Written by The Business Journal Staff
Dr. Kevin Lester
Center for Excellence
What We Do: I am a general orthopedist. To date I have treated 55,000 patients. I specialize in mini-incision hip and knee replacement and carpal tunnel surgery.
Education: Bullard High School; University of California, San Diego (BA); University of California, Irvine (MD); University of Southern California (Internship); Penn State University (Orthopedic Residency)
What encouraged you to go into the field of medicine and then specialize in orthopedic surgery, Dr. Kevin?
I was first exposed to medicine when I was a medic in the Air Force. Fascinated with the field of medicine, I asked one of the officers if he thought I would be able to get into medical school. He said no, it was too difficult, I was too late and I had to be top of the class, which I wasn’t. I was a determined guy, so I got a second opinion. The next doctor I asked said, “Sure, all you have to do is be willing to work hard, be passionate about what you are doing, never give up and don’t listen to anyone that says you can’t do it.”
I specialized in orthopedic surgery because it was a branch of medicine that was involved in new technology and provides patients with the opportunity to improve the quality of their life.
What acknowledgments have you received in your branch of medicine, Dr. Kevin?
Named one of the 70 outstanding hip surgeons and specialists in the country by Becker’s Hospital Review:
“The following hip specialists were selected on the awards they received from major orthopedic organizations, leadership in those organizations, work on professional publications and positions of service held at hospitals and practices. All surgeons placed on the list have undergone substantial reviews from our editor, staff and other physician leaders. Surgeons do not pay and cannot pay to be selected as outstanding hip specialists.”
Kevin Lester, MD (Center for Excellence, Fresno, Calif.). Dr. Lester developed a minimally invasive surgical technique for total hip and knee replacement more than 20 years ago called “Lester Mini-Incision.” Long-term follow up research on his procedure has been reported in the Journal of Arthroplasty, and he has developed an additional technique called Solutions that helps some patients postpone or avoid surgery all together. Dr. Lester earned his medical degree at the University of California-Irvine.
What are your primary responsibilities at the Center for Excellence, Dr. Kevin?
I opened The Center of Excellence because I wanted a facility where I could do my research and provide patients with the newest and best advances in hip and knee replacements.
What is the most rewarding part of your job, Dr. Kevin?
The most rewarding part of my job is operating on patients that have been in pain and had the quality of their life diminished (many times for years) and immediately after the surgery they say, “Why did I wait so long? I don’t have the excruciating pain I’ve lived with for years.” And then in a few weeks they return to the office and thank me for helping give them back their life.
Is there one patient or surgery in particular that stands out, Dr. Kevin?
A few years after I developed the Lester Mini-Incision I had a patient that flew to Fresno from England to have me replace her hip.
What do you like to do when you’re not working, Dr. Kevin?
I have many hobbies. I raise bees and harvest the honey to make honey wine. From my brother in-laws vineyard I pick grapes and make a “decent” bottle of wine. I raise rabbits, chickens and sheep. I love to canoe on the San Joaquin River. Five years ago I got my pilot license and fly my own Cessna 210. In the winter I cross-country and downhill ski. Three years ago I became interested in cycling and this year completed a 100-mile ride.
What are three words that describe you, Dr. Kevin?
What is the best advice that you have ever received, Dr. Kevin?
Find what you love doing and your work will never seem like work.
What is the most influential book that you have ever read, Dr. Kevin?
Do you have a favorite quotation, Dr. Kevin?
Live every day like it’s the last day of your life.
What was your first job growing up, and what did you learn from it, Dr. Kevin?
I picked grapes and worked in a fruit packing shed. I learned about hard work and learned Spanish. I realized the importance of growing fruits and vegetables in the SJ Valley. And they are shipped all over the world.