Consult Physician Spotlight: Dr. Craig Burns desires to help people

Dr Craig Burns-R_August 2012_RGBDr. Craig Burns became a physician to help people. As a board-certified family physician, he was familiar with treating patients who suffer from chronic and severe back pain. He was able to help many patients find relief, but because of the gap between resources and patient needs, Dr. Burns was not able to help everyone.

“Being unable to offer my patients consistent relief became very frustrating,” he said.

Fortunately, one of his patients discovered Laser Spine Institute and underwent minimally invasive spine surgery. Dr. Burns was intrigued by the description of the procedure. “He had a successful endoscopic back surgery and was back to normal in no time. His improvement was amazing,” he remembered. “I contacted Laser Spine Institute in 2008 and discovered that they were looking for help during their expansion.”

Dr. Burns joined Laser Spine Institute in 2008 as a consult physician. Part of his job is to consult with individuals who are interested in finding relief through neck or back surgery. Laser Spine Institute offers each prospective surgical candidate a complimentary initial consultation that consists of a review of their symptoms and an interpretation of a current spinal MRI or CT scan.

“With this, I’m able to predict if and how Laser Spine Institute may be able to help them. I describe to them the surgery and answer their questions,” he said. “With this information, potential patients have a good idea of what they can expect from Laser Spine Institute’s outpatient surgeries. Many times, these patients have spoken with former patients who have had great relief with one of our procedures.”

As a consult physician, Dr. Burns answers many questions. One of the most popular questions that patients ask Dr. Burns is, “Why didn’t my prior surgeon recommend this type of procedure?” His response: “Your former surgeon may not be comfortable doing endoscopic spine surgery.”

“Surgeons perform operations that they are comfortable doing,” he said. “Endoscopic spine surgery is what Laser Spine Institute surgeons have done since they opened in 2005. In that time, we’ve performed more than 40,000 of these surgeries. Experience with this procedure is what makes us experts. Laser Spine Institute surgeons do more endoscopic spine surgeries each month than any other facility in the nation.”

Patients also frequently ask Dr. Burns for advice regarding neck or back pain. He encourages everyone to listen to his or her body, saying, “You’ll know when it’s time for surgery.” No two patients are the same; each one has a different pain threshold that may determine the need for surgery. Typically, though, patients know it’s time to consider surgery when neck or back pain starts impeding their daily activities such as standing, walking or bending.

“When they choose Laser Spine Institute, they can be confident that they’ll receive the best care possible,” he shared. “Because we offer minimally invasive endoscopic spine surgery, we can offer a high probability of gaining relief with a minimal risk of complications. Therefore, we can operate sooner than a surgeon who only offers invasive open spine surgery.”

When Dr. Burns isn’t helping patients find relief from neck or back pain, he and his wife are entertaining their two young boys. The family also enjoys going to professional sporting events and spending days at the beach or pool.

While back at work, Dr. Burns enjoys his job and all that it has to offer.

“My favorite thing is being surrounded by expert medical staff that is all focused on the goal of helping patients get their lives back. That is inspiring,” he said.

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