Nick Perkins, Upslope Media

Wyoming Surgical Associates recently welcomed Dr. Hillary Morrison to their team of surgeons.

Dr. Morrison brings with her a wealth of knowledge, talent and experience to the already thriving team of surgeons that make up WSA. 

After graduating from Kelly Walsh High School, Dr. Morrison went to undergrad at Montana State University, before completing her medical school training at the Kansas City University of Medicine, where she graduated in the top five of her class — not five percent; five people. She then completed her general surgery residency at the University of Kansas in Wichita, Kansas.

Originally, Dr. Morrison had a different plan, but those plans changed while she was in med school. 

“I actually didn’t think originally that I was going to be a surgeon,” Dr. Morrison stated. “I actually thought I was going to do family and pediatric work. But when I got into medical school and actually did surgery, I loved it.” 

Following med school, in which she studied under an older surgeon who taught her much of what she knows, she completed her surgical residency in six years. Then, she moved back home to Casper, Wyoming, and began working for Wyoming Surgical Associates. 

WSA, per their website, “is committed to delivering the best quality surgical treatment possible, with an emphasis on providing focused, patient-centered care, tailored to the individual patient.”

The Associates in question are Dr. Todd Beckstead, Dr. Clayton Turner, Dr. Aimee Gough and, now, Dr. Hillary Morrison.

Morrison joined Wyoming Surgical Associates in September 2022. She’s been there for close to 10 months and, in those 10 months, has elevated an already thriving practice into one of the leading surgery centers in the Rocky Mountain region. All four doctors operate at Banner Wyoming Medical Center, Casper Surgical Center and Summit Medical, located on the east side of Casper. 

“I was really excited to come home,” Morrison beamed. “My family is all here — my 95-year-old grandmother, all of my sisters, everything. I was actually looking for a private practice where I could actually partner with senior doctors and learn from them, but also offer them my experience and skill set. I wanted to keep learning and keep growing. That’s what I have here. Plus, I really like that we get cases from all over. It’s a good variety of outpatient cases, as well as sick patients that come from the hospital.”

Wyoming Surgical Associates does get cases from all across Wyoming and beyond. They specialize in general surgery, of course, but they also specialize in both colon and rectal surgery, as well as spine surgery. Dr. Morrison herself is trained in general surgery, but has a special interest in minimally invasive surgery, including robotics, hernia, endocrine and breast surgery.

Robotics surgery is a relatively new type of surgery that, quite frankly, can and will change the world.

Dr. Aimee Gough, who has been with WSA for five years, stated that “this type of technology can result in better patient outcomes.”

Morrison agreed.

“They don’t stay in the hospital as long,” she said. “The pain control is a little bit better, especially if the patient is a little bit older and a bit more frail. You can save them a lot of pain medications and you’re not making these big incisions that could cause pneumonia or other complications.”

Morrison stated that robotics surgery is a medical advancement that has allowed surgeons almost unparalleled access to parts of the body that would otherwise have been extremely difficult to get to. Robotics allow surgeons to rotate their “hands” more accurately, allowing them to get closer access points resulting in less invasion of patients.

Dr. Morrison routinely offers robotic hernia surgeries and actually completed the first ventral robotic hernia in the state of Wyoming. She also performed the first robotic gastrectomy. This robotic technology offers more precision for surgeons and more relief for patients.

“We don’t have to go through, for instance, the muscle layers of your belly wall,” Dr. Gough offered. “You can keep the incisions a lot smaller, which means you lessen the post-op complications and the hospital stays of patients. The surgery in and of itself is something of a traumatic injury. So the more you can minimize the pokes and the insults to the body and just get into your work and then get out without affecting them as much, the better they can recover.”

“It really just makes it easier for you and better for the patient,” Dr. Gough continued. “It could be a big game-changer.”

Morrison smiled and said, “Sometimes you feel like you got away with something.”

Dr. Gough has her own areas of special interests, including colon and rectal cancer, ERAS (enhanced recovery after surgery) protocols, inflammatory bowel disease and pelvic floor disorders.

Additionally, Dr. Morrison and Dr. Gough are the only female surgeons in Casper that perform colonoscopies. Similarly, Dr. Morrison is the only female surgeon in Casper that performs Esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD) tests. Dr. Morrison also specializes in anti-reflux surgical options and is trained on the LINX procedure to assist those with GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease).

Dr. Beckstead is board certified in General Surgery with extra training in vascular surgery, and Dr. Turner is an orthopedic spine surgeon.

This four-person team makes up Wyoming Surgical Associates and, together, they have made WSA one of the most well-respected and well-regarded surgical practices in Wyoming. Each surgeon brings a wealth of knowledge, experience and skills, and the result is a practice that offers the highest-quality care with a patient-first mentality.

That’s another reason why Dr. Morrison chose to work with Wyoming Surgical Associates. She saw how much the surgeons valued patient care and she knew that WSA was the place for her. At Wyoming Surgical Associations, the patients aren’t just a number — they’re not a bed, they’re not a problem to be solved, they’re not the means to a bottom line. The surgeons and the staff of Wyoming Surgical Associates see these patients for what they are: human beings who need help.

“The patients are my favorite part of the job for sure,” Dr. Morrison said. “Because when you see somebody actually get better, then you’re like, ‘Oh, all of this is worth it.’ It keeps you going. It’s a little bit of fuel to remind you, ‘This is why I do it.'”

This is why they do it. For Dr. Morrison, Dr. Gough, Dr. Turner and Dr. Beckstead, it’s the belief that they’re actually helping people, actually saving lives, actually making them better. That’s why they do it. These people are their friends, their families, their neighbors. And they can trust that when they come into Wyoming Surgical Associates, they’re in good hands.

“We love the community,” Dr. Gough remarked, “and we offer excellent surgical care that’s close to home.”

Dr. Morrison, from the time she was a child, has only ever wanted to help people. Now, she gets to do that on a daily basis, as part of a team of exceptional surgeons that are committed to taking care of their patients, of their friends, of their neighbors. 

“We do love the community,” Dr. Morrison stated. “And we’re here for the community. All of my loved ones are here, except for one sister. And I love taking care of these people. We want to keep people closer to home and give them better access to care.”

That’s exactly what Dr. Morrison, Dr. Gough, Dr. Beckstead and Dr. Turner are doing — one patient, one surgery, one human being at a time.

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