First Choice Orthopaedics has built a foundation and a reputation that is highly sought after for doctors looking to make a real impact for their patients and the community. Dr. Vliegenthart of First Choice says, “We give everyone the time they need here. We don’t rush patients in and out the door. Doctors are allowed to be doctors here.”

First Choice takes a different approach to how it manages its orthopaedic-focused practice. Physicians at First Choice aren’t spread thin with tasks such as accounting and scheduling; instead, their full attention is on serving their patients and practicing medicine. First Choice’s vision, “Continuous Commitment to Orthopaedic Excellence and Compassionate Care,” ensures this unique approach always puts the patient first and allows doctors to do what they do best.

First Choice Orthopaedics specializes in joint replacement, hip arthroscopy, sports medicine, shoulder pain, carpal tunnel, orthopaedic surgery, foot & ankle reconstruction, as well as pain management. It also offers ancillary services like: X-ray, MRI and a highly skilled physical therapy team. First Choice Orthopaedics really is a “one-stop shop” to take care of any of your orthopaedic needs.

The practice also has an outstanding physical therapy department that continues to expand into new locations for its patients’ convenience. The most recent new therapy location in Barefoot Bay marks First Choice’s sixth location in Brevard, more than any other single physical therapy group in the county. This type of commitment to patient care also attracts excellent doctors who work together to make a difference in the lives of their patients.

Dr. Donald Vliegenthart’s difficult upbringing has driven him to care for his patients and community at a very high level. He comes from a family of two Dutch immigrants who were victims of the Holocaust and under Nazi rule for four years until freed by America. His father immigrated to America to join the Army as repayment for saving his family and later went on the be an engineer for the Saturn V rocket that put the first man on the moon. Dr. Vliegenthart was given an incredible opportunity to not only be in America, but also be a part of the rise of the Space Coast.

Dr. Vliegenthart’s mother was a severe diabetic who ended up losing both of her legs to the disease, later passing away from a heart attack. This tragedy drove Dr. Vliegenthart to pursue Medicine as a career path. After skipping eighth grade, a year in undergrad and another year in Med School, Dr. Vliegenthart graduated at just 22 years old as a medical doctor. He then completed five years of orthopaedic surgery residency and went on to perform thousands of surgeries in the following decades, developing an extensive background in orthopaedic surgery and pioneering spinal microsurgery right here in Brevard.

Due to a partial vision loss from a failed dental procedure he underwent at age 39, Dr. Vliegenthart is unable to perform surgeries. This gives him a unique perspective when working with patients, allowing him to, without bias, provide non-operative solutions to patients who don’t necessarily require surgery.

As First Choice continues to attract a high caliber of doctors and surgeons, it’s no surprise that Dr. Allison Wade also brings her incredible expertise to the team. She is an orthopaedic surgeon who is fellowship trained in foot and ankle surgery. Dr. Wade says that when she was looking for the right career opportunity, it was important that she found a place that felt like family. She says First Choice has proved to be just that for her.

Dr. Wade prides herself in educating her patients. She provides her patients with all the information they need to succeed and recover well.

One of her most impressive achievements was performing a total ankle replacement on a ballroom dancer. After recovery, Dr. Wade was able to go watch her patient get back on the dance floor with her new ankle!

The newest addition to the First Choice family is Dr. Brian Hamzavi. He practiced in Tampa while he finished his fellowship in sports medicine. Dr. Hamzavi completed his orthopaedic surgery residency at Mt. Sinai Hospital and St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital in New York and graduated with his MD from Drexel University College of Medicine in Pennsylvania.

Newly minted surgeons have the opportunity to go anywhere they please, and Dr. Hamzavi was no different in that regard. He had several opportunities across the U.S. but found that First Choice in Melbourne, FL was the best option for him.

Dr. Hamzavi fits right in with the physician team at First Choice and subscribes to the same patient centric philosophy already prevalent at the practice. He says, “I will stick by the patient through the whole process.” He knows the process of recovery can be a bit daunting but assures he will be there for the patient through every single step. He wants Brevard to know that he’s “looking forward to meeting and growing with the community.”

First Choice Orthopaedics clearly brings a level of care and authenticity that is attracting a like-minded team to our beloved community that just want to “be doctors.” Who doesn’t want that in their doctor? With those ethics powering the company, First Choice Orthopaedics is actively expanding and thriving throughout the Space Coast.