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Medical Staff Pulse is
a Publication of the Chief of Staff
2 Minutes with...the Hunt Brothers
Neurosurgeon Gabriel E. Hunt, Jr. and his younger brother, spine surgeon Leonel A. Hunt, are often found side by side in the OR, working in unison on complex head, neck and spine conditions. Gabriel, known by his nickname Geno, is director of Spine Neurosurgery in Cedars-Sinai's Department of Neurosurgery, and Leonel is director of Spine Trauma at the Institute for Spinal Disorders and the Orthopaedic Center.

How often do you end up in the OR together?

Geno:

We normally share about eight to 10 cases a week, so we are in the OR together about two days out of the week. Our patients get a big kick out of it and, from our point of view, they are getting the best of both worlds. We think our patients benefit from having a neuro-specialist and an orthopaedic specialist who work so closely together.

You are the big brother. Do you get to push Leonel around?

Geno:

No! Leonel is more laid back and relaxed than me, while I tend to be a bit more high-strung, but we work very well together as equal partners. We trust each other and when he's in the room with me, I worry less. It's like dancing the tango -- one person takes the lead and the other follows, and we always know where we are going.

How would you describe each other's work style and approach?

Leonel:

We complement and feed off each other in the OR. One of the most common challenges we face together is that we perform a lot of second and third surgeries on patients who have been operated on elsewhere. Once we start the procedure, we are often forced to improvise and that's where it is so helpful to have my brother there with me. We know each other so well that we don't have to do a lot of explaining -- sometimes, we can just look at each other and know what we have to do.

Geno: (pictured far left with Leonel)

My work is more delicate than his, because I have to be concerned with protecting the nerves and spinal cord during neurosurgery. But what's important is that we always arrive at the same place; we just take different paths to get there.

We also share the same goal of trying to perform each procedure in the least invasive way possible. For example, using very small incisions on a patient with scoliosis. We want to do the biggest surgeries with the smallest incisions.

Geno, you are a UCLA grad and Leonel is a USC grad. Does that make you weekend rivals?

Geno:

We grew up in Florida, so actually we're both Florida fans -- the Gators, the Seminoles and the Dolphins. We also like the Dallas Cowboys.

Leonel, your brother just got engaged last Christmas. Will you be giving up bachelorhood soon?

Leonel:

No (laughs). That's not going to be a new holiday tradition for us. But I'm very happy for my brother.