ONS Physician Spotlight on Dr. Marc OttenFeatured Doctor
Get to know Dr. Marc Otten, neurosurgeon, who joined ONS in November 2022.
How did you become interested in neurosurgery? I was drawn to the delicate and precise function of the nervous system, and how it plays a critical role in defining us as people. Pathologies of the brain and spine can strike at a person’s sense of identity – memories, ability to talk, and move. It is an honor to help people through that challenging time, and I take the responsibility seriously. We are also constantly learning in neurosurgery, which has been an exciting part of my career, years after the long, formal training of medical school, residency and fellowship.
Neurosurgery requires that I get to know what matters to a person. Patients and their families often come to me with incomplete information, and I aim to provide clarity. I use what we’ve learned about how the nervous system works to help them return to what they prioritize in life as quickly and completely as possible.
What is your practice philosophy? I work with each individual patient to determine what is important in their lives – what type of work they do, what relationships they have and what their priorities are as they move forward with treatment. That way we ensure we get the job done, while giving them a chance to hold onto the things they care about. My aim is to remove the mystery and fear out of my patients’ challenging situations. Even though most of my patients require just one surgery, I will often monitor them for the rest of their lives. The majority of patients I see will not be indicated for surgery – I follow a lot of patients over the years without any surgical intervention. We try to get each person better with as little intervention as possible.
What trends are you seeing in neurosurgery? Technology is a big part of neurosurgery. Our ability to map and image the brain has advanced at an incredible pace over the last 15 years. An operating room today would be virtually unrecognizable to a surgeon from two decades ago. The biggest recent advances in neurosurgery have been mapping the brain with more specialized instruments such as microscopic and endoscopic tools for visualization. Being able to approach individual patients with all of these resources makes it possible to tailor treatment plans to each patient.
Why are you excited to join ONS? I live in this area with my family, and have gotten to know many of the doctors while living in our community. ONS is a uniquely specialized healthcare provider in Fairfield County – it’s built around extremely well-trained surgeons who have good judgment and good outcomes. I am proud to now be a part of this esteemed organization.
What are your personal interests? My wife and I love watching our three children grow up. I am interested in sports and play soccer, tennis and hockey – and I love to ski! I also enjoy reading, whether on neurosurgery or learning from others in different fields.