Not every veterinary student will become a surgeon, but most will perform surgery in their careers.

Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine alumnus Justin Ganjei, an accomplished veterinary surgeon in Maryland, offers his expertise to help today’s veterinary students learn proper surgery techniques.

“Surgery is going to be a part of most of their daily lives depending on which route they go,” said Ganjei, '02, DVM '11, the head of minimally invasive surgery and interventional radiology at Veterinary Referral Associates in Gaithersburg, Maryland. “If they go into a surgical residency, then that's all they're going to be doing. But even going into general practice, which a lot of them will do, they’re going to be spaying and neutering and performing some general surgery kind of techniques. So, they need to have exposure to how to do it appropriately, to maximize their success.”

Ganjei is an adjunct assistant professor of small animal surgery and minimally invasive surgery at the veterinary college. He travels from Maryland to Blacksburg on occasion to guide students in surgery labs.

Ganjei became a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Surgeons in 2017. He performs soft tissue and orthopedic surgery, with a primary focus on minimally invasive surgery, interventional radiology, and pain management. He is known for performing many uncommon procedures, such as laparoscopic adrenalectomy, cholecystectomy (gallbladder removal), thoracoscopic pericardiectomy, lung lobectomy, and vascular ring anomaly correction.

Veterinary surgeon teaching students proper veterinary techniques.
In this training lab, Justin Ganjei '02, DVM '11, offers his expertise to help veterinary students learn sterile gowning, gloving and surgery preparation techniques and was conducted in a non-surgical training environment.

While getting things right inside the animal is obviously important in surgery, appearances on the outside matter, too.

“It’s the only thing the owners see,” Ganjei said. “You could do an incredible job in surgery with an amazing, complicated procedure, but have a really ugly incision, and the owners are going to judge that. Animals don't care what they look like, but people do. “

Besides teaching surgery to veterinary college students, Ganjei frequently speaks at national and international veterinary conferences and consults for the Veterinary Information Network. 

But even for an accomplished and widely recognized surgeon like Ganjei, there was a first time. Teaching veterinary students recalls his own first time cutting into animal cadavers. 

“I didn't know I wanted to be a surgeon back then,” Ganjei said. “But it was still fun to have that aspect of things. And, you're nervous. You're excited. You're scared. You're being watched by your professors. And, so, you want to do things right. So, yeah, it brought me back.”

Written by Kevin Myatt, Senior Writer/Editor for the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine.


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