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Nathan L. Cafferky, M.D.

Verified Patient Rating: 4.85 (33 patient reviews and ratings)
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Hip, Joint Replacement & Revision, Knee, Orthopaedic Trauma

Early on in his residency at the Geisinger Orthopaedic Institute at Geisinger Medical Center in Danville, PA, Dr. Nathan Cafferky was serving on the joint replacement service treating an elderly, debilitated patient who was wheelchair-bound. Previous surgeons had decided they couldn’t help, but through careful planning and establishing goals with the patient, Dr. Cafferky and his team were able to replace this person’s hip. One day after surgery, the patient was walking again for the first time in years. Witnessing how well patients can do after joint replacement surgery is why Dr. Cafferky decided to pursue fellowship training in adult reconstruction. “That was a very powerful experience for me as a surgeon."

As a total joint surgeon specializing in adult reconstruction, Dr. Cafferky focuses on patients with hip and knee conditions who require replacement surgery. His fellowship training in joints and adult reconstruction at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus gave him the expertise to treat these conditions appropriately. The most common conditions he treats include hip and knee arthritis, ranging from osteoarthritis to rheumatoid arthritis to post traumatic arthritis.

What’s new and exciting in joint replacement surgery? Dr. Cafferky says newer technologies and techniques are helping improve patient satisfaction and outcomes. “With total hip and total knee replacement surgeries, we’re using less invasive techniques. In total hip replacements, for instance, we are now utilizing the more muscle sparing direct anterior approach to the hip. Combining these newer techniques with rapid recovery post-operative protocols are also allowing patients to return to a normal life faster. Also, exciting advances in newer technologies, such as computer navigation and robotic surgery, are also making their way into joint replacement surgery. Plus, the implant companies are creating better artificial joints than ever before. With a better understanding of bio-materials and bearing surfaces, implants are now likely to last much longer too.”

A native of Portland, OR, Dr. Cafferky went to medical school at Loma Linda University School of Medicine in Southern California. “From my training, I’ve been fortunate enough to take care of a broad spectrum of patients from around the Unites States. It has been an honor and a privilege to take care of these patients. I am excited to bring what I have learned from each of my patient experiences, and my expertise, to the mountain communities.” 

Growing up in a family of physicians, Dr. Cafferky realized early on that he wanted to help others. “I had great role models in my father and grandfathers. They taught me that taking care of others, and putting others first, is one of the most rewarding aspects of a career that I could have. I realized early on in my education that I wanted to help get people back on their feet, and realized that I wanted to become an orthopaedic surgeon. In training, we’re taught not only how to operate but when to operate. My philosophy of patient care is to work closely with my patients to establish appropriate goals of care and expectations. I enjoy working with patients to help them get back to the active lifestyles that they enjoy.”

Dr. Cafferky and his wife are excited about the quality of life that the mountains have to offer. “As someone who grew up skiing, mountain biking, trail running, hiking, and camping, I am excited to be able to move my family to communities that enjoy and value these same activities. One of the most enjoyable things for me to do now is to teach my kids the enjoyment of a healthy and active outdoor lifestyle. The mountain communities are unique in that, as a physician, my patients enjoy the same activities as I do. I enjoy working closely with my patients to help them get back on their feet, so that they can get back to enjoying the activities that brought them to live in the mountains.”

Education & Training

  • Bachelor of Science in Biology: Walla Walla University, College Place, WA
  • Doctor of Medicine: Loma Linda University School of Medicine, Loma Linda, CA
  • Surgery Residency: University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, Aurora, CO
  • Orthopaedic Residency: Geisinger Orthopaedic Institute, Danville, PA
  • Joints and Adult Reconstruction Fellowship: University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, Aurora, CO


  • Board Certification: American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery

Professional Associations

  • Alumni Association, Loma Linda University School of Medicine
  • American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
  • American Association of Hip and Knee Surgeons
  • American Medical Association
  • AO North America
  • Colorado Medical Society
  • International Congress for Joint Reconstruction
  • Orthopaedic Trauma Association
  • Pennsylvania Orthopaedic Society
  • Western Orthopaedic Association

Team Affiliations

  • US Ski Team

Hospital Affiliations

  • St. Anthony Summit Medical Center
  • Vail Valley Medical Center
  • University of Colorado Hospital
  • Peak One Surgery Center
  • Vail Valley Surgery Centers


  • Visiting Clinic Professor, University of Colorado, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery

Improving implants used for total hip and knee replacements

Since the modern total hip and total knee were created in the ‘60s and ‘70s, we've been improving upon these time tested traditional implants...

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Success rates for surgical treatment for painful arthritic hip and knee joints

Traditional methods of surgical treatment for painful arthritic hip and knee joints have provided excellent outcomes for years. Ninety...

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Anatomy of Joint Replacement Surgery

To understand exactly what I do from a medical standpoint is to understand basic anatomy. The hip anatomy is a ball and socket joint. The...

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The Development of Joint Centers

Increasing joint centers around the country are also an exciting development in joint replacement surgery. In the last 10 to 20 years, studies...

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Common questions with Total Joint Replacement Surgery

Q: Will my total hip or total knee hurt? The answer is yes. It does hurt; it's a surgery and a painful recovery process. But...

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Australian athlete heads into promising recovery after treatment from Vail-Summit Orthopaedics' Dr. Nathan Cafferky

Earlier this year, Sophie Gaudry's son Jack, a 17-year-old student and athlete from Sydney, Australia, sustained a traumatic injury to the leg...

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Dr. Cafferky's Free Seminar on Outpatient Joint Replacements

Join Dr. Cafferky for a Free Seminar on Outpatient Joint Replacement at The Vail-Valley Surgery Center...

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Vail-Summit Orthopaedics’ Doctors Featured on Becker’

All of our doctors were recently featured in Becker’s “Orthopedic Specialist to Know” section. 

To read...

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Nathan L. Cafferky, M.D., honored with Rising Star Award

Nathan L. Cafferky, M.D., joint replacement and revision of the hip and knee surgeon at ...

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Vail Daily News health feature: Exploring total joint replacement

The Vail Daily News recently spoke with Dr. Nathan Cafferky about surgical options now available to Eagle County residents and visitors...

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Dr. Nate Cafferky speaks in Vail on Total Joint Replacement for Knee and Hip

Friends of Vail Valley Medical Center (VVMC) hosted a free speaker series yesterday titled, "TOTAL JOINT REPLACEMENT FOR KNEE & HIP"....

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On Thursday, October 22nd, Friends of the VVMC will host two talks:

  • 12:30 - 2:00 PM: Sonnenalp Hotel, 20 Vail Road ...
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New advancements in Surgical Treatment for Painful Arthritic Hip and Knee Joints

Dr. Nathan Cafferky presented a very informative talk last week on new advancements in surgical treatment for painful arthritic hip and knee...

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“What a dynamic duo and team --Dr. Nate Cafferky and Dan Wood. Having been in the healthcare provider field, I totally understand the importance of teamwork to insure the optimum patient experience. These two professionals have an incredibly professional relationship with one another that patients can feel. Patients also benefit from their experience and expertise. I am speaking from two view-points -- as a patient and as a care giver for a patient. I cannot imagine more effective patient care.”
– Daniel C.
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