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Q&A: Brian R. Subach, MD FACS

Dr. Brian Subach is driven in his work by seeing patients’ faces and reactions once their pain is gone.

“I help my patients by treating their pain with a surgical solution once more conservative strategies have failed,” he said. “I love the technical aspects of my profession. Quite simply, I fix their necks and backs with a lasting and effective solution when they have nowhere else to turn.”

A board certified and fellowship-trained spinal neurosurgeon, Dr. Subach joined the National Spine and Pain Centers in March 2021. He brings nearly two decades of experience to the practice.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Kalamazoo College and his Doctor of Medicine from the University of Michigan School of Medicine. The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center in Pennsylvania was the site for his general surgery internship and neurosurgery residency. He completed a complex spinal disorders fellowship at Emory University/The Emory Clinic in Atlanta, GA.

What brought you into the field of pain management?

As a board certified and fellowship-trained spinal neurosurgeon, I decided to help my patients by treating their pain with a surgical solution once more conservative strategies have failed. I remove ruptured discs, repair degenerative arthritis, and reconstruct injuries while restoring balance and alignment to the spine. I love the technical aspects of my profession! Quite simply, I fix the necks and backs of patients who have nowhere else to turn by providing a lasting and effective solution.

What diagnostic specialties / treatments are you most interested in?

I have extensive experience in minimally-invasive cervical and lumbar surgery that utilizes the latest techniques in fluoroscopic (x-ray) guidance to deliver the treatment to the exact source of the pain. This includes cervical artificial disc surgery, hybrid cervical fusion and robotic surgery. I also perform lumbar fusion, combining oblique (OLIF), direct lateral (XLIF) and transforaminal (TLIF) approaches to relieve pain and improve posture.

What gets you excited about working at an NSPC-affiliated practice?

We at NSPC offer the entire spectrum of non-surgical and surgical treatments. I am excited to take care of patients with a wide variety of problems and am confident that my partners and I can successfully treat them.

What do you like most about your job?

I love the technical challenge of performing the actual surgical procedures. What makes me truly love what I do and drives me to keep working is the faces and reactions of the patients once their pain is gone.

What makes you different from other doctors in your practice?

I am different from the other doctors in my practice in two ways.

First, although I am the neurosurgeon, I do not believe that everyone is a candidate for surgery.

Second, I believe that surgery is more effective when combined with medications, physical therapy and injections. Surgery is only part of the solution.

What’s your favorite activity outside of work?

My release is exercise. Balancing strength training and cardiovascular fitness is as important as meditation and relaxation. Total body wellness is my goal.

What would you do for a living if you weren’t a doctor?

I would probably be a police officer or a Marine. I have a strong belief in what is right and wrong. The discipline and patriotism of a soldier is something I admire.

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

The most important factor is trust. Without trust and a forthright discussion of options available, how can each of us have confidence in the decisions we are making together. I strive to earn the trust of each of my patients.

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