ONS Physician Spotlight on Dr. Jeffrey HeftlerFeatured Doctor
Get to know Jeffrey Heftler, MD and what drives his personal approach in caring for his patients. He is board-certified in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and specializes in interventional physiatry. Dr. Heftler sees patients at ONS in Greenwich.
What is your philosophy to your practice?
My practice philosophy is to try to treat my patients as if they were my family. I want to offer them multiple options to treat their issues and give them the tools they need to keep them feeling good. This usually involves a home exercise program, but for patients with severe pain or limited function, injections may be a good solution. I want my patients to get to a point where they feel that they are in control of their symptoms and can minimize exacerbations with exercise and proper mechanics.
Outside of your work, what are your personal interests?
I have a variety of interests outside of work. I’ve taken several art classes including metal sculpture, pottery, and painting. I plan to take a class with my 13-year-old daughter when it is safe to do so. I’ve been a lifelong baseball fan and I’ve have travelled across the country with my 18-year-old son, with the goal of visiting every baseball stadium in the US. We both also love music, and we enjoy traveling to interesting places to see different bands in concert. I‘m an avid cycler and I have been an avid user of my home spin cycle throughout the pandemic.
What made you chose to become a physiatrist?
I decided to become an interventional physiatrist while in medical school. I injured my own back more than 30 years ago and after that experience I felt there must be a better way to recover than the way that was presented to me. Also, I enjoy helping people and knowing that I have helped people get back to their “normal life” after injury.
What trends in your specialty area do you see emerging?
One of the things I love about my field is how it keeps evolving and improving. This includes the use of image guidance to improve the accuracy of steroidal and other injections, and the use of biologics such as PRP to accelerate healing. I believe there will continue to be advances in biologics (like PRP and stem cells) to treat musculoskeletal issues. As the research improves, better injection protocols and techniques will certainly improve outcomes. Biologics like PRP and stem cell therapy will continue to have new uses to keep patients healthier longer and at some point, will take the place of more traditional injections such as steroidal injections and viscosupplementation.
How do you stay current in your field?
Going to conferences provides a great opportunity to hear directly from the physicians and researchers who are working on the cutting-edge treatments themselves. One of the best ways to keep current in medicine is to maintain relationships with other physicians who are in my specialty. I have close relationships with the other physicians who completed my fellowship, and we often communicate and confer as new information comes out. Working with my physician colleagues at ONS has been invaluable to me in terms of keeping myself current. Exchanging information on a patient’s condition or treatment helps us all to be better doctors.