For over 20 years, I have enjoyed practicing specialized, patient-centered care. We help people of all ages understand their hand, wrist, forearm or elbow conditions, and assist them in choosing personalized treatment. I strive to understand which issues are important to you. In some instances, though you might have an abnormal test or X-ray, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you need surgery. We help patients with surgical and non-surgical specialty care, including hand therapy, exercises, medications, injections, splinting, and casting.
Distal radius wrist fracture treatment and research is a special area of surgical expertise. While at the University of Minnesota, I invented, patented and developed the internal fixation plate and techniques for volar plating of the distal radius with Matthew Putnam, MD, and Charles Jennings, MD. Newer versions of our original plate are now commonly used by most hand surgeons in the USA to treat these common injuries.
I have enjoyed teaching the beautiful intricacies of hand surgery to young doctors and hand therapists for over 20 years in the USA and abroad. As a founding board member of the Twin Cities Orthopedic Foundation, I am an active volunteer locally and in Nicaragua. I started the International Orthopedic Scholar Program with Kurt Anderson, MD, in 2015. As president of the Abbott-affiliated subgroup for over 10 years, and as a Twin Cities Orthopedics board member for 10 years, I am proud of my leadership efforts that helped build TCO into one of the world’s largest orthopedic group practices.
Originally from Philadelphia, I married my wife, Katie, who is a Minnesotan and a busy pediatrician at Central Pediatrics in Woodbury. We’ve lived in the Twin Cities since 1988 and raised three children here. I enjoy travel, golf, fly-fishing, photography, scuba, carpentry and cycling.
Elbow Care, including Joint Replacement, Tendon Transfers, Arthritis, and Tennis Elbow
Hand Care, including Mini-Open Carpal Tunnel Release, Arthritis, Tendon Repairs, and Fractures
Pediatric Care, including Injuries, Trigger Thumbs, Cysts, and Congenital Differences
Sports Medicine, including Wrist and Elbow Arthroscopy, and Ligament Reconstructions
Wrist Care, including Fractures, Arthritis, Rheumatoid, Ligament Injuries, and Ganglions
Board Certified, American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery
Subspecialty Certification in Hand Surgery
Hand and Upper Extremity Fellowship at University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota Department of Orthopedic Surgery
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
Certificate Program in Management for Physicians, University of St. Thomas
Hospital & Surgery Center Affiliations
Abbott Northwestern Hospital
Crosstown Surgery Center
Eagan Orthopedic Surgery Center
Fairview Southdale Hospital
WestHealth Surgery Center
Fellow, American Society for Surgery of the Hand
Fellow, American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
American Medical Association
Minnesota Orthopaedic Society
Achievements & Awards
Top Doctor, Hand Surgery, Mpls.St.Paul Magazine (2007)
Top Doctor, Minnesota Monthly Magazine (2019)
Co-Developer and Inventor, SCS Distal Radius Plating System
US Patent No. 5,586,985
US Patent No. 6,755,831
University of Minnesota Department of Orthopaedic Surgery (1996 – 2009)
Course Co-Director and Speaker:
Practical Orthopedics for Primary Care, TCO (2006 – 2013)
Orthopedic Options for Primary Care, Allina (2013)
Doctors Demystify Upper Extremity Wound Care (2016)
Orthopedic and Trauma Conference, Hennepin County Medical Center (2015)
As a “senior” I expect detailed information and a thorough explanation regarding surgical and medical procedures, and with my recent carpal tunnel/trigger finger I am happy to report that both verbal and written information before and after surgery was helpful and supportive. There was no wait time and cleanliness and safety was very evident from Dr. Gesensway and all of the staff involved with the surgery. I made a post-op phone call which was returned immediately. The pain management recommendations and plan was extremely useful without narcotic meds. With a right hand involved and size of the bandage/cast, I was not completely prepared for using my left hand for eating, dressing, meal preparation or hair washing and needed a little help. Not much dish washing or house work was done with my left hand since I live alone. I was happy to drive myself, rest when needed and slept well through the night. I also had an excuse to buy a few clothes to fit over the bandage/cast to make dressing easier. My adult, grown daughter warned me to have a post-op plan, and I did.
August 13, 2020
Dr. Gesensway and his team gave me the feeling that they cared about my minor injury. I had a piece of fiberglass from a shovel handle stuck in my thumb at a bad angle. Dr. Gesensway gladly removed it with a smile. Then sewed me up and sent me home for a week and I’m on my way to a great recovery. I am glad to say thanks to him and his team for giving the caring factor.
I just want to thank Dr. Gesensway and his team (Julie in PT and Sarah his medical coordinator) for all their hard work to get me fixed up. I had Dupuytrens disease in my left palm and in 2 fingers on the same hand. Had surgery in October 2019 and after a month or so I had full use of my left hand. If luck would have it, I also had Dupuytrens in my right palm and extensive damage to my pinky finger from a prior surgery, and Dupuytrens in my little finger to complicate matters. Dr. Gesensway took care of me for this in early December of 2019. Although I am still tender and recovering from the latter, his work and expertise in surgery is wonderful. He is a very caring yet funny guy. He actually takes the time to explain things and listens to feedback, unlike a lot of health care professionals. Thanks again Dr. Gesensway.
December 24, 2019
I was not happy to break both my wrists at the same time, but I was very thankful to land at TCO and under Dr. David Gesensway’s care. He explained my options, the surgeries, the recovery and all pertinent details clearly. His staff and the TCO surgery staff were considerate and kept up the concise discussion of needed preparations and follow through. Julie was great in the physical therapy department and I was a studious PT patient. After two months I am healed and ready to return to my busy and active life. I cannot say enough positive things about Dr. Gesensway, his medical and surgical expertise, empathetic manner and the staff that supports him. Thank you sooooo much!
December 10, 2019
How glad I was that I was given Dr. Gesensway to take care of me. His professionalism is beyond most. His sequence of pre-op questions were pertinent. His team of nurses, technicians, anesthesiologists and all who work for him were friendly and ready to operate and heal me with no complaints that I was the last surgery of the day and the week. Dr. Gesensway is a reassuring comfort with his smile and observance of my swelling and pain after the fall and post op. Only God Almighty directed me to his door and office in such a timely manner. Thank you all for assisting in the rehabilitation of my right arm so I can return to my chores at home as a wife, grandmother and mother. I look forward to playing golf with my husband, Roger, of fifty years this spring.
May 13, 2019
I want to personally thank Dr. Gesensway for the amazing experience with my hand surgery. My fingers have been bent for a very long time and never thought I would be able to have full use of my hand and fingers. Dr. Gesensway was very knowledgeable on this rare condition and has been very helpful after the surgery with recovery and advice. I would strongly recommend Dr. Gesensway! Ben I.
March 26, 2019
I fractured my wrist two days before Christmas. I am extremely grateful that Dr. Gesensway and the TCO staff were so thoughtful, proactive, and organized that I was able to have surgery during the short holiday week rather than waiting 10 days. Dr. Gesensway is very personable and an excellent surgeon. My healing process was so much faster than my previous wrist fracture. (Yes, I must be a klutz or maybe just have bad luck when it comes to snow and ice.) He is also a good teacher; I valued having an understanding of my injury and the treatment involved. I especially appreciated how he would repeat certain instructions during post-op appointments. There was no second guessing myself when I wondered what I can or should not do.
March 8, 2019
I am very thankful that I received such outstanding care from Dr. Gesensway at Twin Cities Orthopedics. He is a true professional and a superior surgeon. My healing has come along so much quicker than expected due to his skills. I have never fractured a wrist before (Colles fracture) but from the minute I walked in the door and met Dr. Gesensway, I suspected I was in for a good experience. I was by no means disappointed in any of the initial or follow-up care he and his team provided. Many thanks to David, Julia, Laura, and many others with whom I have had the pleasure to interact as a result of the bad fall I took on the ice. Thanks to all of you!
September 5, 2018
I was in a car accident this past May that put me in the emergency room. I was found to have a broken scaphoid bone in my left hand (of course my dominant hand). The first opinion was “immediate surgery.” I sought a second opinion from Dr. Gesensway; he examined my x-rays and CT scan of my hand very carefully and discovered that the bones in my hand had auto-fused. Because the bones had auto-fused, the scaphoid was stabilized and could heal with assistance of a new ultra-sound device that would trigger blood flow to the bone to accelerate healing without surgery. I chose to use the device as instructed and IT WAS SUCCESSFUL. The bone has healed without surgery!
October 26, 2017
I have seen Dr. Gesensway for several years. I have diabetes which has brought on pain and stiffness in my hands due to trigger fingers. With each surgery performed, he has brought back normal function to my hands. He is so amazing. His technique, knowledge, bedside manner, and genuine concern is outstanding. I am truly blessed to have him in my life.
November 15, 2016
Dr. Gesensway is an outstanding orthopedic hand surgeon. I had been experiencing pain in my hands and numbness in my arms, becoming progressively worse. He spent time with me prior to surgery, evaluating my symptoms and determining the need for not only the carpal tunnel release, but also the lacertus fibrosus release (specifically for the arm numbness and thumb weakness). I had both surgeries performed (4 months apart) and received IMMEDIATE POSTOPERATIVE RELIEF (in the OR) of the numbness and weakness. Dr. Gesensway is an outstanding physician, highly skilled and knowledgeable, with great bedside manner. I would recommend his care highly.
October 18, 2016
Couldn’t be more satisfied with him. Very personable, friendly, and keeps you at ease while explaining everything completely. I would recommend him to anyone needing a surgeon in his field.
I cannot express how good of a physician Dr. Gesensway is. He is very compassionate and understanding. He puts you at ease and explains the procedure thoroughly. I would highly recommend him. He is truly an outstanding surgeon. The staff was also kind and outstanding. I felt so safe in their hands.
March 7, 2012
David Gesensway, MD treated Thomas for Dupuytren’s contracture, which was affecting the middle finger on his right hand. “I am very pleased with my total experience from my date of surgery to my completion of physical therapy,” said Thomas. “Dr. Gesensway is a real professional,” he said.