Jose Otavio Correard Teixeira is on the frontline of orthopaedics research and practice. His patients know him as a warm, professional and exceptional surgeon.
We had the opportunity to speak with Dr. Correard to learn more about his life and work.
Dr. Correard, can you tell us a bit about yourself and your upbringing?
Of course! I was born in a small town in south-eastern Brazil, whose economy was largely based on dairy production. My mother, as with most women in my family, was a school teacher. So in a way, it was a bit odd that I became a surgeon, of all things! I learned a lot through my parents – they were committed to teaching me all they could. I grew up speaking and reading Portuguese and English, thanks to my mother, who would read to me before bed. I had a lot of loving attention from my parents, which I think helped me mature quite quickly.
Much of my family lived in a European environment before and after I was born. I have a vivid memory of my parents sharing letters with our relatives, and learning of their lifestyle. This gave me an appreciation for different cultures, and I began to learn French, sharing mail with my cousins. I wasn’t very sporty growing up; instead I spent most of my free time in the library, reading encyclopaedias. Living amidst the paranoia of the Cold War, I was afraid that our books and knowledge were at risk, and I think this made me hungry to absorb as much information as I could while it was still there.
I finished school at the top of my class, and moved to São Paulo, 110 miles from home, to prepare for my university’s entrance exam. I passed and soon began at the University of São Paulo, thus launching the start of my long career.
What inspired you to become a doctor?
I have wanted to become a doctor for as long as I can remember, but I can’t say why I was so fascinated with the idea. I would often play with toy doctor kits as a child, giving bogus medical care to my parents. My favourite toy was a doctor’s briefcase, which had a set of doctor’s instruments. I used it all the time – my mother even made me up a white coat that I wore as a play uniform!
I’ve always had this innate desire to learn and remember as much knowledge as I can – which, as I’ve mentioned, may have stemmed from my Cold War context. At medical school, I was driven by the urge to get to the bottom of every question I had. This made me quite anti-social, at the beginning. I was so focused on learning. I ended up going to study over in Europe to finish off my studies in orthopaedic surgery. There, I developed a keen interest in bone regeneration, which led me to receive an invitation from Dr. Marshall Urist to perform research in his laboratory at UCLA. I credit his mentorship for much of my success in my career and the extent of my knowledge. He taught me to use my curious, open mind to my advantage, and to always attempt to discredit your ideas to ensure they are valid.
What did the beginning of your career look like?
After working with Dr. Urist, I became a fellow at the UCLA department of orthopaedics, which enabled me to improve my surgical skills. I then returned to Brazil and started to work at the University Hospital, seeing patients part-time. I was assigned to create a tissue bank, which I started and ran for six years. I was then commissioned by the same hospital to start up a heart valve allograft storage centre, which I ran for ten years. This was a really challenging and fulfilling experience. I was also working in private practice, performing joint replacement and reconstruction surgery.
Only in the second phase of my career, when I intensified, deepened my relationship with the human being in thorough medical practice, this transformation occurred that I felt this passion for healing the human being, alleviating his suffering, getting him sane whenever possible.
Now combining both faces of my talent, I started to mingle laboratory knowledge and skills with practical medicine, surgery and humanity to deliver a human, warm personal care solidly grounded in extensive knowledge of the medical learning from basics to the pinnacle of up-to-date science.
How do you organise your time?
I split my time in two – work time and down time. In my work time, I focus on my private practice, treating my patients and supporting them as best as I can. In my down time, I love to think, read and test my ideas.
I did not mention, but I spend a lot of free time with my wife and two kids. I love to play with them and teach them all I can, especially myriad questions they ask all the time.
What kind of surgery or reconstruction you could assist with?
Most often I perform endoscopic spine surgery. This is a minimally invasive form of surgery that helps to ease pain, usually resulting from herniated discs that press on the nerves. It allows for the surgeon to address the exact place where the disturbance is, with minimum derrangement or loss to the neighboring structures. This point is of adamant importance: to act only on what is diseased in order to correct it is the dream of every doctor. However, I offer a range of services, including cell therapy, joint reconstruction, cartilage transplants, arthroscopy, and tissue engineering. A lot of my work deals with things like reverting degenerative disc disease and spine ageing.
I always ensure to view each patient as a whole person. This means seeking to understand their unique issues and needs, and offering them comprehensive support that addresses their overall health and wellbeing. I am so happy to have been able to help my patients restore spine mobility and get their lives back.
Can you tell me about your favourite type of surgery to perform?
Despite doing it a lot – or maybe because of this – I really enjoy performing endoscopic spine surgery. It requires a great level of precision and technical skill, which I excel at. This type of surgery is often different each time, and allows me to devise new solutions for different problems. This caught the interest of the industry and we teamed up to accelerate my inventive developments and I recently created a new product range to treat degenerative disc disease – it’s almost ready to hit the market, so look out for it!
With over 25 years’ experience working across a range of medical specialities, Dr. Correard boasts an impressive resume. To learn more about his approach to spine problems, have a look at his website or send him an email to get in touch. We would like to thank Dr. Correard for his time.