Daniel Rubio, MD, an orthopaedic spine surgeon, says the best part of his job is getting patients back on their feet.
“When I first meet a patient, they are in pain. They can’t do the things they want to and are eager to get back to their active lifestyle,” Dr. Rubio says. “One of the great things about spine surgery is identifying their problem, working with them to develop a treatment plan, and seeing them enjoying their lives again.”
Dr. Rubio has a particular interest in spinal deformity in both adults and children. “In children, our concern is that after a certain magnitude, these deformities can worsen even after the spine stops developing,” he explains. “A spine surgeon’s task is to decrease the risk that their deformity worsens with both surgical and non-surgical strategies.”
“In adults, we commonly see deformity as the result of normal wear-and-tear of the spine, as well as following prior spine surgeries.” With any of these conditions, people may have significant back or leg pain, difficulty with balance, or maintaining upright posture, Dr. Rubio says. “And as the body tries to compensate, they can even develop hip and knee problems,” he adds.
Recognizing that spinal surgery is intimidating for patients, Dr. Rubio says he reassures patients by telling them they are in good hands at Yale. “At an academic medical center, we usually employ the newest surgical treatments and there are so many people working to get one person better again,” he says. “We all work together very well at Yale. Whether it is a patient with sciatica or a rare genetic disorder, I know I can reach out to any number of subspecialists to create the best possible treatment plan.”