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Nathan Simmons, MD

Medical School
University of Virginia School of Medicine

Board Certification
Neurological Surgery

Specialties
Cervical disc replacement, minimally invasive spine surgery, benign and metastatic spine tumors, spine fractures, spinal radiosurgery, spinal injuries, spinal surgery

At Dartmouth-Hitchcock since 2002

Meet Your Doctor

What led you to work in health care?

A variety of factors led to those decisions. However, an important element is that we have the unique privilege to work intimately with people and, hopefully, improve their lives. Very few careers offer that sort of fulfillment.

What about your line of work do you find most rewarding and why?

Working in neurosurgery, we see a wide range of conditions and severity. Too often we deal with devastating injury or disease. Yet the resilience of the patients and families always amazes me and makes me work harder to assist them through those times.

On the other end of the spectrum, we also have the chance to assist people with incapacitating pain or dysfunction. Often these are spine based problems. To hear how people describe that they can once again work, play, and enjoy life has to be one of the most satisfying aspects of the field.

In your opinion, what is the most important factor in your relationship with patients?

Honesty. Patients who are open and honest with their symptoms, needs, and goals give us the best chance to remedy their complaints. Likewise, I strive to give a completely honest opinion about the potential for surgery to help them. While my opinions are often understood and accepted, sometimes they are not the opinions that people are seeking. But they are and will always remain an honest opinion.

What are your top priorities for every patient you see?

I always attempt to be prompt (I don’t like waiting for a service any more than they do). I always try to give the patients as much time as they need to ask questions. Lastly, I want them to understand why I may or may not recommend surgery.

Patient Stories

I was told that only five neurosurgeons in the entire country operate on Tarlov Cysts. I was shocked to hear Dr. Simmons say he had operated on a Tarlov Cyst patient! He has been the first doctor to actually explain these cysts to me and what could be happening to me healthwise. He gave me recommendations that he will provide to my doctor.