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How Faris Abusharif Is Helping to Evolve the Patient Care Paradigm in America

Dr. Faris Abusharif is an interventional pain management physician based out of Orland Park, Illinois.

As Owner and Medical Director of The Laser Spine Center of Chicago, Dr. Abusharif, has implemented procedures that mirror the most advanced technologies and techniques available within the industry. Known primarily for his minimally invasive procedures, patients experience less pain and a faster recovery time. 

Dr. Abusharif graduated from DePaul University in Chicago where he majored in biology. He earned his medical degree at Chicago Medical School University before completing a two-year residency in general surgery at Resurrection Hospital in Chicago. He continued his education by attending the University of Illinois for an Anesthesiology residency followed by a Fellowship in Interventional  Pain Management 

The success of The Laser Spine Center of Chicago has been achieved through inspired leadership and high quality care and attentiveness demonstrated by the facility’s staff. As a highly compassionate medical professional, Dr. Abusharif works hard to establish a high degree of trust between his staff and patients. 

What do you currently do in your practice?

I am the Owner and Medical Director of Laser Spine Center of Chicago. We treat patients with acute or chronic pain. We treat patients primarily with spine issues, but also with joint, hips, knees, and shoulder pain. On a typical day, we provide injections into the joints or into the spine to address pain. There are many different types of injections which are x–ray guided injections and targeted to specific pain generators.  We also provide Radiofrequency ablation (RFA), which is cauterizing nerves which are causing pain. For more advanced disc disease or disc herniation, treatments such as Micro-discectomy can be  a solution, or possibly minimally invasive spinal fusion which can be performed outpatient, using  a one inch incision and very quick recovery.  We treat Osteo-arthritis and provide stem-cell and PRP for degenerative tissue. Stem Cell treatments are also used for degenerative spine relief.

What was your inspiration to start your practice?

Surgery has become minimally invasive over the years. There are small incisions and patients go home the same day. Surgery is done through a scope with a one-centimeter incision to extract a herniated disc, it is closed with two or three stitches and the patient goes home within an hour or two of the procedure. There are not a lot of restrictions, and they can be back to work within a week or two. Spinal surgery has evolved dramatically over the past ten years. Patients used to suffer through weeks of recovery and be out of work for several months. Now a lumbar fusion can be accomplished as an out-patient surgery, in an office practice with minimally invasive procedures. Our practice is set-up as an out-patient surgery center. We offer a variety of options. Stem cell PRP for progenerate surgery, and laser surgery are among the few options.

What is a long-term goal in your career?

One thing I see long-term is providing the most effective treatments with the least amount of invasiveness. The procedures we perform in our practice used to be wishful thinking, but they are here now and every two or three years there is something newer, better, and more effective than what was previously available. I would like to incorporate these treatments into my practice. The most difficult thing about these treatments has been making people aware of the reality of less invasive treatments that are available now.

How do you measure success?

Professionally, I measure success on my ability to improve the quality of life for my patients with minimally invasive treatments, where they can be back to work as quickly as possible. When I have a new patient explain their condition, I evaluate their issue and give them the solutions that are available. Many times, patients have come to us after they have tried everything, and debilitating pain persists. When the outcome of my procedure is what they expected or better, I consider that a success.

What is the most valuable lesson you have learned throughout your career?

The most valuable lesson I have learned is not to give false hope to patients regarding the possible outcome of a procedure. On the rare occasion we may get a patient that we can not help because the problem is too severe or  the risks are too great to go forward. The patient will be told that there may not be a good treatment option for them.  I know the patient does not want to hear this, but it is imperative to give an honest and truthful answer.

What advice would you give to others aspiring to succeed in your field?

Always, do the right thing. With all the options that are available, if you know that a treatment will not be enough, and it will not warrant the risk, then send them to the right specialist. Do not just do it because you offer it.

How do you maintain a solid work/life balance?

It Is hard. Everyday is not consistent. There are times when things come up that will take a lot longer, or there are people that might have to be added to the schedule. Those situations can add another hour or two to what you may have planned. I think the obligation to my patient is vital. Most of the time, I adhere to a balanced schedule. I am fortunate that my family is very understanding. They are aware that I signed up for this obligation. To me, it is a few extra hours, but to the patient it could be a life-changing thing. 

What has been the hardest obstacle that you have overcome?

The most difficult obstacle I have to deal with is the insurance companies. After you evaluate a person and you know what can be done, we submit it to an insurance company, and no matter what we do the patient will get denied. I have to go back and tell my patient that even though we have a solution, it cannot be done because your insurance company will not pay for it. Despite the large premium they are paying, they are denied. It is a big challenge that has increased in the past ten years.

Who has been your role model and why?

There were doctors that I trained with that were at least a generation older than me that were role models to me. I did not realize how much of an impact they made on me until I opened my practice. I realized that they did not deviate based on patients complaining or insurance issues. You would think they would modify the way they were doing things. Today we have to worry about social media or getting positive reviews or leads from referring physicians. I used to wonder why they did not care about these things. It is really important if you want to survive. I realized that they did not sway because you cannot deviate when it is important to your patient. We are dealing with human life. It is important to stay true to who you are. It was a valuable lesson that I did not realize at the time. They led by example.

What is one piece of advice that you have never forgotten?

I would have to say do not ever focus on success, focus on doing the right thing and success will follow. It is not as easy as it sounds. You have to experience it to understand it. When people want to make an impression and get caught-up in getting ahead and making more money, they lose focus and the essence of why they are doing what they are doing. Doing the right thing was the best advice I ever got. 

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How Faris Abusharif Is Helping to Evolve the Patient Care Paradigm in America

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