Dean (Dino) Pinciotti, PT is the Director of Physical Therapy at University Orthopaedic Associates (UOA). He is a 1985 graduate of the New York University Physical Therapy program and brings to UOA over 30 years of clinical experience in the field of physical therapy in central New Jersey. He earned his bachelor of education from the University of Dayton in 1983. Dean draws his expertise from owning and directing Sports Physical Therapy Institute, LLC, which had multiple locations in central New Jersey.
Dean specializes in rehabilitation of orthopedic and sports-related injuries of the knee and shoulder by incorporating a manual treatment approach combined with functional exercises to provide the highest quality rehabilitation care. He lectures and has published articles on evaluative and rehabilitative techniques with a manual and functional approach. He has been a guest lecturer at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital (RWJUH) Medical School in New Brunswick, New Jersey. He has treated professional, Olympic, amateur and high school athletes. Over his career, Dean has worked directly with:
- The United States Olympic Rowing Team
- The United States Olympic Rehabilitation Center
- The American Repertory Ballet Company
- The New Jersey Nets
- Rutgers University lightweight football
- The New Jersey Wildcats women’s soccer team
- The New Jersey Stars World Team Tennis team
- Princeton Day School Athletics
- He also traveled internationally with the U.S. Rowing Team to the World Championships in Gifu, Japan in 2005.
Dean’s extensive experience with patients, administration and operation of facilities guide his leadership in providing quality care. His primary goal is to ensure that all patients return to their highest functional level as quickly as possible and achieving a successful outcome.
Dean has lived in central NJ for the past 25 years with his wife Lisanne and their three daughters Victoria, Olivia and Amelia, as well as the family dog Mucca. He gives back to the community by volunteering at charitable 5K races. When Dean is not busy seeing patients or running the PT practice, he enjoys playing golf, working out, traveling and cooking.
A Special Q&A With Our Director:
Physical Therapy—It’s All in the Family
Pinciotti discusses his position, what’s on the horizon for his department and the unique experience PT patients will encounter at UOA.
You believe your patients are like family. What does this bring to the job?
Having had my own private practice enables me to approach this position in a very simplistic way: I treat patients the same way I want my mom, dad, brother and sister to be treated. Our goal is to do the job so effectively that it not only helps patients get better, but that they tell other people how wonderfully treated they were with us. We take care of patients in a way that gets them to goals, no matter what those goals are.
How does UOA’s “continuum of care” come into play in the physical therapy department?
The continuum of care creates the ability to be within an orthopaedic group, one in which there is very close communication with the patients’ physicians. We have one system: a stream of care with full access to physicians and a computerized look at all relevant information. This goes from the diagnostics (X-rays and MRIs) to the treatments, and even the follow-up notes physicians dictate at a patient’s last office visit. This is invaluable to staying current and fully informed.
From start to finish, the continuum of care allows us to make better-informed decisions about a patient’s problem and how to go about treating it. When it comes to sports performance, for example, we can hand off a patient to that department with a detailed explanation of what help or training level the patient needs. This can all be very difficult to coordinate in a private physical therapy practice.
What is UOA’s immersive and responsive physical therapy approach?
Our department is unique in how it is run. People don’t wait long for appointments; they get their initial evaluation within 24 to 48 hours. Every patient is thoroughly evaluated and given a home program for days they are not in physical therapy. For many of these people, it’s a journey; it’s not a sprint. They really appreciate an explanation “from A to Z,” since this understanding is often unique for them.
You’ve talked about “hot topics” like concussions and balance. Those are important for athletes and seniors. Anything else new you hope to add to the department?
We are trying to give our patients the best possible access. Whether it is early morning or late evening appointments, my experience is that you need to be able to treat people when they can be treated. Appointments need to be flexible, whether it’s for those who have work schedules or high school athletes who don’t yet drive and have to wait for a parent to bring them.
On another front, I feel doing clinical research is extremely important to validate what we do from an orthopedic and physical therapy standpoint. We’re going to be doing research projects with ACL reconstruction and total joint replacement patients. Within the next six to eight months, we will be collecting data and publishing scientific evidence-based papers as well as doing presentations.
As far as equipment, we are looking to add a couple of more functional pieces of exercise equipment specific to our patients’ needs. We are also branching out into other niche programs, such as those mentioned on concussions and vestibular/balance.
How does your own personal experience with physical therapy treatment relate to how you run the practice at UOA?
Personal experience refers to the fact that I have been a patient myself over the years, as far back as high school sports and into college athletics and beyond. This allows me to have an understanding of such things as the importance of prehabilitation and starting rehabilitation therapy as early as possible.
I’ve known since high school that I wanted to be a physical therapist. I am proud of the fact I still have patients from 20 years ago who contact me saying, “You helped me with my knee, now my shoulder hurts.” They drive an hour and a half to see me. People are loyal to good caregivers. That’s why we make it mandatory that patients get the same therapist every session. I emphasize this to our staff; they are the ones patients identify as those who take care of their aches and pains and any musculoskeletal problems. Too many places are run like a mill. That’s not at all how we run UOA physical therapy.