Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Which health insurance plans do you accept?

I accept a wide variety of plans including: 

  • Medicare
  • Colorado Medicaid
  • Blue Cross/Blue Shield
  • Cigna
  • United Healthcare
  • Cofinity
  • Presbyterian
  • Coventry
  • First Health
  • Multiplan
  • GEHA
  • HMN
  • AHR
  • Pinnacol WC

       Please note that you should call your insurance to verify eligibility with your exact plan.

Q:  What are your hours?

My group’s (Animas Orthopedic Associates) office hours are from 8:00am to 5:00pm, Monday through Thursday, and 8:00am to 3:00pm on Friday.

Doctor Butzen sees patients on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, each week. Appointments can be made by calling the practice at (970) 259-3020, and asking for an appointment with Doctor Butzen.

If you have an emergency, please call 911.


Q:  What should I bring with me when I come for an appointment?

  • Drivers License or other Identification
  • Insurance Information ***Ask Front Desk what this means***
  • All related prior imaging (X-rays, CT scans, MRIs). Please bring films or a disc of the images.
  • If you've had surgery before, please bring the medical records from this, including the surgical report.
  • List of Medical History and Medication List.


Q:  What is an orthopedic surgeon?

An orthopedic surgeon is a medical doctor who has completed at least 13 years of schooling and training in the diagnosis, treatment, rehabilitation, and prevention of musculoskeletal injuries. Some orthopedic surgeons treat specific regions of the body (hip, knee, shoulder) while other surgeons treat specific populations of patients (pediatrics, trauma, athletes).

Doctor Butzen has completed 16 years of schooling and training, and his focus is on sports injuries and upper extremity injuries. He has completed additional fellowship training on the upper extremity.


Q:  What is board certification? 

Following the completion of formal training including schooling and residency/fellowship (on-the-job training) there is a confirmation of skills process called board certification. This involves a written test followed 2 years later with an oral exam. Passing these exams certifies (board certifies) an orthopedic surgeon through the American Board of Orthopedic Surgery (ABOS).  

Doctor Butzen is board certified until 2025, at which point he will re-certify with the board.


Q:  What is the difference between open and arthroscopic surgery?

Arthroscopic surgery is performed for joint-related injuries like ACL tears in the knee and rotator cuff tears in the shoulder. Smaller incisions are made, with access to the joint by dividing tissue planes, using a small camera for visualization. Joints amenable to arthroscopic surgery are the shoulder, elbow, wrist, knee, and ankle. Advantages of arthroscopic surgery include more rapid relief of surgical pain, less postoperative restrictions, and quicker return to activities. 

Open surgery involves incisions on the skin, and deep dissection in an open manner. This is typically necessary for technically difficult procedures like fracture fixation and joint replacement, and when greater visualization is required. When appropriate, a mini-open procedure can minimize many of the risks of open surgery while retaining some of the benefits.


Q:  What is joint replacement surgery?

When a joint is worn, the surface layer of cartilage is thinned or damaged, resulting in inflammation, stiffness, and pain. Initial treatment for this condition is conservative, but in the absence of symptom improvement, a joint replacement may be necessary for symptom relief. Joint replacement, also called an arthroplasty involves removal of the surface of the joint and replacement of the surfaces of the joint. In the case of a total knee replacement, this is with metal and plastic bearing surfaces. In the case of a finger joint, this is with soft tissue or flexible implant interposition.


Q:  Should I apply ice or heat to an injury?

Ice should be used in the first 48 hours, or in the presence of an injury causing inflammation (swelling). Ice helps inflammation by decreasing the blood flow to the area. It is generally recommended to apply ice for 20 minutes at a time, with a rest period of 20 minutes (20 minutes on - 20 minutes off).

Heat helps to decrease pain and increase joint mobility. This would not be appropriate in a case of inflammation, as it would increase the blood flow and increase the swelling. In the case of rehab or therapy following the acute injury phase, a common strategy to improve range of motion is to start by applying heat to the area to warm it up, then perform the exercises (which will generate some inflammation), followed by a period of icing to relieve the pain and swelling.


Q:  What are NSAIDs and how do they work?

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are non-prescription, over-the-counter pain relievers such as aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen sodium. They are popular treatments for muscular aches and pains, as well as arthritis.

NSAIDs not only relieve pain, but also help to decrease inflammation, prevent blood clots, and reduce fevers. They work by blocking the actions of the cyclooxygenase (COX) enzyme. There are two forms of the COX enzyme. COX-2 is produced when joints are injured or inflamed, which NSAIDS counteract. COX-1 protects the stomach lining from acids and digestive juices and helps the kidneys function properly. This is why side effects of NSAIDs may include nausea, upset stomach, ulcers, or improper kidney function.


Q:  What is a cortisone/corticosteroid injection?

Cortisone is a steroid that is produced naturally in the body, which has natural anti-inflammatory activity. Synthetically-produced cortisone works in a similar way, and can also be injected into soft tissues and joints to help decrease inflammation. While cortisone is not a pain reliever, pain may diminish as a result of reduced inflammation. In orthopedics, cortisone injections are commonly used as a treatment for chronic conditions such as bursitis, tendinitis, and arthritis.


Q:  What is tendon/ligament/cartilage?

A tendon is a band of tissue that connects muscle to bone. A ligament is an elastic band of tissue that connects bone to bone and provides stability to the joint. Cartilage is a soft, gel-like padding between bones that protects joints and facilitates movement.


Q:  What is the difference between X-rays, MRI, and CT (CAT) Scan?

X-rays are a type of radiation, and when they pass through the body, dense objects such as bone block the radiation and appear white on the x-ray film, while less dense tissues appear gray and are difficult to see. X-rays are typically used to diagnose and assess bone degeneration or disease, fractures and dislocations, infections, or tumors.

Organs and tissues within the body contain magnetic properties. MRI, or magnetic resonance imaging, combines a powerful magnet with radio waves (instead of x-rays) and a computer to manipulate these magnetic elements and create highly detailed images of structures in the body. Images are viewed as cross sections or “slices” of the body part being scanned. There is no radiation involved as with x-rays. MRI scans are frequently used to diagnose bone and joint problems.

A computed tomography (CT) scan (also known as CAT scan) is similar to an MRI in the detail and quality of image it produces, yet the CT scan is actually a sophisticated, powerful x-ray that takes 360-degree pictures of internal organs, the spine, and vertebrae. By combining x-rays and a computer, a CT scan, like an MRI, produces cross-sectional views of the body part being scanned. In many cases, a contrast dye is injected into the blood to make the structures more visible. CT scans show the bones of the spine much better than MRI, so they are more useful in diagnosing conditions affecting the vertebrae and other bones of the spine.