A painful bout with osteosarcoma couldn’t deter a teenage Kevin Weiss. Instead, his experience with bone cancer at age 15 inspired him to pursue a medical career. Today, as an orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Weiss helps patients do what they thought was impossible – live, work, enjoy life and explore their passions without debilitating pain.

News | 26 days ago

Bone Cancer Survivor Now Relieves Others’ Pain as Orthopedic Surgeon

A painful bout with osteosarcoma couldn’t deter a teenage Kevin Weiss. Instead, his experience with bone cancer at age 15 inspired him to pursue a medical career. Today, as an orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Weiss helps patients do what they thought was impossible – live, work, enjoy life and explore their passions without debilitating pain.

A painful bout with osteosarcoma couldn’t deter a teenage Kevin Weiss. Instead, his experience with bone cancer at age 15 inspired him to pursue a medical career. Today, as an orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Weiss helps patients do what they thought was impossible – live, work, enjoy life and explore their passions without debilitating pain.    For high school freshman Kevin Weiss, the pain in his knee started while doing something he loved – playing basketball. By spring, the pain he had while sprinting at track practice became too severe for this multi-sport athlete to ignore.

After a trip to the doctor’s office and a subsequent X-ray, 15-year old Kevin was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, one of the most common types of bone cancer, which tends to occur in children and teens.

Osteosarcoma is also a fast-growing cancer that is best caught early and treated aggressively. In Kevin’s case, over the course of 250-days, he was in and out of the hospital receiving treatment – undergoing chemotherapy and surgery. During that time, one thought took hold: Kevin wanted a career helping others like the doctors who were treating him.

That’s exactly what Kevin Weiss, DO does today as an orthopedic surgeon specializing in hip and knee replacements at Atrium Health Carolina Orthopaedic Surgery Associates - Rock Hill. He helps patients regain the limb functionality they fear is lost for good.

Choosing to Pay It Forward

Dr. Weiss spends his days talking with patients who have lost the ability to walk or function due to hip or knee pain from a variety of causes, including arthritis, degenerative disease and injury. His desire and ability to understand what they’re going through is rooted in his own experience as a teenage cancer patient who had to undergo multiple knee surgeries, including a 15-hour knee reconstruction. 

You could say that’s when his medical career began. “I wanted to be involved in the cancer community around me,” says Dr. Weiss, remembering those days. At a young age, he volunteered at the hospital where he was being treated because he knew that sharing his story could help alleviate the fear of other kids dealing with a cancer diagnosis.

Then at Duke University, Kevin studied bio-medical engineering, which further piqued his interest in medicine. After completing his pre-med prerequisites at the University of Michigan, he went to medical school at Nova Southeastern University. Dr. Weiss completed his residency at Broward Health Medical Center in Florida and a fellowship at Wake Forest Baptist Health here in North Carolina.

Taking Away the Pain

When some patients first consult with Dr. Weiss, they’re in so much pain that they’ve practically given up the idea of returning to a fully functioning life. Fortunately, adult reconstructive surgery can offer them real hope.

“Implant design is the best it’s ever been,” says Dr. Weiss, describing why he chose to specialize in orthopedics over other areas of medicine. “I knew hip and knee replacement could make huge impacts.”

He’s found this to be particularly true with anterior hip replacements. “This procedure’s minimally invasive approach allows my patients to recover much faster because I don’t have to cut through their muscle,” says Dr. Weiss.

The contrast between the patient’s life before and after surgery is what motivates Dr. Weiss. “I’ve had patients arrive for their surgery in a wheelchair because they literally can’t walk on their own,” he says. “To be able to rid them of their pain and have them walk again – something they didn’t think possible – is really rewarding.”

Coming Full Circle

Dr. Weiss joined as a new provider in Rock Hill in August, not long after U.S. News & World Report ranked Atrium Health as a top 10% in the nation, high-performing orthopedic program and recognized Carolinas Medical Center as the “Best Hospital” in the Charlotte metro region for the fourth consecutive year.

On top of that, he welcomed the latest news that Atrium Health and Wake Forest Baptist Health are combining. He considers his fellowship mentors and everyone he worked with at Wake Forest Baptist as family. “Everything I do and how I practice is based on what I learned from them,” he says. “It’s incredible to have joined forces with them as colleagues once again.”

Things have come full circle for Dr. Weiss. He’s realized his dream of replicating what an orthopedic surgeon did for him as a teenage cancer patient – giving someone a functional limb back. And he’s back to working with those whose mentorship at Wake Forest Baptist meant so much to him during his fellowship.

To find an orthopedic surgeon near you or to learn more about our Musculoskeletal Institute, visit online here.