What’s On Your Brain? Dr. Laura Snyder
Laura Snyder, MD, FAANS, is one of two female neurosurgeons at Barrow, the nation’s largest neurosurgical center in the country. Only six percent of board-certified practicing neurosurgeons in the US are women. Dr. Snyder performs minimally invasive spine surgery, robotic spine surgery, complex spine surgery, and treats pathologies such as spinal stenosis, lumbar instability, and spinal tumors. She also conducts research to compare patient outcomes among different surgical approaches.
Why Did You Choose to Stay at Barrow after Your Residency?
I felt that the spirit and mission of Barrow were aligned with how I wanted to treat patients. There’s a commitment to excellence in everything – providing excellence in neurosurgery, innovation and conscientious care for patients.
What is Your Favorite Memory from Your Residency or Fellowship?
I have a lot of great memories from my residency and fellowship here. These memories range from learning my first cases, to seeing patients make incredible recoveries, to hiking the Grand Canyon Rim-to Rim and road biking with my colleagues. I got married during my fourth year of residency… my wedding was a celebration of my relationship with my husband, and I was happy to celebrate it with a lot of people from Barrow! My colleagues at Barrow had become family.
What Inspired You to Become a Surgeon?
I always wanted to be a doctor because I wanted to help people on a daily basis. I wanted to be a surgeon because I liked the immediacy of being able to use my hands to help someone. The technical challenges of surgery also appealed to me. With spine surgery, it is really rewarding to perform a surgery for patients who are disabled with pain and then see them back to work.
What Do You Enjoy Doing Outside of Work?
I enjoy spending time with my family – my husband and my one-year-old daughter. I also enjoy being active. That is another reason why spine surgery is so appealing to me, because it’s about getting my patients back to being active. I competed in triathlons and USTA tournament tennis when I was younger. I’m pretty intense about playing tennis when I get the opportunity.
What Inspires You?
My patients are my inspiration: I love to see them doing well and getting better. It’s inspiring to have patients come back to clinic six weeks after surgery and give me a big hug. I had a patient who said she felt like I was her guardian angel. It’s worth being here 80 hours a week if I can provide that care for patients..
How Would You Describe Innovation at Barrow?
Between robotic spine surgery and minimally invasive spine surgery and research in all areas of Neurosugery, at Barrow we want to stay at the peak of innovation and technology. It’s not enough to be a technically good Neurosurgeon. You have to want to continue to improve and learn and discover At Barrow, I and my colleagues want to be technically good Neurosurgeons as well as innovate ways to make surgery better.