Dr. Richard Fessler: The top practice challenge + 5 pieces of advice for new spine surgeons

Laura Dyrda -   Print  |

Richard Fessler, MD, is a board-certified neurosurgeon at Chicago-based Rush University Medical Center. He has focused his practice on minimally invasive spine surgery as well as treating spinal cord injury patients.

Dr. Fessler is a featured speaker at the Becker's 17th Annual Future of Spine + The Spine, Orthopedic and Pain Management-Driven ASC Conference, June 13-15 in Chicago. Click here to learn more and register. For more information about exhibitor and sponsor opportunities, contact Maura Jodoin at mjodoin@beckershealthcare.com.

Here, Dr. Fessler discusses the big challenges for his practice today and offers five pieces of advice for new spine surgeons embarking on their careers

Question: What is the biggest challenge your practice is facing today? How are you overcoming it?

Dr. Richard Fessler: I have several major challenges to my practice. First, my referrals are far more than I can handle. I handle this in three ways. First, I have a nurse practitioner that sees most of my returns except for the first postoperative visit. Second, I refer many patients to my junior partners, especially if the happen to specialize in pathology of the particular patient. Third, I evaluate referrals to see if they are appropriate for my specific practice.

Q: What are your top one or two goals for your practice over the next three to five years? How do you see it growing and developing?

RF: Continue to develop minimally invasive alternatives for open spine procedures and make current MIS procedures even more minimally invasive.

Q: What advice do you have for new spine surgeons just entering the field?

RF: So many things:

1) Recognize that when you finish residency, you are not fully trained. You will learn more in your first few years of practice than you did in residency.

2) Be prepared that your first job will most likely not be your last job.

3) Work hard.

4) Don't whine or demand.

5) Understand that as important as your career is, your spouse and children are much more important. Don't lose them.

Learn more about the top trends in spine surgery at the Becker's 17th Annual Future of Spine + Spine, Orthopedic & Pain Management-Driven ASC Conference - Click here

To participate in future Becker's Q&As, contact Laura Dyrda at ldyrda@beckershealthcare.com.

More articles on spine surgery:
The biggest opportunities in spine: 8 surgeons on practice & technology growth
The spine technology trends on the horizon: 3 Qs with Dr. Harel Deutsch
Top 5 hospitals for spinal cord injury from spine specialists


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