"Think of a microscope. It takes diffused light and focuses it. That is what a laser is, focused light," explained Dr. Michael Wynn in the beginning of our conversation about light, lasers, and podiatry. Dr Wynn is the primary podiatrist and owner of Foot Care Associates of Texas, located in Kingwood along the 59 service road. While foot and ankle surgery may seem more pedestrian and not an area of cutting edge medical technology, Dr. Wynn is not your average podiatrist.
Born on October 23rd 1953 in (Evergreen, Illinois) in Little Company of Mary Hospital to Joseph Michael Wynn and Patricia Ann Buckentin Wynn.
He grew up with his younger sister, Patsy Ann Wynn, on the south side of Chicago at 3933 W 82nd Place, where they both went to Dawes Grade School. During seventh grade the family moved twice, finally settling in the south suburbs between Orlando Parks, Illinois and Lockport, Illinois on 143rd Street at 5 Chickasaw Trail, Lockport, Illinois. He finished his eighth grade year in a small rural school Homer 33C where he played football, basketball and ran track. In 1968, he started high school at Lockport East High School and finished at Lockport Central in 1972. At Lockport High School, he participated in football, track and the senior class play. While in Lockport he worked as a gas station attendant, busboy and a lifeguard at a lake in Romeoville, Illinois.
From 1972-1976 Mike spent his time concentrating on Pre-Med studies, majoring in both biology and chemistry receiving his B.A. at Lewis University. He spent much of his non academic time working any odd jobs that were available both in the summer and during the year. While at Lewis University in Romeoville, Illinois he developed bonds with students and professors that have lasted all of his life.
In the year preceding his attending Podiatry School, Michael worked at Arno Tape managed by the Dr. Scholl's Company in Michigan City, Indiana. While in Michigan City he served on the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) board for the city.
In the fall of 1977 he left for Cleveland, Ohio to study medicine at the Ohio College of Podiatric Medicine. Most evenings and weekends were spent working at university hospitals as a laboratory tech at Rainbow Baby and Children's Hospital.
After Cleveland, Mike headed for Houston, Texas to do his surgical training in 1981. There he began what became the passion of his life: the study of light, lasers, and its application in foot and ankle surgery. Studying the research of Isaac Kaplan MD, on laser surgery, he applied the research and developed new surgical techniques for the foot and ankle.
"Dr. Kaplan paved the way for the rest of us," explained Wynn, "Most of work being done in different areas of laser surgery was based on his original work."
In 1986, Wynn published what would be the first of many research articles, "Soft Tissue Bunion Repair with a CO2 Surgical Laser" in The Journal of Current Podiatric Medicine sharing with fellow doctors the surgical technique for bunion surgery.
If you have suffered from bunions, you know that not only are they painful but that traditional bunion surgery can be painful and the recovery time long. The benefits of laser surgery are that it is less painful and the recovery is faster.
However, you wouldn't know that looking in the wilds of the internet. Other than research and medical journals behind pay walls, most of the information online is that laser surgery has no benefit to traditional surgery, the assertion that lasers cannot cut bone and therefore cannot be used in bunion surgery, or other such vague statements. (Dr. Wynn actually co-authored the chapter in a medical textbook on the use of lasers in cutting bones ).
When asked about the reason behind the information blackout regarding lasers and foot and ankle surgery, Wynn replied, "It's two things. First, lasers are expensive to keep up and maintain and not all podiatrists have access to them. Second, laser surgery requires fine tuning the laser and doctor to the settings needed for that particular surgery. That takes experience and continual training. Some doctors don't invest the time to learn and develop their skills."
Beyond his interest in further developing surgical techniques using lasers, he is also committed to sharing his knowledge and experience with upcoming doctors and surgeons. He has published numerous articles in research journals, has traveled across the country lecturing on the use of lasers with the Houston Laser Institute, and is the current Clinical Liaison for the Kingwood Medical Center Podiatric Surgical Residency.
If you are suffering from foot or ankle problems and want a doctor that is light years ahead of the rest, visit Dr. Wynn and his staff at Foot Care Associates of Texas, 23972-A Hwy 59 N, Kingwood.