Four spine surgeons recount the moments in their career when they have felt the proudest.
Ask Spine Surgeons is a weekly series of questions posed to spine surgeons around the country about clinical, business and policy issues affecting spine care. We invite all spine surgeon and specialist responses.
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Question: What was the proudest moment of your career?
Vladimir Sinkov, MD. Spine Surgeon at New Hampshire Orthopaedic Center (Nashua): It would not call it a moment, but rather an achievement. I started my career by doing traditional "open" spine surgery and was getting good results, but I realized that there is a better way to do it. I trained myself by working with multiple mentors and attending multiple courses on how to do minimally invasive spine surgery, particularly lumbar fusions. This has transformed my career tremendously.
I saw my patients recover quicker, have fewer complications, return to work and function sooner, have less pain and overall be more satisfied with the process of surgery and postoperative recovery as well as the final results. Encouraged by this, I continue to seek better ways to help patients with spine problems as the field of spine surgery evolves to become less invasive and more precise.
Medhat Mikhael, MD. Pain Management Specialist and Medical Director of the Non-operative Program at the Spine Health Center at MemorialCare Orange Coast Medical Center (Fountain Valley, Calif.): Without question, the proudest moment of my career is anytime I am able to alleviate any patient's suffering from pain, particularly cancer patients. Also, when I am able to put a smile on their face and provide them hope that they can fight the chronic disease they are afflicted with.
Brian R. Gantwerker, MD. Founder of the Craniospinal Center of Los Angeles: By far and away it was obtaining my board certification in neurosurgery in 2014. My former program director happened to be around and he came in to give me and some of my former co-residents a little pep talk during the exam. Having my friends and mentors around me made something so anxiety-provoking palatable. Once I got word that I passed, the culmination of a 16-year journey was achieved. One of my dear friends/colleagues summed it up when I told him that I passed: "Welcome to the club." I am very proud and humbled to be counted amongst the members.
Payam Farjoodi, MD. Orthopedic Spine Surgeon at Spine Health Center at MemorialCare Orange Coast Medical Center (Fountain Valley, Calif.): The first time I had a colleague I trust and respect refer a family member to me for surgery. It was a validation of the effort I put in to give my patients the best care imaginable and it meant a lot to have that effort recognized.