Dr. Howard Smith earned his medical degree from University of Oklahoma College of Medicine in 1985. He did his residency and internship of Neurological Surgery at the University of Missouri-Columbia. He is certified by American Board of Neurological Surgery. His specialty is Neurological Surgery and special expertise in Neurosurgical Procedures. He has been in practice for more than 20 years.
Smith didn’t hesitate to say what his motivation was for becoming a neurosurgeon. “I had an uncle and a cousin die of brain tumors. That’s what inspired me,” he said as he took a quick break in his office between a morning of seeing patients and heading off to the hospital.
Smith typically treats degenerative diseases and injuries of the brain, spine and head, along with broken necks. “Most of the work we do is not trauma, but treating conditions such as degenerative disease, herniated disk, cervical or lumbar stenosis, brain tumors and brain infections,” said Smith, who hails from Bartlesville, Okla.
He’s had good luck with using more minimally invasive methods treating those conditions, he said. Years ago, the types of surgery he performs were much more complicated. “Patients used to be in the hospital three or four days and need a blood transfusion,” he said. “Now they can go home the same day.”
Smith also has a unique perspective on practicing medicine. He earned his law degree from Loyola University in 2002 and worked as a medical malpractice defense attorney in Mississippi for a time after injuring his knee in 1994. The knee injury meant he couldn’t stand for long periods and operate on patients, and his caseload had dropped considerably. Smith said his wife suggested law school because she thought he was bored after he had quit operating. “I went to night law school in New Orleans after working from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.,” he said. “It took me four years. It was a two-hour trip there and two-hour drive home.”
But once his knee healed, he went back to being a surgeon. “I always liked being a doctor better,” he said with a smile.