V. Keith Rhynes, MD, MBA, FACS, general surgeon at Surgeons Group of Baton Rouge and Our Lady of the Lake Physician Group, wears many hats in his professional life. He’s the program director of the Minimally Invasive Surgery Fellowship and assistant program director of the General Surgery Residency at LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans, and medical director of the Our Lady of the Lake Robotic Surgery Institute. He’s also a clinical professor of surgery in the Department of Surgery at LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans.
At heart, however, Dr. Rhynes is a person who likes to fix things. He honed that inclination at an early age while growing up in Marksville—and it helped set him on his career path.
“I grew up on a farm and spent every summer working with my father and grandfather,” Dr. Rhynes says. “I have some mechanical inclination with a pretty good base of common sense. I had multiple chemistry sets as a kid, so science was a natural attraction. Surgery seemed like a logical choice for me—surgeons get to fix things, and surgery provides immediate gratification, it’s high energy, and it continues to evolve.”
Dr. Rhynes received his medical degree from LSU Health Shreveport, where he also completed an internship and residency in general surgery. He completed a Fellowship in multi-organ transplantation at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
Drawn to Robotic Surgery
Dr. Rhynes began performing robotic surgery in 2010 and has watched the technology and surgical techniques evolve to accommodate ever more complex procedures.
“We can now perform complex surgery of the liver, stomach, pancreas and intestines using robotics,” Dr. Rhynes says. “Patients do better with robotic surgery. Robotic technology offers 4D magnification and 360-degree rotation of the wristed instruments, which allows us to make smaller incisions. That leads to shorter hospital stays, fewer wound infections, and a quicker return to work and normal activity levels for patients.”
Dr. Rhynes treats benign and cancerous conditions of the colon, stomach, liver, gallbladder and bile ducts, and gastroesophageal reflux, hernias, and thyroid, parathyroid and adrenal disorders.
“My favorite surgical cases are stomach/reflux-related and colon procedures,” Dr. Rhynes says. “That’s because these patients are doing so much better with minimally invasive surgery compared with open surgery.”
All Together Now
Medicine is a team sport, and Dr. Rhynes credits Our Lady of the Lake with supporting Surgeons Group of Baton Rouge with the latest technology so the practice can offer the best patient care possible. Dr. Rhynes is proud of the outstanding group of surgeons his practice has assembled.
“Our practice has extensive experience in all aspects of general surgery, especially minimally invasive surgery and robotic surgery,” he says. “We understand that surgery and medicine are collaborative efforts with patients’ primary care physicians, oncologists and other providers.”
Rock Star Treatment
Beyond medicine, Dr. Rhynes has a diverse set of interests. Chief among them is rock music—he’s a fan of Van Halen and Ryan Bingham—although he describes his attempts to play guitar as less than melodic.
“I make noise—I’m not sure I would consider it playing guitar,” Dr. Rhynes says. “I started making noise during my surgery residency. I’m mostly a gearhead who collects.”
When he needs to relax, Dr. Rhynes gets back to his roots by going back to the land. He takes his self-described “hunting buddy,” a German wirehaired pointer named Macallan Wallace, to his property in Mississippi.
“Being there takes me back to my childhood with tractors, land maintenance and planting,” Dr. Rhynes says. “It’s quiet, and there’s no internet service.”
Given his love of the land, it’s no surprise that Dr. Rhynes’ favorite TV show is Yellowstone. His film preferences provide clues about his future plans.
“My favorite movies are Braveheart and Rob Roy,” Dr. Rhynes says. “I will disappear, one day, into the Scottish Highlands.”