Dr. Joseph Miller starts most mornings with an educational podcast and a kale, spinach, and fruit smoothie. From there, it’s a full day’s work with his team at Erlanger. “I use state-of-the-art technology to perform brain and spine surgery,” he explains. “I spend most of my day under the microscope meticulously working around the blood vessels of the brain and delicate spinal nerve roots.” Although spine surgery is one of his specialties, Dr. Miller works with patients to identify the least invasive treatment option for their condition – and oftentimes, surgery isn’t required. Dr. Miller says, “I have the same minimally invasive mindset when caring for my patients with brain tumors, aneurysms, brain injuries … Every patient is unique, and I draw on my experience as a fellowship-trained surgeon to perform the least invasive operation to help alleviate my patients’ pain.”
“I find joy in my patients’ victories every day. There is nothing better than doing a brain surgery and giving someone their life back.”
1. Why have you chosen this field of specialty?
Neurosurgery is the perfect combination of taking care of people, working with my hands, and using fascinating technology to perform incredibly complex tasks.
2. What do you love most about your profession?
My patients! I often meet people on the hardest day of their life when they suffer from a ruptured brain aneurysm or spine fracture in a car accident. It is such an honor to help these amazing people recover from illness and injuries that would have been universally fatal 100 years ago.
3. What is your best advice for patients?
These three things are true for all of us, and even more important if you have back pain: Get regular exercise. Good nutrition (focusing on a whole-food, plant-based way of eating) is important. Strive to achieve your ideal body weight.
4. What accolades mean the most to you?
Being a neurosurgeon is a privilege that I take very seriously. I won every award in my training program, but my patients allowing me to be their doctor means more than any award.
5. What do you see as the most exciting new development for your profession?
Tumor genetics. The progress being made in the treatment of malignant brain tumors is remarkable. I am hopeful that in the course of my career, we will have an effective treatment option for glioblastomas.
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