives the adolescent scoliosis patient the opportunity to avoid x-rays and bracing when appropriate, and in some cases, avoid bracing and fusion surgery in favor of other surgical procedures.

Industry has engaged Dr. Rooney in many capacities to develop new surgical technologies as well as train surgeons on new technologies. He is frequently requested to teach and lecture at surgical training courses throughout the United States and abroad.

PA Chad Swaims, DSc PA-C

PA Chad Swaims is a graduate of the 1st Doctorate of Science Degree in Orthopaedic Surgery program for Physician Assistants.

He enlisted in the US Army after high school and rapidly progressed through the enlisted ranks. While in the Army, he completed his Bachelor and Master’s Degree from University of Nebraska and his Doctorate of Science from Baylor University.

He has served as a Battalion PA, Brigade Surgeon, PA for a long range surveillance detachment (LRSD), Physician Assistant educator and finally as an Associate Professor at Baylor University training PA’s in Orthopaedic Surgery.

After taking over as the Clinical Coordinator for the Interservice Physician Assistant Program (US Military PA Program) at William Beaumont Army Medical Center, the program rose from a 24 out of 24 ranking by the Surgeon General to 1st of 24 programs. He was able to accomplish this in only 8 short months through his commitment and dedication. As a result of this success, he was transferred in 2012 to Madigan Army Medical Center to act as Director of that program. He retired in 2013 from the Army.

He was selected as the Surgeon General’s PA of the Year in 2008 and the Veteran of the Year for the Fort Bliss Historical Society in 2010. He was awarded 4 bronze star medals, 2 of which he earned for Valorous actions under direct fire with the enemy.

After retiring from the Army with 25 years of dedicated active duty service in 2013, he re-united with Dr Rooney.


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