Robert L. Masson, M.D., a Windermere resident and founder of the NeuroSpine Institute and NeuroSpine Foundation, is known worldwide for his expertise in the field of microneurosurgery.
Robert L. Masson, M.D., founder of the NeuroSpine Institute and NeuroSpine Foundation, is internationally renowned in the field of spinal reconstructive surgery. A former University of Florida football player and avid athlete, Dr. Masson has a special interest in spinal injuries and sports neurosurgery. He completed his neurosurgical residency at Shands at UF and trained under Albert Rhoton, M.D., who is credited as the father of microneurosurgical anatomy. However, it was Richard Fessler, M.D., his mentor in spinal surgery, who inspired him to combine his love of sports with microneurosurgery.
“My goal is the creation of a spine subspecialty focused on sports spine injuries,” said Dr. Masson, who believes that a more minimally invasive surgical approach to reconstruct the spine would enable patients to recover quicker and with less complications. “I want to see an environment where even the most extreme spinal injury can be recoverable.
“Typically, patients come to us as a last resort,” he said. “If someone perceives a recurrent spine problem, they should get evaluated early. Our message to people is to take the proper steps for prevention — more exercise and better health choices — because surgery isn’t always a substitute for hard work.”
Of course, there are cases where surgery is the only option, and Dr. Masson and his staff of highly accomplished surgeons at NeuroSpine Institute offer world-class care.
In spite of a rigorous work schedule, he manages to dedicate considerable time to a number of nonprofit organizations, including his own NeuroSpine Institute Foundation. His vision for NSIF is to provide education to youth sports coaches and volunteers about how to stop all types of preventable injuries from occurring, including concussions and spinal cord damage. Dr. Masson, whose children are very involved in a number of sports, is dedicated to the promotion of youth sports programs; however, he believes that it is crucial to be aware of and limit the number of risks young athletes may encounter as they participate in sports. NSIF’s mission statement also advocates the importance of proper nutrition in the optimal health of growing athletes.
Beyond his work with NSIF, Dr. Masson serves as the Florida strategic partner for the National Ability Center, which is located in Park City, Utah. Individuals with disabilities are given the chance to participate in sporting activities using specially designed equipment.
“When I go to NAC in Park City and see people living life to their fullest, even though they may be decimated by circumstances, it is very rewarding,” Dr. Masson said. “NAC is something I am inspired by and very proud to be a part of.”
He also is an advocate of sports-injury prevention, believing that proper training, nutrition and living a healthy lifestyle are crucial not only in sports performance, but daily life. To that end, he is involved in the Sports, Trauma, Overuse and Protection campaign, where he serves on the Council of Champions. STOP’s mission is to encourage people to enjoy sports, but not recklessly, thus avoiding serious injury. Untreated and undetected sports injuries, primarily concussions, can lead to learning disabilities, memory loss and chronic headaches. Having suffered five sports-related concussions, Dr. Masson educates coaches about the prevention and treatment of concussions, especially with young athletes.
Dr. Masson approaches his practice with the same philosophy of a committed athlete.
”Every time you play a sport, you always want to be better,” he said. “I get up each morning and want to top myself from the day before. There is not a day that goes by that I don’t try to expand on what I know.”Dr. Masson has made great strides in the field of microneurosurgery, including the invention of interpedicular minimal access surgery of the lumbar spine (iMAS).
Hundreds of surgeons from around the world travel to Southwest Orlando to train under Dr. Masson, who is responsible for the education, product development and research for Synthes Spine in iMAS products and techniques.
“There really is no better way of learning than teaching,” he said. “I am blessed that I have a situation where doctors can come here to exchange ideas in an intimate, nonthreatening way.”
With his credentials, experience and world-renowned reputation, Dr. Masson could practice virtually anywhere in the world. However, the Windermere resident has no plans to leave.
“We have a great community here with a lot of good people,” he said. “I really love this part of the world. Many people don’t realize how unique and wonderful this area is.”
NeuroSpine Institute is located in Suite 100 at 2706 Rew Circle in west Orlando. For more information, call 407-649-8585 or visit www.neurospineinstitute.org on the Web.
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