If you’ve ever been to Tampa Bay Reflux Center then you’ve probably met our reflux surgeon Dr. Gopal Grandhige. And if you did, you probably can’t help but feel positively towards him!. This is because, despite his admirable and astonishing accomplishments, Dr. Grandhige is a humble, sweet, and charismatic person who we are all so very happy to know.
When we look at the path that led Dr. Grandhige here, it’s easy to stereotype him as a very smart but uninteresting individual. Yet, knowing him, we can honestly say that this is as far from the truth as it gets.
Dr. Grandhige started off his professional career at the research-focused Johns Hopkins University. After graduating with a B.A. in Biology he attended the University of Michigan Medical School in Ann Arbor, but not before taking a short sabbatical.
“I was a ski bum between college and medical school. I was a lift operator in Aspen Colorado for a season” says Dr. Grandhige, recounting the time spent there as one of his favorite years. He remembers being as fit as ever and getting to ski every day for work and/or play.
The year off refueled him and once it was over he promptly resumed his education at the University of Michigan. Soon after, in 1999, he managed to secure a position in a general surgery residency at Yale University.
Studying general surgery attracted Dr. Grandhige because he always enjoyed building and fixing things. “I loved intricate projects as a kid. I like immediate gratification and love fixing something and immediately seeing somebody better.”
He excelled during his time at Yale, and once his residency was over, he was elected to serve as the Educational Chief Resident during his final year in training. Afterward, Dr. Grandhige remained at Yale for a Minimally Invasive Foregut and Bariatric Surgery Fellowship. Sounds exciting, right?
“In my last year of training I had the fortune of spending time with a great mentor who taught me about reflux surgery, and I fell in love with it because it was an area that many people did not work on as well as it was an area where new research kept coming out and so there was a lot of room for independent thought.”
During his fellowship training, Dr. Grandhige gained expertise in his area of interest and learned about minimally invasive approaches to the foregut (esophagus, stomach, and small intestine). He performed over 300 laparoscopic gastrointestinal procedures, including many bariatric procedures.
“Reflux surgeons are a tight group around the country since there aren’t lots of surgeons who primarily focus on reflux or GERD alone. I go to a conference yearly where about 100 reflux surgeons meet and we hash out current theories and decide best practices and ask the questions that will then go out and be researched. Being part of a group like this really challenges me and fulfills me.”
Today, Dr. Grandhige is known as one of the most experienced foregut and esophageal surgeons in the southeastern United States and performs more than 150 anti-reflux procedures per year. He’s dedicated to what he does and really loves it, too!
“People often ask if I get bored doing the same surgery. I don’t get bored because of the science. The science is still a work in progress and I like to feel that I am contributing in some small way.”
Everything we know about Dr. Grandhige is amazing, but learning about his life outside the practice makes us love him even more. He’s achieved a fulfilling life, both professionally and personally.
During the weekends he likes to cook and meal prep for the upcoming week, as well as shop for fresh ingredients. “I am always trying new healthy recipes and prepare a week’s food all portioned out for my husband and me. I love going to the St. Petersburg farmers market during season to buy whatever organic produce the local farmers are growing and then go home and make up a recipe for what I bought.”
As for what to do after retirement, he’s got a pretty solid plan that we look forward to hearing about almost as much as he looks forward to experiencing it.
“I would like to be a gardener and a mushroom forager. I love being outdoors and getting my hands dirty. I also have this dream of doing an RV trip across America called ‘preserving America’ where I spend a year going around to all the farmer's markets in the country and making jams and preserves from the local produce.”
We just can’t get enough of Dr. Grandhige, he’s an incredible surgeon and an incredible man. If you haven’t gotten to know him yet, we recommend that you do! And, in the meantime, you can also find out whether your constant heartburn is a sign of GERD.