Robert C. Spang III, MD
Get to know Dr. Robert Spang, a board-certified orthopedic surgeon at Sports Medicine North. He has fellowship training in both advanced shoulder reconstruction and sports medicine.View Profile
How did you become interested in sports medicine and shoulder surgery?
I’ve always loved sports. I played football, hockey, baseball, and later rugby in college. During medical school, I spent time with Dr. Bill Levine and Dr. Chris Ahmad who take care of the NY Yankees. I saw a patient with shoulder arthritis who couldn’t sleep from pain, couldn’t lift their arm, and asked to have it cut off. I then saw someone who, just six weeks after a shoulder replacement, gave Dr. Levine a high-five without pain. It was then that I fell in love with shoulder surgery. I was hooked even before stepping into the operating room. As time went on, I also fell in love with arthroscopy and minimally invasive techniques, in addition to shoulder replacement.
What is your practice philosophy?
Medicine is as much an art as a science. Listening and bedside manner make a difference. Patients come from diverse backgrounds and have different goals, so I aim to listen and have open, honest discussions about expectations, options, and risks. I strive to treat every patient as I would want my own family members to be treated. Personally, I aim for surgical excellence by visualizing every case beforehand, taking notes after every surgery, and reading and engaging in discussions with others to seek continuous improvement. It’s about lifelong learning.
What trends are you seeing in shoulder surgery? What are you currently most excited about?
I believe robotic surgery is a tremendously valuable tool that will continue to bridge the gap between surgical planning and precise execution. I use robotics for all my knee arthroplasty cases and look forward to its impact on shoulder arthroplasty in the near future.
Why is it important for patients to see a specialist?
My belief is that specialization in medicine is better for patients. My practice focuses almost exclusively on shoulder and knee issues, and I don’t “dabble” in procedures. If I’m not the best surgeon or doctor to take care of a patient’s problem, I find a friend within our organization who is the best and refer the patient to them. If we try to be good at everything, we end up being a master of nothing. It’s all about what’s best for the patient.
What are your personal interests?
I love snowboarding, golf, and spending time with my family in Cape Cod. Despite my time in NYC for med school and with the NY Giants during fellowship, I remain avid Boston sports fan.