We had the good fortune of connecting with Matthew Schultzel and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Matthew, what is the most important factor behind your success?
In the field of Medicine a doctor has two options: one is to work for an organization, the other is to be a private practice physician. I decided on starting my own business as a private practice surgeon. As a self employed physician, I felt I could succeed or fail based on my own merits. Additionally, a great deal of time is required to be spent working to provide “sweat equity” to build the practice. This often times is difficult after working long days. While this is a stressful choice, it does also empower me to set my own course. Due to the highly desirable living situation that San Diego provides, starting a new surgical practice in town was not easy. In order to succeed I had to review the demographics of the county as well as the surrounding counties in order to find my niche. I entered the San Diego area in 2017. During that time Robotic surgery in regards to Colorectal Surgery and General Surgery was not very popular or mainstream. This was a stark contrast to the rest of the US where robotic surgery was quickly becoming the standard. I underwent an extra year of surgical training after residency to master Minimally Invasive Colon and Rectal Surgery as well as to get extra robotic training. This allowed me to have a competitive edge and offer my patients the highest level of surgical care. Once the word was spread that this kind of care was offered I became very busy. Another niche that my practice offers is that we run a concierge style surgical program; where one of our team members is available 24-7. We do not charge patients for this service. This goes contrary to other practices who charge extra for the extra access.
The most important factor behind my success and the success of my brand has been the support from my family, friends, and colleagues. The three most important factors to being a good doctor are: availability, affability, and ability. However, without the support of my wife, family, and friends this can burn a physician out very quickly. The practice of medicine today is a service industry. Not only do we provide top level care, but customer service is equally as important. Our support networks allow us to recharge and reset.
Finally, without our ever important colleagues who send the patient to us for care, we could not succeed. I am always honored to take care of patients referred to our practice.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I am a Surgeon here in San Diego. My specialty is Minimally Invasive Colon and Rectal Surgery, General Surgery, and Robotic Surgery. I am the highest volume Robotic Surgeon in San Diego County. I am so proud to be able to offer this amazing technology to my patients. We have a great record of taking on the most difficult surgical cases with a great success rate. I have a passion for Colon and Rectal Cancers due to my eldest brother and grandmother both having colon cancer. My practice is providing fully minimally invasive surgery for these patients which allow for a much faster recovery, less pain, less blood loss, and a faster return to the patients’ daily life. I take it as a personal mission to eradicate cancer and I see every patient as another family member in this sense.
I credit my success to the rigorous training I received in my fellowship at Houston Methodist under the instruction of Dr. Eric Haas, MD (Chairman of Colon and Rectal Surgery at Houston Methodist) and Dr. J.P. LeFave, MD. Both surgeons are master class in their skill and are true innovators.
My practice has grown to be one the highest volume in Southern California. This was not without a significant amount of effort. The biggest challenge was the time spent away from my family in order to provide patient care. Long days, late nights, and often times no vacation for a few years was a challenge. However, after I put my time in to build the practice and the brand, it has all worked out in a great way for my practice.
Other than the honor to take care of patients, our team has the great honor of giving back to the next group of future physicians. Consistently, we have pre-medical students who come into shadow and volunteer. We also have medical students from all over the country come to spend some months with us. Seeing the next generation of future doctors is really inspiring.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
If my best friend was visiting the area, San Diego has so many great places to offer. Luckily, my twin brother who is my best friend lives right here in San Diego! However, for those visiting San Diego I would certainly take them to the various beaches here. I personally love Coronado and the Del Mar City beach. My great dane Thor loves the Del Mar Beaches as he can come hang out there with us. If you like to run, both are great. The surfing is amazing all up and down the coast as well. Other than the beach, I would visit UCSD my alma mater, the San Diego Zoo, and I would most likely visit the two best views in town: Cabrillo Light House and Mt Soledad.
As for dining options the Cottage in La Jolla is the best brunch in town. The food there is so good I had my rehearsal dinner there. The staff treat you like family. San Diego has some of the best ethnic food around. I highly recommend Convoy Street for good food.
San Diego has some great breweries as well! I would recommend Harland Brewery in Bay Park as a good starting spot.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I would like to give a special Shoutout to my family (wife and super dog Thor Von Schultz @therealthorvonschultz). I would like to give a special Shoutout to my twin brother Dr. Mark Schultzel, MD who is an expert orthopedic surgeon who provides the top level of orthopedic care to San Diego @orthokendodoc. Finally, I would like to send a Shoutout and thank you to Dr. Christine Chiu from Price Rite Pharmacy and TRU Leaf Labs @truleaflabs for nominating my practice for this interview and for taking such amazing care of my patients through the years. It is truly an honor to care for patients with your help.