VES Member Spotlight: Dr. Justin Ganjei


I was born and raised in MD/DC/VA and did the typical “kid who always wanted to be a vet” thing. After graduating from Virginia Tech with a BS in biology, I worked at the National Institutes of Health for a year focused on brain & breast cancer and stem cell models in rats.  I then returned to Blacksburg and received my DVM from the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine in 2011.  Following vet school I completed a rotating internship in Maryland and then a surgical internship and residency with Veterinary Surgical Centers in Virginia, where I have since worked as a surgeon.

Tell us about your current role (ie. Practice type, position, professional and research focuses?)

I am currently a staff surgeon at Veterinary Surgical Centers, a private practice surgical center that is a part of a 24-hour emergency and referral hospital in Northern Virginia.  I perform both orthopedic and soft tissue surgery, but have a focus in minimally invasive surgery and interventional radiology.  I’m also involved in the training of our surgical interns and residents

How do you incorporate MIS into your surgery clinic?

I try and incorporate MIS into the daily life of the clinic.  I spend a lot of time educating public, referring veterinarians, and other specialists on the possibilities of MIS to increase the caseload.  Prior to and during my residency, the only MIS procedures being performed were lap OE, liver biopsies, -assisted gastropexies, and very infrequent pericardial window.  I was thrilled to be able to expand that to the more complicated procedures that we historically only read about.  One of my mentor’s motto’s was “you can flap anything” and I was happy to have my residents now establish that my motto is “you can scope anything”.

What excites you about MIS? (or tell us about a MIS success story)

Literally everything!  I will never forget the moment I did my first thoracoscopic pericardial window and was in awe of that patient standing and eating within an hour of extubation.  I am excited by the tremendous benefits to the patients it offers and by the constant evolution of the subspecialty that allows us to do more and more.  I also love all the unique instrumentation that is out there that we get to play with.

Why do you love being a VES member?

In a society where it is all too often said to “just open them up” it is fantastic to be surrounded by a group of individuals that challenge this notion and share the passion of MIS with each other.  I also really enjoy learning about all the amazing things the members do here and the support that is offered to everyone.

Where would you like to see veterinary MIS go in the future?

I would love for MIS to become an integral and highly sought after aspect of veterinary medicine in the future that is considered the gold standard for many procedures.

What do you like to do for fun outside of veterinary medicine?

I play a lot of music (guitar, bass, drums, piano) and am part of a band, The High Pressure Gradients.  Can you tell that there are several cardiologists in the band??  I also love to travel, experiment with cooking and gardening and 3D printing.