Shriners Children’s: Welcome to Lexington

9th June 2023

Welcome back to our Open Bionics blog series shining an appreciation spotlight on one of the largest support networks for limb different children, Shriners Children’s. During the month of June, Open Bionics will be deep diving into clinics, sharing what they have to offer patients and highlighting members of the Bionic Squad who have received their Hero Arms through Shriners Children’s. On today’s journey, we are transporting you to Kentucky to see what makes Shriners Hospitals Lexington tick. 

Shriners Children’s Lexington was founded as part of the early systems’ effort to treat pediatric patients with polio. Doors for the very first facility were opened in 1926 and have remained operational ever since. As of today, Shriners Lexington is in its fourth facility. The original hospital boasted 20 beds and was in downtown Lexington. In the 1950s, the facility had outgrown its capacity and a larger facility was built on Richmond Road, which included 26 acres. As the Salk vaccine was introduced, the system evolved to treat a variety of service lines, including pediatric orthopedics, which includes from the rare, such as genetic disorders, to the routine, like broken bones. 

That facility would serve the community well until greater needs for operating spaces were identified. Entering the 1980s, a larger facility was completed and opened in the same Richmond Road location. This time, the new facility included 50 beds and multiple ORs and other specialty care areas. Healthcare needs continued to change and evolve, and trends showed that Lexington was still treating a significant number of patients, but inpatients stays were not common. This was not a Shriners specific trend, but a national one in all aspects of pediatric and adult care. 

In time, the Board of Governors decided to transform the focus and needs of the facilities to their current care model of an ambulatory surgery center, outpatient clinic, and rehab model. This model would become a leader for the system, and eventually Shriners Lexington entered a partnership with the University of Kentucky Children’s Hospital. The partnership allowed Lexington to not only continue their care but allowed them to become KCH’s orthopedic department and removed a competition barrier, which allowed for improved pediatric care for patients. 

In April of 2017, Shriners Lexington opened their newest and current facility, and since then has been growing in number of surgeries performed and patients treated and is one of 20 accredited Motion Analysis Centers in the world. With over 16,000 active patients, Shriners Lexington provides specialty pediatric orthopedic care such as sports injuries and fractures, spine disorders, hip, knee, and foot disorders, hand, arm and shoulder disorders, congenital limb deficiencies, amputations, and other orthopedic conditions. 

“At Shriners Children’s Lexington, we put patients first. Family-centered care creates an atmosphere of hope and healing. Our medical teams take the time to listen and help patients reach their own goals,” said Tony Lewgood, administrator for the medical center. “That allows us to get to the heart of healthcare, which should always be providing exceptional care to those who need it.” he said. 

With 2 state of the art operating rooms, 6 pre and post-operating rooms, and 4 recovery bays in Lexington’s surgical center, over 750 surgeries are performed annually. Shriners Lexington also prides itself on an impressive reach of services provided, treating patients from 30 states and 4 countries over the last 2 years with a current catchment area of Kentucky, Southern Indiana, Southern Ohio, most of West Virginia, and most of Tennessee.

“A significant benefit of our care model is we guide families through the entire journey right here in our facility,” Lewgood said. “This streamlines the patient’s care and allows providers at every level — from the surgeon to the physical therapist to the radiology tech and more – to collaborate to ensure the best possible outcome for our kids and our families.”

Open Bionics is extremely grateful for the service provided to every patient by the Shriners Lexington care team. Their commitment to improving the lives of children can never be understated. Shriners Lexington has, in addition, provided top notch care to those who’ve been fitted with Hero Arms, and we can’t wait to shine a spotlight soon on a Shriners Lexington Hero Arm user. Stay tuned! To learn more about Shriners Children’s Lexington, please visit To learn more about Open Bionics and the Hero Arm, visit