Specialist spotlight: Paging Dr. Reed Williams
March 6, 2019
The word ultrasound has become synonymous with that moment when parents get a first peek at their baby in mom’s belly.
Dr. Reed Williams is certainly familiar with the magic associated with that kind of ultrasound – after all, his wife is an Ob/Gyn, they have a young son, and another baby on the way.
But Dr. Williams’ preferred brand of magic is that of musculoskeletal ultrasound (MSKUS), and he is eager to introduce its many benefits to patients at UT Southwestern Medical Center at Frisco. He completed training in the field of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation as well as in Sports Medicine, where anatomy and function are underpinnings. Dr. Williams then went on to complete advanced training in ultrasound medicine, earning credentialing from the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography.
In other words, he knows how the body moves and he is an expert in the art of using sound waves to get patients back in the game.
That’s just one of the interesting things we learned about Dr. Williams, who is an Air Force brat and citizen of the world, a former high school football star, and a diehard Philadelphia Eagles fan who is living and working in the shadow of Dallas Cowboys headquarters.
How did you decide to combine the worlds of sports and medicine?
“Like a lot of kids, I played almost every sport. If there was a signup sheet, I signed up for it. Unfortunately, my senior year of high school I had a pretty significant ankle injury that required several surgeries and derailed my plans to play football in college. As sad as that might be, it opened up a whole new world to me: a world of therapy, of physical function, of anatomy and biomechanics. That injury and those lessons ignited the fire, and then my love of sports, science, and helping people have fueled it since.”
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You are board certified in physical medicine and rehabilitation. What is PM&R?
“Physical medicine and rehabilitation (PM&R), or Physiatry, is really is unlike any other medical profession. It’s a field dedicated to a person’s function after injury; be it small or life-altering. As a sports and musculoskeletal physiatrist I generally don’t deal in life-and-death emergencies, which is wonderful by me, but I do deal in life – and PM&R helps patients get back to living their lives. I want to help you pick up your grandkids, compete in that weekend tough mudder, swim in that triathlon, and ride your bike to work. My job is to help you keep up the activities and passions that help you be you.”
How does musculoskeletal ultrasound play a role in PM&R?
“It allows me to provide in-room, real-time, bedside, diagnostic imaging for our patients. It’s the same modality we use to see your baby in the obstetrician’s office, but having made leaps and bounds into the musculoskeletal clinical area in the last decade, I can now offer it for injuries of your body, too.”
“Although it is technically not magic (probably), I think what makes MKSUS so fascinating is that I can use sound waves to see what’s happening inside your body right then and there. I can see muscles and tendons move, see them contract, how they affect the surrounding structures – and I can teach you about it while I do it. It’s radiation-free, and so it’s safe. And in most cases, it's cheaper than more advanced imaging, too.
“The key is it can empower you to know immediately what the problem is, and then we can plan together to fix it. Depending on the plan of attack, I can also provide interventional, regenerative medicine to help you regain function as well. All that said; MSKUS does feel a lot like magic, right?”
Meet Dr. Reed Williams: Diagnostic ultrasound expert
As a former athlete, Dr. Reed Williams understands what it means to suffer an injury that prevents you from doing what you love. He has dedicated his career to helping diagnose and treat sports medicine and musculoskeletal injuries, specifically using diagnostic ultrasound. Board certified in physical medicine and rehabilitation, Dr. Williams can help get you back in the game.
How do you connect with patients?
“I’m a proud Air Force kid. My father was career active-duty, and although I was born on an air base in Idaho we essentially lived overseas until I was in high school, moving every year or two. That certainly keeps you on your toes. It also forces you to learn to adapt and form relationships quickly, which has helped me tremendously in life and medicine. Traveling so much as a kid, I was lucky enough to experience all kinds of peoples and cultures. I also developed a drive to connect with folks. That drive is a major reason I chose the field of PM&R – because it's inherent in it – and I believe relating to people, communicating with them, building trust, and making sure they feel comfortable are most important in being a good doctor.”
Finish this sentence. If I weren’t a physician, I would be ...
“An actor/director. I did some acting in commercials and radio when I was younger, and I love the connection and emotion actors foster via their art. I also love telling a good story. … It is a freeing daydream.”
What’s it been like relocating to Frisco?
“So far so great. Everyone has been so warm and accepting, and my family and I are already feeling right at home. It’s exciting professionally, too. Adding a well-known and respected brand like UT Southwestern to such a fast-growing place like Frisco is a great opportunity for the community, and is certainly one for me. We searched for a place where we could be intertwined with the community, and I think we can have that here. I’m really excited to go to a football game on Friday night and know the faces that I see.”
What impact do you think athletics has in a place nicknamed Sports City USA?
“It’s huge and I’d be lying if that nickname wasn’t part of the reason I wanted to come here. But to clarify, I don’t think sports is just baseball or football or soccer. I think if you use your body, it’s sport. No matter the level of competition, or the age of a person, activities are what we define ourselves by. If you’re someone who works out every day, and all of sudden you have a small injury that stops you from doing what you love, that has a massive effect emotionally, and physically. If I can help get you feeling better, it’s a big deal to you – and me.”
How do you feel being an Eagles fan in Cowboys country?
“Are you trying to get me in trouble? I'm excited to rep my birds down here in Star country! Living so close to the practice facility is a bit daunting, I’ll admit, but I'm just eager to be in such a sports-centric area where there's a deep connection and passion for the local teams. I'm a sports nut, so I think from what I've heard about the Dallas area and fans, I'll fit right in!”
What do you think UT Southwestern will bring to Frisco?
One of the things I’m really excited about is the chance to help create a sports medicine and sports education hub in Frisco. We’ve got all the specialties and all the providers necessary to take care of the whole spectrum of the athlete; a true multidisciplinary approach. It’s not just me - it’s the physical therapist, the neuropsychologist, the traumatic brain injury specialist, and the orthopedic and spine surgeons. There’s a whole team here. You get multiple eyes, multiple hands, and hopefully feel cared for from a full range of expertise.”