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Q&A: Meet Eli Soto, M.D.

Q: What brought you into the field of pain management?

A: When I finished medical school in Puerto Rico, my primary focus was oncology. But during my residency training and various rotations, I was exposed to the field of pain management. I was attracted to it because it afforded me the opportunity to develop long-term relationships with patients suffering from chronic conditions while also providing interventional treatments. I completed two different fellowships in Hospice & Palliative Care at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, MD and Interventional Pain Management at Mount Sinai Beth Israel in NYC with leaders in those respective fields.

Q: What diagnostic specialties / treatments interest you most?

A: In general, I am most interested in complex cases regardless of the etiology of pain. I specialize in treating patients suffering from post-laminectomy syndrome, lumbar radiculopathy/sciatica, spinal stenosis, vertebral compression fractures, complex regional pain syndrome and cancer-related pain. In terms of treatments, my main interest is implantable devices such as spinal cord stimulators (including dorsal column and dorsal root ganglion), intrathecal drug delivery systems, peripheral nerve stimulators and the Vertiflex procedure. I also have an equal interest in vertebral augmentation techniques (vertebroplasty/kyphoplasty), ultrasound-guided procedures, platelet-rich plasma (PRP therapy) and stem cell therapy.

Q: What gets you excited about working at NSPC?

A: I have been practicing pain management for a decade. Working at NSPC provides the ability to network with well-established, world-renown physicians and collaborate with advanced clinical researchers so I can increase my knowledge exponentially and provide better care to my patients.

Q: What do you like most about your job?

A: I face very difficult situations on a daily basis and although not every patient responds well to therapy, it’s rewarding when a patient’s pain is alleviated and their quality of life is improved.

Q: What makes you different from other doctors in your practice?

A: The medical training that led to my career in interventional pain management was diverse. Thanks to that, together with my years of experience in treating cancer-related pain, I have expertise that affords me the ability to provide quality and effective care to my patients.

Q: What’s your favorite activity outside of work?

A: My favorite activity outside of work is fashion design. I also enjoy travel, running, cycling, photography, performing arts, cooking, and dining.

Q: What would you do for a living if you were not a doctor?

A: At this juncture, I would continue to pursue my passion for fashion design and my interest in the culinary arts.

Q: What is the most important factor in a doctor-patient relationship and why?

A: The most important factor is trust. Transparency can lead to excellent outcomes. Patients suffering from chronic conditions tend to develop a self-protecting shell that often occurs after multiple failed encounters throughout their treatment process. This is when mutual trust becomes such an important part of the patient’s care. It provides a safe environment where the patient feels comfortable and respected. Maintaining an open dialogue and providing viable care options allows patients to make informed decisions about their treatment plans.