Drs. Issada Thongtrangan, Mark Mikhael & more: 6 spine, neurosurgeons on what drives them to constantly improve their practice

Written by Alan Condon | September 25, 2019 | Print  |

Six spine and neurosurgeons provide insight into what drives them to make their practice the best it can be.

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.

Next week's question: What changes would you like to see in spine care over the next five to 10 years?

Please send responses to Alan Condon at acondon@beckershealthcare.com by 5 p.m. CST Wednesday, Oct. 2.

Note: The following responses were edited for length and clarity.

Question: What inspires you to make your spine practice better every day? 

Issada Thongtrangan, MD. Microspine (Phoenix): Inspiration is what drives creativity, innovation and progress of all types. For me, seeing the smile from happy patients and their family members uplifts and inspires me to keep doing my best for every patient. Successfully dealing with challenging cases also makes me proud of myself and my team. Every day I set small goals for myself and make every effort to accomplish them. I also learn and explore the reasons why I could not accomplish my daily goals, so I can improve myself every day.

Andrew Cordover, MD. Andrews Sports Medicine & Orthopaedic Center (Birmingham, Ala.): Personal connections to my patients. Positive outcomes are extremely rewarding, and the fear of negative outcomes drives me to be better every day.

Scott Russo, MD. Orthopaedic Associates of Michigan (Grand Rapids): The needs of my patients and my passion for excellence in care. My team also lifts me up and supports me to do the things I must for my patients. 

Mark M. Mikhael, MD. Spine Surgeon at NorthShore Orthopaedic & Spine Institute and Illinois Bone & Joint Institute (Chicago & Glenview, Ill.): Seeing patients with great outcomes inspires me to constantly search for a better approach. There is always room for improvement. I continuously look at the data and literature for new findings. It is gratifying to find a better way to treat my patients, apply that new method and then see how it makes a real difference in the lives of my patients. 

Brian R. Gantwerker, MD. Founder of the Craniospinal Center of Los Angeles: As trite as it sounds, it's my patients. My everyday self is nourished by patients. I think I would have shut the door on medicine — let alone private practice — if not for the fulfillment I get from working with my patients. That is my gut check.  

Plas James, MD. Atlanta Spine Institute: Patient outcomes and patients being happy. Bottom line, you go into medicine to make people feel better and happy. I want my patients to leave my office with some kind of answer or path to resolving their problems.

More articles on spine:
Dr. Isaac Karikari: Changing attitudes toward opioids and how physicians can drive change
Dr. Timothy Kremchek to operate on Reds rookie Nick Senzel — 4 insights
Icotec to introduce new pedicle screw system — 4 insights 

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