One can never tell where life will take them. Just ask Dr. Greg Kolovich.
The Ohio native went to college at Georgia Tech in Atlanta with the goal of becoming a electrical engineer. But in his third year of study, his focus shifted.
“I was working for a company doing tissue transplants to make some extra money in college. I really enjoyed operating and so I made a career change and started taking pre-med classes,” Kolovich said.
After finishing his undergraduate work, he took the MCAT, the medical school admissions test, then attended medical school at The Ohio State in Columbus, Ohio.
He completed his fellowship at Harvard University, where he focused on hand and microsurgery. But he was eventually drawn back to the South, back to Georgia.
“My wife is from Georgia and she wanted to move back down South. A friend of mine, Jonathan Christy, was working with Optim down here and he introduced me to the group,” Kolovich said.
He interviewed with Optim Orthopedics, which offers experts with multiple specialties, and started working with the group in 2015. While Kolovich is trained as an orthopedic surgeon, his area of focus is hand and microsurgery, as well as upper extremity work.
“My specialty is nerve surgery, but I do traumas and complex cases. I do tendon surgery and repair, restoring those to function,” he said.
Kolovich often works with his fellow Optim physicians to treat unique surgical cases.
“I have done ankle wound covers or elbow wound covers so there is some plastics mixed into it,” he said.
Regardless of the surgery he is performing, Kolovich makes a point to discuss all of the options patients have available to them. That, he adds, can cover a broad range that can surprise many.
“Patient autonomy is extremely important. My role as a physician and surgeon is to educate patients so that they can make the best treatment plan possible,” he said.
While he is an incredibly skilled surgeon, Kolovich knows that is not always the answer. In fact, he makes a point to exhaust every other avenue first before exploring more invasive treatments.
“Surgery might be right for patient A but not right for patient B. My role is to discuss all of the options available and look at the pros, the cons, and the risks involved with each,” he explained.
“I work a lot with patients who have arthritis. Some may have really bad arthritis but not a lot of pain so surgery might not be right for them currently. They could benefit from injections or splinting. Tailoring the treatment plan to my patients is my number one goal.”
Kolovich is also open to exploring traditional Chinese medicine and treatment. Having trained in the country previously, he understands the value of ancient modalities like acupuncture, as well as more modern approaches like stem cell therapy.
“I have even prescribed tumeric to patients … I’m all about opening the treatment play book,” he commented. “I’m open to discussing the plan and exhausting all measures.”
Kolovich also welcomes insights from his fellow Optim surgeons who can share their wealth of knowledge and experience.
“When you have a multi-speciality, dynamic group like we do, we have the luxury of focusing on our strengths and asking for help when we need it,” he said. “We can offer the best care possible because we have seen this incredible success over the past 20 years.”
Kolovich, like many of his fellow Optim surgeons, travels to meet his patients needs. He, and his two physicians assistants, have offices in Brunswick, Savannah, Reidsvillle, Bluffton, Hilton Head (opening fall 2018), and others. He also sees referrals from out of state.
“I treat patients from Florida, Alabama, South Carolina … it is really so humbling to have those referrals,” he said.
When he is not traveling between offices, he can be traveling between countries. In addition to his busy practice, Kolovich is also the Chief Medical Officer and Co-Founder of Micro C, a mobile x-ray and imaging company.
He also makes it a point to give back.
“I go on mission trips and travel a lot for that. We go to India and Africa, next year we are going to Butan” he stated.
“I also have three kids which keeps us busy too.”