Meet our Docs: Neurosurgeon Brent Clyde, M.D., joins Wyoming Neurosurgery and Spine
By Kristy Bleizeffer Oct 20, 2020
Wyoming Medical Center is happy to announce that board-certified neurosurgeon Brent Clyde, M.D., has returned to Casper full time.
Dr. Clyde joins neurosurgeon Paul Matz, M.D., at Wyoming Neurosurgery and Spine at 6600 E. Second St. The practice welcomes new patients from across Wyoming.
Dr. Clyde knows Wyoming well. He served as a locum tenens physician here for many years, covering call and treating neurosurgical patients when needed.
“I'm really excited to be here,” he said. “I love Wyoming, and I love the outdoors. I love that attitude of live and let live. People here just have a real relaxed attitude.”
Learn more about Dr. Clyde in the interview below.
Where did you grow up and how did you become interested in medicine?
I was born in Canada. My mom is Canadian and my parents worked on Grandpa's farm, but I was raised in southern California from age 3. My mom was an X-ray tech, and I started working in the department doing clerical work. She would bring us up on the weekends and pay us 50 cents a patient to do the paperwork while she did the X-rays.
I got an official job there in high school. They had just gotten a first-generation CT scanner. They weren't an open tube like they are now, but only scanned heads. There was a rubber balloon like thing that had liquid behind it and went over a patient’s head, so some head trauma cases were kind of messy. I was really interested in the machine, initially, and wanted to be an electrical engineer. It was the early days of computers and it was fascinating to me.
And then I started watching how doctors read films, talked to other doctors, working through diagnosis and solving problems. After a year of college at UCLA, I was still working there, and I switched to premed.
Why did you specialize in neurosurgery?
That was a longer process. Medical school is where you start to weed that out and choose your specialty. When I think about medicine, I am drawn to the hands-on treatment kind more than the diagnosis and management. I like to work with my hands, and I was always fiddling with stuff in the garage with my dad. So I settled on a surgical field, and neurosurgery had a lot of intricacy and a lot of unknowns that really interested me. It looked like an evolving field with a lot of future.
Very many of the things neurosurgeons deal with are not happy. I appreciate the responsibility of helping patients through a diagnosis like that. I think I'm very good with people, and I actually enjoy the interactions with people even in tough times.
Tell us about your training.
I had four years of medical school. Then I did one year of internship, where you kind of sample all the different surgical fields, and then six years of residency in neurological surgery at the University of Pittsburgh. That included 13 months of pediatric neurosurgery in which we did a four-month rotation each year for three years, but I did an extra month for whatever reason.
What is your history with Wyoming Medical Center?
I met Dr. Sramek (a former WMC neurosurgeon) at a deep brain stimulator conference regarding treatment of Parkinson's disease, because we both did that procedure. He told me that he needed help now and then, a week here or there, to cover call. I was solo practice at the time, and I had never done temping before, but I thought maybe I’d like doing it. I did that for a couple of years. A while later, they asked me to do it again and it turned into 10 days each month, for perhaps 6 years.
A few years ago, I’d been doing a lot of temping, but I wanted to finish the last 10 to 15 years of my career in one place. I took a job at a Level I trauma center because they had no neurosurgeon, and I was just overwhelmed. Wyoming Health Medical Group called me about four months ago and asked if I wanted to do what I used to, come 10 or 15 days a month. I said I would come full-time and we talked a few more times, and then it fell into place.
How do you feel about being here full time?
I like the people at Wyoming Medical Center. The strength of the hospital is the people. The doctors are really good. I really like the neurologists, and the general surgeons and trauma team are great. I watch how they manage the trauma patients, and it is very cohesive and logical. The medical staff gets along very well and is cohesive.
What has you excited about neurosurgery right now?
I'm a little old school. I’m a little discouraged about the direction spine has gone. For some physicians, it’s become about putting in screws, bolts and rods in hopes that they can cure back pain. I think we do a disservice to patients with an aggressive approach. What excites me is being a voice for reason, being able to give patients a fair and balanced second opinion about very serious surgery. Of course I also enjoying performing surgery as well.
Our ability to perform brain surgery is vastly improved than it was 30 years ago because we have image guidance that guides us within millimeters of our targets. These new computer systems are just like your GPS. The camera in the room is the satellite, and you put markers on the head and all of the instruments. The camera detects all of those. You take the pre-op MRI and put it in the computer, it merges it with the patient's head markers, and then anytime you move the patient's bed or the instruments, it's like a GPS following your car on the road. It knows right where you are and right where that pointer is and right where your drill is. That has made brain surgery much safer and is available even in many smaller communities such as Casper.
The only part of neurosurgery that I don't like is that I enjoy the feel of being a family practice small community doctor. I feel like there is more of that here even as a specialist, so I feel more like I am community based, and that's great. You just get to know people in a smaller community, and your reputation matters here.