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Seven Questions for a Functional Neurosurgeon

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Seven Questions for a Functional Neurosurgeon

Sep 14, 2023

What does it mean to be a functional neurosurgeon? This episode of Seven Questions for a Specialist aims to answer that. Specialist Ben Shofty, MD, PhD, explains the conditions he typically treats, questions he is frequently asked, and a crucial point everyone should know about their brain's health.

Episode Transcript

Interviewer: All right. Time for seven questions. Today it's seven questions for a functional neurosurgeon with Dr. Ben Shofty. Are you ready?

Dr. Shofty: I am.

#1: What is a Functional Neurosurgeon?

Dr. Shofty: So functional neurosurgery is a subspecialty inside neurosurgery that deals with functional disorders of the brain, which are disorders in which there's no tumor, there's no bleed or anatomical abnormality, but the brain is not wired correctly.

#2: What is it You Can Do for Patients?

Dr. Shofty: We can offer a variety of different surgeries that can help either cure or greatly improve Parkinson's disease, essential tremor, dystonia, epilepsy, psychiatric disorders like treatment-resistant depression and OCD.

#3: What Would Surprise Me About What You Do?

Dr. Shofty: I think the relative safety of the surgeries. I mean all we do are quality-of-life surgeries, and I think they're much safer and the recovery is much easier than people tend to believe.

#4: What's the Best Thing I Can Do for Brain Health?

Dr. Shofty: Healthy living, you know, exercise, eat well, sleep well.

Interviewer: That always comes back to that, doesn't it?

Dr. Shofty: Yeah, definitely. And try to be active. You know? The worst thing for a brain, just like any other muscle in the body, is not using it.

#5: What's the Most Common Question You Get When Somebody Finds Out What You Do?

Like you're at a party and they find out. What's the next thing you know they're going to ask?

Dr. Shofty: Aren't you scared?

Interviewer: About being a surgeon?

Dr. Shofty: About, you know, doing these surgeries, taking the responsibility, living with the stress. These are the main things.

Interviewer: And you're not scared.

Dr. Shofty: I mean, I'm scared every day, but that's part of what makes it interesting, right?

Interviewer: It also keeps you on your toes I'd imagine.

Dr. Shofty: Definitely.

#6: What Music Do You Listen to Help You Focus?

Dr. Shofty: When I write, I listen to classical music, and when I operate, I just listen to whatever is the most popular music the people in the room like.

Interviewer: Got to keep the morale up, huh?

Dr. Shofty: Yeah. It always has to be something happy, right? We don't listen to sad music in the OR.

#7: What Do You Love About What You Do?

Dr. Shofty: I love meeting people. You know? I love seeing people, and I love trying to help them and showing them that there's a different, possibly better future out there for them.