PM&R Dr. Dennis Dykstra Retires

After nearly 27 years as the Department Head of Rehabilitation Medicine, and 38 years as faculty, Dennis Dykstra, MD, PhD, has retired.

Dr. Dykstra began his faculty career at the University of Minnesota, Medical School, Department of Rehabilitation Medicine (formerly the Department of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation) in 1981. Where he became Department Head in 1991.

A two-time Young Investigator Award winner from the Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Education and Research Foundation, Dr. Dykstra expanded his research interests to include participation and leadership in numerous research projects involving the novel uses of botulinum neurotoxins in his tenure. Over the years, he translated his research interests into a vibrant clinical practice utilizing botulinum neurotoxins to manage patients with dystonia, spasticity, chronic migraine, sialorrhea, and numerous other painful conditions.

Dr. Dysktra was the first to utilize Botox for treatment of spastic bladder. Although he has passed this expertise onto the urologists and no longer assists with these procedures, he was instrumental in bringing this treatment to patients struggling with bladder spasms.

Treatment of patients with migraine headache using Botox was another innovative treatment pioneered by Dr. Dykstra. Botox is now FDA-approved for treatment of migraine headaches and has made a substantial improvement in patient's lives; minimizing or eliminating trips to the emergency room, limiting days lost from work, decreasing use of oral and injectable headache medications, and improving overall quality of life. Patients have told our team that starting treatment with Botox has literally “saved their lives.”

Residents and fellows knew Dr. Dykstra as the keeper of doctor jokes and the founder of the "secret handshake".

It is difficult to describe the breadth of expertise that Dr. Dykstra and his team have accumulated over the course of 30 years of clinical practice. His knowledge, humor and the secret handshake will continue to be shared amongst the department and community. Thank you to Dr. Dykstra for his dedication and unwavering service to the Medical School and Department.