What 4 spine surgeons are thankful for in 2023


Here are the things spine surgeons and physicians are grateful for in 2023 ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday.

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: Have you been involved in any interesting research lately? What are your findings?

Please send responses to Carly Behm at cbehm@beckershealthcare.com by 5 p.m. CST Wednesday, Nov. 29.

Editor's note: Responses were lightly edited for clarity and length.

Question: What are you most thankful for in 2023?

Peter Derman, MD. Texas Back Institute (Plano): I feel fortunate to have a profession that I find both intellectually stimulating and personally satisfying. It makes the years of training and long hours spent working worthwhile because I'm fascinated by the workings (and failings) of the spine. And the ability to profoundly change the lives of patients is deeply gratifying. Additionally, I am thankful to have a strong support network of friends, colleagues and family who make every day even more fulfilling and enjoyable. 

Brian Gantwerker, MD. The Craniospinal Center of Los Angeles: I am most thankful for my wife, son and my family for putting gas in the tank. It is very easy to become too obsessed with work and to throw oneself completely into your practice. The most important things are those that hold you up. You cannot help anyone if you don't have support. 

Gurtej Singh, MD. The Centers for Advanced Orthopaedics (Bethesda, Md.): I am most thankful for new treatment indications and RCT data that have helped me treat patients who were unable to be treated previously. High-frequency spinal cord stimulation offers an effective way to limit patients' nerve pain without the side effects of medications and can improve painful diabetic neuropathy. Data shows long-term relief and even improvement in Hgb A1C!  When patients ask me how well these treatments work and how long they last, I'm grateful to be able to point to three-year data showing functional success in one of the most debilitating conditions they face. 

Vijay Yanamadala, MD. Hartford (Conn.) HealthCare: In this time of turmoil throughout the world, I am grateful to be living in an area of the world that is stable, that allows me to continue to live the life I want with my family, and to take care of patients every day. These past few years of pandemic, wars and global uncertainty have forced me to reflect on what is truly important in life — taking care of my family and feeling at the end of the day that I did right by everyone that I touched that day, my patients, my staff, my family and the stranger on the road. 

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