2019 Top Doctor: Gavin Slethaug

Editorial StaffMarch 21, 2019
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Photography by Steve Craft
Photography by Steve Craft

Interventional Radiology

Med School/Year Graduated: University of Toronto, 1993

Years in Practice: 19

Interventional radiology is one of our new categories this year, split off from diagnostic radiology. What is the distinction, in layman’s terms?

I think it’s great that you’ve created a new category for [us]. There are lots of talented IRs in the Valley. Diagnostic radiologists interpret static images from things like X-ray, ultrasound, CTs, etc. to make a diagnosis on patients. Interventional radiologists essentially use live images to guide minimally invasive procedures and treat patients.

What inspired you to pursue interventional radiology?

I went through medical school planning to be an orthopedic surgeon – I was always involved in athletics and my uncle was a well-known orthopedic surgeon who served as a close mentor to me. It seemed like a natural fit… but in my last year of medical school, I took a radiology elective and was introduced to IR.  I loved the variety of the work, the exposure to so many clinical conditions, the ability to treat patients through a tiny skin nick as opposed to a long surgical incision and the field’s focus on innovation. After my first year of orthopedics, I switched over to radiology [and] really never
looked back.

What are the most common procedures you perform?

I have a focus on vascular intervention including treatment of peripheral vascular disease with stenting and angioplasty, treatment of aneurysms, women’s health treatments and interventional treatment of oncology patients.

How has your work affected your life and how you handle your own health?

I would love to say that I’m overcommitted to my own personal health because of the disease processes that I see and treat daily. The reality is that I’m super busy, have a young family and try to spend any available spare time with my family. However, I do try to work out and stay active.

You went to medical school in Canada, eh? What do you miss most about the country up north?

Short answer: Tim Hortons doughnuts, poutine, Northern lakes and the good friends that I grew up [with]. Long answer: My parents were Americans who moved to Canada as my father was in academics. I grew up in Canada, and England for a short time, spent my summers in Montana, and as soon as I left the house, my folks moved to Hong Kong and then Denmark. So I guess I’ve always had a somewhat global perspective on things.

What are you watching on Netflix these days?

Honestly, I typically rely on my wife to show me how to even find a show on Netflix. My TV watching consists of a lot of sports, as well as whatever my 8- and 10-year-olds are watching while I do work on my laptop.

“If I wasn’t a doctor, I’d be…”

An entrepreneur or in corporate America. I like numbers and I like building programs and entities.

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