Meet Dr. Theodore Koreckij, Spine Surgeon
My inspiration for orthopedic surgery started fairly early in life. I grew up in a small town where my dad was the orthopedic surgeon. Frequently on our trips into town together, we would come across a patient or a family member who would describe how wonderful they felt after the surgery my father performed. So I think my pathway toward orthopedic surgery was set fairly early on.
I focus on treating spine conditions because in my training, I found it to be challenging and therefore the most intellectually stimulating of the subspecialties in orthopedics I came across. I do feel there are some rules that should govern how you treat spine conditions, but there’s still very much an art to treating the spine patient.
The conditions treated in the spine typically revolve around two entities. One is compression of the spinal cord itself, also known as myelopathy, which can manifest itself as balance issues, coordination issues, loss of fine motor skills, difficulty buttoning your shirt or combing your hair. The other involves conditions associated with a radiculopathy, which is a nerve root injury that manifests as pain down the arm or leg, or numbness and tingling down a certain arm or leg.
Patient care should be a partnership, and in any partnership there should be education on both sides, so that both sides can come together on a decision that works for them. First and foremost I feel my role is education, and together with the patient – once they’re educated – we come up with the appropriate treatment.
The most rewarding part about being an orthopedic surgeon is being able to see such a rapid turnabout. The treatment that we’re providing, you can see it. If a patient has knee arthritis, you give them a total knee replacement surgery, and you can see that they’re doing better. If someone has a radiculopathy or a pinched nerve and I take that compression off, you see it immediately. So it’s very rewarding and if it’s done the right way, it should be rewarding very quickly.