040219_health profile Kolovich

Dr. Gregory Kolovich stands in his office in Optim Orthopedics in Brunswick. The hand and micro-surgeon trained at Harvard and now offers treatment locally.

Gregory Kolovich, MD has seen just about everything. The expert hand surgeon based at Optim Orthopedics in Brunswick has treated patients suffering from mild injuries to those facing complex reconstructive surgery.

“I get a lot of people with neuropathic pain and neuromuscular nerve damage. It could come from different places — being cut or overstretched — but being that St. Simons is a golfers’ paradise, I do see a lot of sports injuries from golfers,” he said.

“Many have had a Triangular Fibrocartilage Complex (TFCC) tear that can cause pain every time they turn their wrists. But we can fix that with a 30 minute surgery and it only takes six to 12 weeks before they’re swinging a club again.”

But that’s certainly not all Kolovich sees. He has also completed intricate surgeries that require nerves to be rewired. One of those was recently done with an amputee who lives in Brunswick.

“He was in a lot of pain. What a lot of people don’t realize is that when you lose a limb in an accident, like this gentleman did, the nerves are also cut. They’re like live wires, looking for the muscles that they feed into,” he said.

Kolovich was able to use his expertise in microsurgery to re-route the nerves, grounding them into chest muscles which extinguished the patient’s intense pain.

“It was a complicated, five hour surgery. We were able to take those nerves and plug them into the chest wall and now he’s pain-free.” he explained.

Being able to utilize these innovative technologies is a dream come true for Kolovich, in his younger years, he hoped to work for NASA but found himself drawn to the medical field while attending Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta.

Kolovich commented, “When I was in school, I started to work for an organ and tissue procurement company to make extra money for rent. That’s how I started to become interested in anatomy, dissection and surgery.”

After graduating with a bachelor of science degree in electrical and electronics engineering, Kolovich set his sights on medical school. He attended graduate school at The Ohio State University and completed his residency at Wexner Medical Center, where he trained in hand and microsurgery under the tutelage Michael Ruff, MD.

Kolovich went on to complete a Harvard University fellowship for additional specialty training, studying extensively and working rotations at Massachusetts General Hospital.

After completing his fellowship, Kolovich decided to look at his wife’s home state of Georgia. He joined Optim Orthopedics based in Savannah, where he quickly built a reputation as one of the most gifted hand surgeons in the region.

Recently, he began expanding his Brunswick practice.

“I see a lot of people who are really in need of a specialist. I have many patients who are on their second or third opinion by the time they come to see me. I also have a lot of workers’ comp cases,” he said.

He specializes in treatment of fractures, carpal tunnel, trigger finger and traumas. Kolovich also treats other upper extremities as well.

As an Optim surgeon, he enjoys being able to offer top quality care in a collaborative atmosphere.

“What I like about Optim is that you have great surgeons who really care about their patients,” he said.

“They’re a very talented group, always striving to use new technology and be on the leading edge of orthopedics. It’s an opportunity for me to bring a new skill set to the table with microsurgery.”

While Kolovich offers the latest in cutting edge surgical techniques, he first explores all non-surgical options — from physical therapy to regenerative medicine including stem cell injections.

“Regenerative medicine, like stem cells, is getting a lot of attention these days. People are really interested in the latest and greatest treatments. We really like to lay out all of the empirical information,” he said. “I will tell them what the evidence is and let them decide.”

In all, it’s Kolovich’s mission to treat his patients with the best and least invasive method possible, aiming to offer the highest level of care anywhere in the region. And that, he offers right here in Brunswick.

“You really don’t have to go to Atlanta, Charleston or the Mayo Clinic ... the skilled team at Optim are all highly trained and are all abreast of the latest technology and work hard to make sure our patients are happy,” he said.

• For more information on Dr. Kolovich and Optim Orthopedics, visit optimorthopedics.comor call the Brunswick office at 912-342-7112.

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