From honing minimally invasive surgical skills to establishing an independent spine practice and attracting more patients from abroad, six spine surgeons told Becker's about their biggest achievements this year.
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. Becker's invites all spine surgeon and specialist responses.
Next week's question: What are your practice's top priorities for 2023?
Please send responses to Alan Condon at firstname.lastname@example.org by 5 p.m. CDT Wednesday, Dec. 29.
Editor's note: Responses were lightly edited for clarity and length.
Question: What professional achievement are you most proud of from 2022?
Todd Lanman, MD. Lanman Spinal Neurosurgery and the Advanced Disc Replacement Spinal Restoration Center (Beverly Hills, Calif.): I'm most proud of my work over the last year in advancing the field of restorative motion surgery in the cervical spine. I have now successfully reversed failed fusions, placed artificial discs and restored spinal motion in a fairly large number of patients. The results have been quite impressive — patients are reporting markedly reduced neck pain and improved range of motion. It's professionally rewarding to see how happy and grateful my patients are after fusion revision surgery.
Andrew Fox, MD. Total Spine Institute (Sherman Oaks, Calif.): I am most proud of starting my own practice. I have been working for systems my entire career and after 17 years, I went out on my own to start this new venture. It is a group of pain management physicians, orthopedic spine surgeons and neurosurgeons. I'm excited about establishing this multidisciplinary spine practice for better patient care.
Brian Gantwerker, MD. The Craniospinal Center of Los Angeles: We had a very long year. Fortunately, the practice is doing well. Hopefully, this will continue. From a professional standpoint, we have been seeing more patients from abroad. We did this by spending time with patients, having cogent and coherent explanations and direct patient contact, rather than through mid-level practitioners. Patients enjoy the accountability and contact. The close contact, even during the global period — even though these are not remunerated — is incredibly important. By avoiding the big-box store style of practice, we have distinguished ourselves and pushed back against the trend of the surgeon being solely a technician or a "provider," and returning to the proper role of being a physician.
Vijay Yanamadala, MD. Hartford (Conn.) HealthCare: I was proud to be named to the North American Spine Society and SpineLine's "20 under 40" list this year in recognition of my efforts and my team's efforts to spearhead multidisciplinary spine care pathways over the past decade. Building on this work, we are looking to continue framing out pathways to bring the right care to every patient, and get every patient better in the least invasive manner possible.
Tibor Boco, MD. NorthShore Neurological Institute (Arlington Heights, Ill.): In the summer, we opened the NorthShore Spine and Pain Center at Northwest Community Hospital and brought state-of-the-art comprehensive neck and back pain care to our community in Arlington Heights and the Northwest Suburbs of Chicago. This center is a cutting-edge, one-stop facility where our patients can be expertly diagnosed and experience the whole breadth of treatment, from conservative modalities to minimally invasive spine surgery. It has been very exciting and fulfilling for me to lead this endeavor as medical director of spine surgery, and I am looking forward to a very successful 2023.
Emeka Nwodim, MD. The Centers for Advanced Orthopaedics (Bethesda, Md.): I am most proud of being part of a growing healthcare orthopedic corporation that is maximizing experiences in the clinical and business space.