2021 Top Doctor: Greg Rula, M.D.

Editorial StaffMay 5, 2021
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Photography by Steve Craft
Photography by Steve Craft

General Surgery

Med School/Year Graduated: University of Mississippi College of Medicine/1984

Years in Practice: 31

How much specialization does one find within your field? Do general surgeons tend to specialize in specific organs, or procedures?

Well, [all of us do] a wide breadth of surgeries… including abdominal, breast, head and neck, and soft tissue procedures. Our bread-and-butter operations include hernia repairs of all types, removal of gallbladders and emergency operations such as appendectomies.

Is there a type that is particularly gratifying for you?

I particularly enjoy endocrine surgery, [which is] surgery of thyroid and parathyroid glands, and complex laparoscopic surgery to repair hernias.

This is your 15th Top Doctors list, which is quite a milestone. How many procedures do you estimate you’ve performed in your career?

I would estimate 12 to 13 thousand.

Do you keep in touch with patients after they’ve healed from their surgeries? Any particularly touching or memorable moments?

I have stayed in touch with many of my patients, but one that really stands out is a young woman with incurable cancer that I took care of early in my career. I visited her in her home until her death. I continue to keep in touch with her family to this day.

What has been the biggest change or development in the surgical field since you started?

I would have to say the advancement of technology in ways that I could never have imagined. In training, I never performed minimally invasive laparoscopic procedures, and now the overwhelming majority are done laparoscopically or robotically.

What is the best depiction of your field in TV or film?

For me it will always be the TV show MASH, which I grew up watching. The show piqued my interest in surgery.

What was the last book you read?

Hot, Flat and Crowded, a very thought-provoking read.

Do you have any hobbies or interests you pursue in your spare time?

My wife and I recently became empty nesters, so now we have more time to be outdoors hiking, skiing and walking our puppies.

“If I wasn’t a doctor, I’d be…”

Without a doubt, a veterinarian.

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