Rome Memorial neurosurgeon specializes in spine and brain care, discusses recent recognition
Neurosurgeon Nicholas Qandah is medical director of Rome Memorial Hospital’s neurospine program, where he performs surgery and treats patients with neurosurgical disorders. The neurological services program has just been recognized by Excellus BlueCross BlueShield as a Blue Distinction Center for Spine Surgery.
We asked the physician more about what this means.
Q: What’s the significance of this distinction?
A: We want to thank Excellus BlueCross BlueShield for allowing us to show them our outcomes. Our care and our outcomes are distinctive, and that’s important to payors like Excellus. We’re proud to be recognized for meeting the robust selection criteria set by the Blue Distinction Specialty Care program. Our care and our outcomes are the best in the region. We get people back home and functioning. This is what the payors want to know. We’re tops!
Q: What else can you tell us about why you received this honor?
A: We use evidence-based practices — the objective use of current research and the best available data to guide policy and practice. We do the least invasive surgery. We use minimally invasive diagnostic tools. We have the top imaging system in the region. Before we got this imaging equipment, patients had to go to New York City or Boston to get what we now offer here. Our MRI gives us the best pictures. We get it right. We have one of the top robotic systems in the country to perform minimally invasive surgery. There are only three in the state —two are in New York City; the third is ours. The robotic system we have is on a national level. Patients from all over the state come to us. Also, we offer the best education to patients, helping them understand what their problem is. They leave us with a good understanding of their diagnosis. We give our patients the best diagnosis and treatment they can get.
Q: For what kind of problems do people come to see you?
A: We provide specialized care for the complete spectrum of neurosurgical needs, including the neck [cervical spine], back [lumbar spine], spinal injuries [trauma], scoliosis, spinal tumors, brain tumors, brain trauma and strokes. We treat patients with back and neck pain, spinal stenosis, degenerative disc disease and herniated discs. We use a multidisciplinary team approach, including physical therapy, neurology, chiropractic, orthopedic, hospitalists, nurses, technicians. We use a team approach to evaluate and treat people most effectively. We’re committed to patient care, improved patient lifestyle, surgical outcomes and our community.
Q: How did you become involved in spine surgery?
A: I’d been a practicing neurosurgeon in this area for nearly six years when I saw that there was a bigger need for a neurosurgery practice that specialized in spine and brain care. I approached the local hospitals with my idea and they loved the concept. They knew my work and knew that I had 15 years of experience in neurosurgery and had trained with the world’s best.
Q: How long have you been with the hospital?
A: In 2018, I joined Rome Memorial Hospital as medical director of their neurospine program. That same year, I founded CNY Brain and Neurosurgery in New Hartford. The same team works with patients at both locations. Since then, CNY Brain and Neurosurgery has expanded, with offices in Herkimer, Rome, Lowville, Potsdam and Watertown. We’re situated to take care of people in rural areas. We work closely with four health systems in the area: MVHS, Rome Memorial Hospital, and hospitals in Lowville and Potsdam, to complement the care they offer to the community.
Q: What else would you like us to know?
A: My wife and I are part of the community, as are our four kids. We’re all family here in the area.
When you come to us at Rome Memorial Hospital or CNY Brain and Neurosurgery, we first diagnose the problem, figure out exactly what the problem is, then recommend the treatment that would work best for you, depending on the diagnosis. We want the most appropriate, best, conservative care for you. For example, you come in with right leg pain. We figure out what’s causing the pain. We ask about your job; maybe you stand on your right leg all day while you lift things. We figure out how to fix this so you can continue working at your job and control your pain.
We’re the industry leaders when it comes to getting people up and going again after they come to us. When they work with us, the time they spend in the hospital or off work is the shortest.
Birth year: 1976
Birth place: Michigan
Education: Bachelor’s degree from University of Michigan; medical degree from Midwestern University, Glendale Arizona; neurosurgical residency at Virginia Tech Carillion Clinic, Roanoke, Virginia; fellowship in orthopedics and neurosurgery at University of Washington.
Affiliations: Rome Memorial Hospital, Mohawk Valley Health System
Current residence: New Hartford
Personal: Married, four children
Hobbies: Spending quality time with family, whether hiking, traveling, fishing, or sports events, like going
to the Comets games; “we’re avid baseball fans.”