DR. JOHN G. STRUGAR believes that neurosurgeons today are fighting against a combination of environmentally induced damage to the body and to the genetic accumulation of thousands of years of evolution, as they try to extend health and life spans. “To accomplish that goal while doing what makes sense, the challenge remains to apply our surgical knowledge while not putting the patient at risk,” he says. A board-certified neurological surgeon who specializes in intracranial and spinal surgery, Dr. Strugar maintains that a well-informed patient is a major asset when it comes to treating brain tumors, spine and peripheral nerve problems. “I want my patients to be well-informed and learn, so they can better understand the often life-changing diagnoses they are facing,” he says. “This allows me to move the patient to a more complex understanding. It’s a great assistance when the patient becomes a partner in the treatment.” In addition to the need to educate patients, Dr. Strugar notes that technology has had a major impact on his practice. “Enormous changes such as artificial spinal discs, variable-pressure shunting techniques and minimally invasive procedures have allowed us to be much more efficient and successful in treating patients,” he says. Dr. Strugar’s uppermost goal is to preserve the patient’s function. “I treat my patients just as I would treat a family member,” he says. “There is no better feeling than when I achieve a result in which the patient is clearly helped by the intervention.” One of his greatest satisfactions, he says, is “personally knowing the people and the families I treat.” Dr. Strugar, who completed his medical education and neurosurgical training at New York University and the Yale University School of Medicine, is an assistant clinical professor in the Department of Neurosurgery at Yale University, and chief of neurosurgery at Waterbury Hospital. He has extensive experience with minimally invasive spinal surgery, disc arthroplasty (artificial discs), spinal tumors and intracranial tumors of the skull base. He has published and presented extensive research on a wide range of topics including brain and spinal tumors and acute spinal cord and traumatic brain injury.
Organizations: Congress of Neurological Surgeons
American Medical Association
Connecticut State Neurosurgical Society
Connecticut Medical Society
North American Spine Society