I've had several patients who initially dreaded spinal surgery. They worried about a prolonged hospital stay and feared they'd lose a bit of themselves, or they'd lose body function and become dependent on family, a burden. Then, after a surgery with minimal disruption of muscles and tissues, they wake up with complete relief of their back pain. After recovering from anesthesia, they can stand and even walk the next day. They come to the hospital in a wheelchair, and they leave walking. There are great efforts to catch patients with spine metastases or smaller tumors that we can remove to allow patients to regain their capabilities. These are real success stories.
I always enjoyed using my hands. I played ball sports and karate, and when I pursued medicine, I always thought my direction was surgical. I had been a neuroscience undergrad, so I gravitated toward neurosurgery. As I shadowed many surgeons, I saw firsthand how big of a difference these neurosurgeons could make. I was amazed by their detail-oriented dexterity, as well as the extent of the impact these physicians can have in the lives of their patients. They made a difference for patients in their most vulnerable state.
As an assistant professor in the UW School of Medicine Department of Neurological Surgery, I work as a neurosurgeon who performs spine surgery with a focus on spinal oncology. I work closely with colleagues from the Department of Oncology and the Department of Radiation Oncology to provide a multidisciplinary approach to spine tumor patients with a goal of optimizing their quality of life. My clinical interests include neurological spinal oncology (spine metastases and primary bone tumors); spine radiosurgery and stereotactic ablative radiotherapy; intradural spinal cord tumors; degenerative spine; spine trauma; robotic surgery; image-guided navigation surgery; minimally invasive spine surgery; kyphoplasty; and vertebroplasty.
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
New York Medical College
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
At Fred Hutch, you receive care from a team of providers with extensive experience in your disease. Your team includes doctors, a patient care coordinator, a registered nurse, an advanced practice provider and others, based on your needs. You also have access to experts like nutritionists, social workers, acupuncturists, psychiatrists and more who specialize in supporting people with cancer or blood disorders.
Fred Hutch accepts most national private health insurance plans as well as Medicare. We also accept Medicaid for people from Washington, Alaska, Montana and Idaho. We are working to ensure that everyone, no matter what their financial situation, has access to the care they need.