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Spotlight: Neurosurgeon Matthew Hunt partners with researchers to bring new treatments to patients

“Neurosurgery is a very technologically driven field, and the technology is advancing rapidly.”
University of Minnesota Health Neurosurgeon Matthew Hunt, MD, treats patients with tumors of the brain, spine and spinal cord.

Many doctors keep symbols or objects at home or in their office that remind them why they chose a career in medicine.

For Neurosurgeon Matthew Hunt, MD, that item is a blanket gifted to him by one of his patients. Each time he sees it, he feels re-energized and is reminded of the work that still needs to do be done to advance patient care.

We sat down with Hunt to talk about his work as a University of Minnesota Health neurosurgeon and neurosurgical oncologist, his observations on technology and its ability to drive new solutions for patients and his work training the next generation of doctors in Minnesota. Hunt is also a member of the brain tumor program at Masonic Cancer Center, University of Minnesota.

Describe your role within University of Minnesota Health. Does your work include the brain as well as the spinal cord?
I treat patients with tumors of the brain, spine and spinal cord, as well as patients with other spinal disorders.

How have neurosurgical treatments advanced in recent years, and what is your role in helping patients achieve better outcomes?
Neurosurgery is a very technologically driven field, and the technology is advancing rapidly. We have made great improvements in our ability to remove brain tumors accurately and safely, as well as our ability to stabilize patients’ spines when they have been damaged by tumors, or have been diagnosed with other degenerative disorders. Our follow-up treatments are also always improving.

Describe your work with the Brain Tumor Program, and brain tumor patient care.
Our program unites clinicians like myself with researchers at the University of Minnesota. Our researchers develop new, advanced treatments, and we work with them to bring those treatments to the clinic for patients. We plan as a team to work on unmet needs.

Learn more about our neurosurgery services at University of Minnesota Medical Center.

Do you feel that helping training residents makes you a better doctor? In what way?
Training residents always helps keep us on top of our game. They drive us to continually innovate so that we can find better ways to teach them—and help each of them realize his or her potential as a leader in the medical community.

What do you respect about the M Health community?
That there is always an expert right around the corner.

What makes your work memorable? Are there any specific moments you often recall?
Many of my patients have fatal diseases, and any time I get a note or letter from one of the families of these patients, it reminds me of the struggles that they face. I have a blanket that I see nearly every day, which was given to me by a patient. Each time I see it, I am reminded of the work we still need to do to help them. That knowledge reenergizes me to provide the best care possible, and to keep working on developing advancements we can use to help them.