SHERIDAN – Dr. Cristian Balcescu has been working in Sheridan for less than a month, but he has already fallen in love with the community.
Balcescu loves the schools and his neighborhood and the opportunity to enjoy the solitude of Wyoming after living in California. But above all he loves people and above all his patients.
“I love to sit down with my patients for an hour and just talk,” said Balcescu. “I’m just getting to know their travels and how they made it to me. I can’t think of a job where I don’t meet new people every day and help them fix their problems like I am now. “
Balcescu brings this love for people and problem solving to Sheridan Orthopedic Associates, where he works as an orthopedic spine surgeon.
According to Dr. Jeremy Zebroski, sports medicine specialist at Sheridan Orthopedic, a valuable niche in the community. Sheridan has been without a spinal surgeon for two years, which meant patients had to travel all the way to Billings, Gillette, and Casper for many complicated spinal surgeries.
“It took us a while to find the right person for this community with the right mix of skills and abilities,” said Zebroski. “We appreciated Dr. Balcescu’s approach to things and the conservative way he approaches spinal diseases. We believe that he will be a good fit for our community and do an incredibly valuable service. “
Balcescu was born in Romania and moved to Southern California with his parents as a teenager. Balcescu said his fascination with bone health began after his best friend broke multiple bones in an accident.
“Since he was my best friend, we always hung out together and I took him to see his orthopedic surgeons,” said Balcescu. “I always loved it when they showed us the bone models and explained how things work. I found it fascinating. “
Balcescu had his first experience with spinal surgery while on the San Francisco Orthopedic Residency Program, and he said he was intrigued by the challenges that arise. Medical science still has a lot to learn about the spine and how it works, Balcescu said, which means there are always opportunities to learn and grow.
“Unlike many other medical professionals, we still don’t know everything about the spine,” said Balcescu. “We don’t know why people have back pain or why certain pinched nerves hurt and others don’t. That means that I can discover things and develop with the field, which is exciting. “
As exciting as it is, it can also present challenges in the operating room, said Balcescu, and he does his best to prepare for any opportunity.
“Every patient is different and has their own set of difficulties,” said Balcescu. “It’s important to have not only Plan A and Plan B, but Plans C, D, E, and F. The good side is that you have to be constantly engaged, and that’s always stimulating. But the hard part is not being able to tell people with 100% certainty that they will be better. Just because we believe something will work doesn’t necessarily mean it will work. “
Despite being a spinal surgeon, Balcescu tries every possible way to avoid surgery, including referring his patients to a chiropractor, physiotherapy or acupuncture, and providing pain medication. When surgery is inevitable, he tries to make it as quick and invasive as possible with the aim of reducing hospital stay.
Since there is so much to learn about the spine, Balcescu said he couldn’t promise pain relief. But he promises to listen and do what he can.
“I strive to offer as minimally invasive and accurate treatment as modern science can offer,” said Balcescu. “It’s not always perfect, but I’ll always do what I can to help.”