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Published on September 12, 2017

Neurosurgeon Joins Meritas Health Neurosurgery

As Kristopher T. Kimmell, MD, was nearing the completion of his seven-year neurosurgery residency at the University of Rochester Medical Center, he sought to fulfill two goals in selecting his medical practice.

Dr. Kimmell in operating room

Kristopher T. Kimmell, MD, who joined Meritas Health Neurosurgery in
July, earned his medical degree from the University of
Oklahoma College of Medicine and completed his residency
in neurosurgery at the University of Rochester Medical
Center.

First, he wanted to work in a busy office under the mentorship of a skilled and compassionate surgeon. Second, he wanted to return to the Midwest, so he and his wife could bring their children closer to his parents and other family members in Oklahoma.

He found both with Stephen L. Reintjes, MD, and Meritas Health Neurosurgery.

“I was drawn to Dr. Reintjes for his unpretentious and straightforward character. He worked tirelessly to build Meritas Health Neurosurgery, and he is well-respected among physicians and patients,” Dr. Kimmell said. “I knew I wanted to work with him, and I will strive to emulate his philosophy of care as we broaden Meritas Health Neurosurgery’s spectrum of care.”

He also was impressed by the support of Meritas Health and North Kansas City Hospital staff members. “Everyone I met, whether they were clinical or administrative people, made it clear that the physician-patient relationship was central to the mission,” Dr. Kimmell said. “You walk in the hospital, and you know important work is done here, yet it also has a down-to-earth feel. Meritas Health and North Kansas City Hospital have blended into the community and become the place for healthcare in the Northland.”

Gifted Neurosurgeon

Dr. Kimmell provides all aspects of neurosurgical care, including surgery for brain and pituitary tumors. He also possesses expertise in the surgical treatment of degenerative diseases and traumatic injuries of the cervical, thoracic and lumbar regions of the spine. In particular, he focuses on treatment of:
• Brain aneurysms
• Brain and spinal cord injuries and tumors
• Chronic pain
• Herniated discs
• Pituitary tumors
• Spinal diseases, injuries and stenosis
• Stroke

“The addition of Dr. Kimmell creates a whole new dimension of spine surgery. Meritas Health Neurosurgery now provides the full spectrum of spinal fusions for degenerative, oncologic and traumatic conditions,” said Dr. Reintjes, pointing to surgical treatment of spondylolisthesis and fractures. “Together, he and I look forward to continuing the tradition of providing excellent patient care.”

That tradition involves working with referring physicians. “Physicians can refer to Dr. Reintjes, me and then to other neurosurgeons as we add them to the practice,” Dr. Kimmell explained. “It’s about determining what’s in the patient’s best interests.”

Path to Neurosurgery

Dr. Kimmell credits his path to neurosurgery to two passions – science and helping people. “The impulse to become a physician started when I was in high school. I loved science, I’ve always had a curious mind, and I enjoyed experimentation and inquiry,” he said.

He came to realize his desire to help people when he did volunteer work with a faith-based organization. “After I finished my undergraduate degree, I took a five-year hiatus, Dr. Kimmell said. “During that time, I did missionary training. The lessons I learned about working with, understanding and listening to people are things that I’ve carried with me all through medical school and my residency training.”

His interest in neurosurgery began in medical school, when he delved into neurology-based research and was exposed to patient care and the operating room during his clinical rotations.

Today, his philosophy of care is to think of his patients as if they are his family members. “The thought of going to a neurosurgeon can be overwhelming for people, so I want to make them as comfortable as possible, whether it’s seeing them in my office or the emergency room,” Dr. Kimmell said. “It’s such a unique opportunity to make an impact in people’s lives. You walk in when they are in some form of extremis, and you help them in a very fundamental way.”

Education and Research

Dr. Kimmell graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor’s degree from the University of Oklahoma. He received his medical degree with distinction from the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine, where he was a member of Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society, a Dean’s Scholar and the recipient of several academic scholarships. He completed his residency in neurosurgery at the University of Rochester Medical Center.

His research has focused on cost modeling of neurosurgical procedures, comparative effectiveness of surgical interventions and risk stratification of post-operative complications in neurosurgical patients. He also is involved with patient safety initiatives at the national level.

A member of the AANS Neurosurgeon editorial board, Dr. Kimmell also is an ad-hoc reviewer for the American Journal of Neuroradiology, Biomed Central Anesthesiology, Clinical Anatomy and Neurosurgery. He is widely published, having authored and co-authored nearly 50 abstracts, book chapters, editorials, journal articles and presentations.