Meet the Doctor: Anthony Stefanelli, MD
Anthony Stefanelli, MD, is a neurosurgeon specializing in complex spine procedures at Einstein Medical Center Philadelphia – Jefferson Health, Thomas Jefferson University Hospital and Jefferson Hospital for Neuroscience. He sees patients at offices on Old York Road in Philadelphia and West Germantown Pike in Plymouth Meeting.
Dr. Stefanelli also is an Assistant Professor of Neurological Surgery at Sidney Kimmel Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University.
We recently spoke with Dr. Stefanelli about his career, his interests, and neurosurgery at Einstein.
Q: Why did you decide to become a doctor?
A: When I was in high school, I didn’t really know what I wanted to do with my life. My sister, who is five years older than me and also a physician, was in the process of applying to medical school at that time. Growing up, I always looked up to her, so I essentially just followed in her footsteps and decided to head down the same pathway of becoming a doctor.
Q: Tell us about your education background.
A: I grew up in northeastern Pennsylvania, about 20 minutes outside of Scranton. I decided to stay in the area for college and attended the University of Scranton, where I double majored in biology and philosophy.
After college, I traveled to Philadelphia, where I did the entirety of my medical training. I attended medical school at Jefferson Medical College (now renamed Sidney Kimmel Medical College) and subsequently stayed for residency at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital. I then completed a one-year fellowship in complex spine and deformity correction. Ultimately, I stayed on as faculty at Jefferson and Einstein.
Q: Why did you choose your specialty?
A: Very early on in my medical training, I knew that I wanted to be a surgeon. I have always enjoyed working with my hands, and knew I would enjoy the technical aspects of surgery. I initially thought that I wanted to become an orthopedic surgeon and shadowed a few of them early on in medical school. However, I ultimately decided that this wasn’t fulfilling for me.
Towards the end of my third year of medical school, I randomly picked an elective neurosurgery rotation. After a few days, I knew that becoming a neurosurgeon was exactly what I wanted to do with my life. I really enjoyed the cerebral nature of neurosurgery (no pun intended) and was fascinated by all of the surgical procedures. I also really enjoyed how this field utilizes some of the most advanced technologies in medicine.
It’s a bit of a cliché to say, but sometimes I feel like neurosurgery chose me.
Q: What are your clinical interests?
A: My clinical interests focus generally on surgical disorders of the spine and adult degenerative spinal conditions. However, I still do enjoy treating patients with all types of neurosurgical issues, including brain tumors, hydrocephalus, traumatic brain injury and chronic pain.
Q: What drew you to Einstein?
A: As I mentioned earlier, I completed all of my medical education and training at Jefferson. I also knew that I wanted to stay on as faculty and remain part of the Jefferson family.
When Einstein became part of Jefferson Health, I saw a wonderful opportunity to provide spine and neurosurgical care to the Einstein patients in Montgomery County and Philadelphia in a more community-based setting, while also still being able to provide care to patients in Center City in an academic-based setting.
It really felt like the best of both worlds for me, and I am happy to have become faculty at an institution that offered me so much in regard to my own education and training.
Q: Why should people choose Einstein for their neurosurgical care?
A: The neurosurgical care at Jefferson / Einstein is really second to none in the area. Each one of our neurosurgeons is extraordinarily well trained and technically phenomenal. As well, we are able to bring neurosurgical care directly to patients both in the city and throughout the suburbs of Philadelphia and Montgomery County.
Q: What are your interests outside of work?
A: I am, and have always been, a huge car guy. Since I was a little kid, I have been fascinated with all things related to cars and racing.
Q: What is your favorite movie?
A: This is a tough one, but I would have to say either Gone in 60 Seconds or Rush Hour.
Q: What is your favorite sports team?
A: I have lived in Philadelphia so long that it seems almost sacrilegious to not say the Eagles.
Q: What is your favorite restaurant?
A: There are so many excellent restaurants in Philadelphia that this is very difficult to pick, but I would have to say that it’s a toss-up between Sampan and Barclay Prime.