Robert L. Masson, M.D.
Dr. Masson is an honors graduate of the Junior Honors BS/MD program at the University of Florida College of Medicine. He completed medical school in 1988 and remained in Gainesville to complete his Neurological Surgery residency in 1995. While a resident he completed special training in Skull Base surgery and Neuro-otology at the House Ear Institute in Los Angeles and Cerebrovascular Microsurgery in Gainesville. He also has extensive training in neurophysiological monitoring, microendoscopic neurosurgery and computer-assisted surgical navigation. While in Gainesville, he was inspired by mentors Dr. Albert Rhoton and Dr. Richard Fessler. He credits his inspiration in Neurosurgery to Dr. Rhoton, whose goal to advance microsurgery throughout the world, remains a gauntlet for further development and creation. He credits Dr. Fessler for his inspiration in improving surgical techniques in minimal access spinal surgery.
He has extensive experience with computer assisted neuronavigation and fluoroscopic surgery, and has special training in microendoscopic surgery. He has served as a consultant and participant in clinical trials and research using biological agents in spinal surgery, such as scar reduction drugs and stem cell fusion materials.. He has been a consultant with the leading companies in his field on the design, implementation and education of minimally invasive surgical products.
In 2003, he dedicated his practice of medicine to minimally invasive spine surgery. He has advanced methodology for trans-facet oblique lumbar interbody reconstructive methods and is a leader in the expertise of diagnosis and management of complex spinal stenosis. He has invented interpedicular minimal access surgery (iMAS) and is currently developing spinal instrumentation for Synthes Spine in minimal access spinal surgery. In addition to over 5000 neurosurgical procedures, he had done over 1200 microreconstructive fusions using the iMAS/OLIF method as of December 2008. The results from these patients have vastly exceeded previous expectations. He is an expert on epidural fibrosis, failed back syndrome and lateral recess disease and has pioneered the surgical treatment of lateral recess disease using minimally destructive neurosurgical techniques.
He currently teaches minimal access thoracolumbar spinal reconstruction, stabilization and decompression internationally, and artificial cervical disc surgery throughout the United States.
Philosophically, he believes that surgery is reserved for complete failure to conservatively treat the spinal disorder for pain and dysfunction. Except for cases of neurological compromise, he counsels his patients on the wide variety of conservative treatments available, and is quite accustomed to custom fitting each patient’s unique situation.
He has special training in all approaches used in spinal reconstructive surgery and chooses a particular surgical approach based on which of them is best served for each individual patient.
He is an active member of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, North American Spine Society, and Florida Neurosurgical Association. The American Board of Neurological Surgery certified him in 1999.
Dr. Masson specializes in return to sport, and is dedicated to developing spine treatment algorhythyms that provide the highest possibility of maintaining physical activity at the highest level, when prudent, following spinal injury. He faithfully believes that maintenance of physical conditioning is essential to total health and is committed to this ideal. He treats a wide variety of professional and amateur athletes, representing athletes from the NFL, NBA, MLB and PGA/LPGA tours, among others. He is an advisor to GolfFitness Magazine and has been featured on Discovery Health as an expert in Neurological Surgery.
Asked about his experience with the program, Dr. Masson reflects: “I was privileged to be accepted to the Junior Honors Medical Program in the spring of 1983. The transitional year, my junior year, was the most stimulating year of my education, and prepared me to do more than just ‘practice’ medicine. It gave me perspective on medical science, research and politics and enabled me to pursue a surgical practice where I am active in development, research and product development. I have always felt blessed and enabled because of the Junior Honors years and will forever be grateful for the learning process that it uniquely provided me.”