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Physician Profile: Dr. Jonathan L. Wilson
Jul 9, 2018
While most doctors grow up surrounded by medicine, Dr. JL Wilson’s childhood was actually the opposite. Instead of prescriptions and medicine, Dr. Wilson grew up around mechanics, learning to build things and take them apart. It was during his time at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) that Dr. Wilson discovered medicine could be mechanical too, and after a few summers conducting medical research, he changed his path and enrolled in medical school at West Virginia University.
Dr. Wilson always knew he wanted to do something in surgery, as it was the thing that most closely resembled his love for mechanics, but his entrance into neurosurgery wasn’t something he had planned. “It was the last rotation on my surgical rotation, and I was supposed to be on another service but I ended up on neurosurgery,” says Dr. Wilson. “I worked with a Chief Resident one day who let me participate and assist in surgery, and, right at that point, I decided neurosurgery was for me.”
Dr. Wilson was drawn to the larger expanse that neurosurgery covers, but during his residency training, he began to lean towards the application of minimally invasive techniques to spine surgery. After residency, Dr. Wilson moved to South Dakota, where his father lives, to help a community that was in need of a neurosurgeon. During his time in this community, Dr. Wilson was able to hone his skills in all facets of neurosurgery with a gravitation towards minimally invasive spinal techniques. He eventually decided that he would like to work in an environment where he could work on further advancing and developing minimally invasive techniques for the treatment of all spinal pathologys.
By returning to Wake Forest Baptist Health, an academic medical center, Dr. Wilson is able to work in multiple areas of interest. “I get all aspects of practice here,” he says. “I get some elements of private practice at one of our satellite hospitals, I get to teach the residents, and I also have access to the most advanced robotic and image guidance systems to advance the field of spine surgery.
Dr. Wilson is able to use these robotic and image guidance systems to find new and improved ways to perform spine surgeries on patients with various pathologies at different ages. He focuses on the adult population with a goal of decreasing morbidity of spinal procedures through the use of these various minimally invasive techniques. In addition to treating the adult population suffering from spinal disorders, Dr. Wilson also works with traumatic spinal injuries, trauma-related general neurosurgery, as well as many other aspects of general neurosurgery.