Nelson Socorro, MD

Nelson Socorro, MD
Hand and Upper Extremity Surgeon
Knee and Sports Medicine
Arthroscopic Surgery
Socorro Cirugia Ortopedica y Traumatologia
Centro Medico de Occidente
Maracaibo, Venezuela

How has the AAOS helped you throughout your career?
AAOS has significantly contributed to my career in many aspects. Ever since I was a resident at the Tulane Orthopedics department, I have attended most of the annual meetings, which are educational treasures, a week of high-dose pearls with updates from the world's most highly regarded surgeons. The symposiums and live discussions are a must. Reading posters and walking through the exhibit hall is always interesting. I always plan ahead my daily routines to make the most of every day at the meeting. 

Attending the Annual Meeting has helped me connect with other orthopedic surgeons and friends from around the world, many of whom I had the opportunity to invite to conferences in my City or who have invited me to international conferences. Specialty day has always been my favorite day of the meeting. 

Last Annual Meeting at Las Vegas 2023 was a special one since I had the pleasure to attend with my son who recently graduated as a medical doctor in my country and who attended his second meeting. I was thrilled to watch the involvement of medical students in the meeting, which is new. We enjoyed the Medical Student Symposium. Students were given advice from faculty and program directors, also we participated in a saw bone skills lab. I managed to contribute with some tips and tricks, I appreciate the AAOS meeting staff efforts to integrate and introduce new generations to the field. 

I'm a loyal and avid AAOS international member.

Everything about the meeting is great, a big shout out to all the hardworking AAOS Faculty who make them possible, also the AAOS staff who are always extremely polite, they are delightful, some of them can attest to my attendance record.

As an International Member, which AAOS resources do you use most and why?
The online AAOS news, the Journal of the AAOS, the Orthopaedic Video Theater (OVT), the Courses, Webinars, the book store, the OrthoInfo for patients, and everything about the Annual Meeting. 

What’s the best advice you were ever given? Who was it from?
During my training as a resident and fellowships, I had the opportunity to train with very skilled, knowledgeable, and well-recognized surgeons. I must give them credit and an honorable mention for all their support to: Dr. Seymour Schwartz, and Keneth DeHaven while I was a General Surgery Resident in Rochester, New York. Dr. Jack Wickstrom, Thomas Whitecloud, Jack Houghston, Dr. James Andrews, Dr. Daniel Riordan, and James Urbaniak while in Tulane Orthopedics department, Leonard Goldner and Richard Goldner at Duke University and Dr. Kleinert and Dr. Kutz at Louisville Hand Center.

I can’t give a single good advice received, but here’s a summary and principles given to me by my professors and learned from my years of experiences in the field:

  • A guiding principle is to be up to date with advancements in our field, and always look out for the newest information, however, novelty is not always the best, but be aware of the utility of new techniques, taking into consideration not only the medical aspects but also the economical costs to the patient.
  • There is no substitute for a good medical history and physical examination.
  • Building rapport with patients always serves you well, and helps build trust.
  • Don’t assume that you know everything, don’t be blinded by your biases, try to practice evidence-based medicine. 
  • Every case is an opportunity to learn something new.
  • Treat every patient as if it is your dearest family member or yourself.
  • Teach me about complications and your worst cases, that way you are always prepared to manage any shortcomings.
  • There are no simple cases, so be prepared.
  • Know your anatomy, and always review it before you go to the O.R. 
  • Plan your surgeries. 

What’s your go-to productivity trick?
Work and study very hard, and don’t leave things that could be done today for tomorrow, “no dejes para mañana lo que puedes hacer hoy”-in Spanish; do tasks as they come, as soon as possible.

What’s one thing you’re currently trying to make a habit?
Work out daily at the gym, after office hours or surgical cases. 

What hobbies do you enjoy in your spare time?
I love playing Golf with friends and enjoy watching soccer on weekends, mostly La Liga and  Premier League games. I'm also a huge Real Madrid fan. I am currently delighted by seeing  Messi play in the MLS with Inter Miami.  It is also interesting to see the recovery of many players after orthopedic procedures from different types of injuries and the human side of it. 

Traveling has always been an obsession of mine, I am fortunate to have traveled to many countries whether for giving lectures, conferences, or just for the sake of it with my family. 

Tell us a fun fact about yourself that not many people know?
During my young years, I wanted to become a bull-fighter, I used to enjoy watching “corridas“ but after my training as a doctor I sided with the bull, so I didn't enjoy or appreciate it anymore.  As a medical student, I used to teach basic surgical techniques to general surgery residents in my local city, Maracaibo at Zulia University (La Universidad del Zulia- my medical school-alma mater) an institution which proudly recognized me with an Honoris Causa distinction. Also after training for eight and half years in the States and being offered a position to stay at Tulane Orthopedic Center, I decided to come back to my country Venezuela where I have dedicated my life to teaching future generations of orthopedic surgeons and treating patients, while being a spokesman of the high standards taught to me at U.S institutions. I became president of two Venezuelan national Orthopedic associations, SVCOT and SVCMRMS. I am also the director of a hospital in my city called Centro Medico de Occidente, a university-affiliated institution. As a fun fact - My city Maracaibo, has a lake with the world's largest oil reserves.