Physician Profile

Gus Varnavas, MD

Board-certified Neurosurgeon
Fellowship trained in Neurosurgery

Dr. Gus Varnavas is a board-certified neurosurgeon who specializes in spine surgery and neurosurgery. He has expertise in minimally invasive spine surgery and arthroplasty, which includes artificial disc replacement. Accordingly, Dr. Varnavas is referred spine surgery patients from across Montana, Idaho, Washington State and Wyoming.
Dr. Varnavas entered Loyola University in Chicago in 1982 and earned a bachelor's degree in classical studies in 1986. The same year, Dr. Varnavas was commissioned in the Air Force and entered the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences. Dr. Varnavas completed his M.D. degree in 1990 at the University of the Health Sciences, Bethesda, Maryland. He then completed a seven-year neurosurgery residency at State University of New York (SUNY) and then a one-year neurosurgery fellowship in 1998 at SUNY in skull base surgery and complex spine surgery. Dr. Varnavas is a Diplomate of the American Board of Neurological Surgeons and a Fellow of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons.
During his career, Dr. Varnavas had six years of service in the U.S. Air Force, serving as a neurosurgeon medical director; director of neurotrauma and critical care; and instructor of the military surgical trauma training course at Lackland Air Force Base at Wilford Hall Medical Center. While at Wilford Hall, he was the Director of Neuro-Trauma and Critical Care Divisions, a Senior Instructor for the TRACs course, and the AFSOC Medical consultant for the USAF Pararescue/ Combat Controller Indoctrination Course. In addition to his military duties, he was a Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio until 2002. He co-authored the neuro-trauma chapter of the USAF Pararescue Medical Manual and collaborated on several other projects primarily in the areas of diagnosis, treatment and stabilization of brain and spinal injuries at the level of first responders, forward positions, transport and hospital.

Other areas of interest had been in relation to the military in the areas of high altitude medicine, extreme environments lactic acid responses, training effectiveness, diagnostics and treatments.

Dr. Varnavas has had a strong presence in the Pacific Northwest over the past 20 years. In 2002 he entered private practice as a neurosurgeon with Big Sky Neuroscience and Spine in Butte, MT. In 2007, Dr. Varnavas relocated to Washington where he settled and practiced at a regional medical center based in Wenatchee, Washington that served the central corridor of the state. In 2016, Dr. Varnavas relocated back to his home in Montana to develop a spine program for central and western Montana.

Dr. Varnavas is specialized in spine surgery and neurosurgery, with particular expertise in:

  • complex neck (cervical) problems
  • thoracic (upper back) problems
  • revision spine surgery
  • spine tumor
  • spinal deformity
  • degenerative scoliosis
  • occipital-cervical pathologies

Because successful removal of spinal tumors often requires complex reconstructive surgery, Dr. Varnavas has become proficient in surgeries requiring imaginative reconstruction and fixation of the occiput, neck and upper spine. Dr. Varnavas receives referrals from across the Montana region for these complex cases, along with revision surgery for those patients who have had failed back surgery at other clinics, often acting as the spine surgeon of last resort for patients who have not been treated successfully by other spine clinics. In all cases, he strives to return patients to an active lifestyle.

Dr. Varnavas was a co-founder of a small business that helped Special Operating Forces (SOF) increase their effectiveness while operating in austere environments and in extreme combat conditions.

Dr. Varnavas is certified by the American Board of Neurological Surgeons. He is licensed to practice in both Montana and Washington State.

On a personal level, Dr Varnavas is an avid outdoors man who enjoys shooting, hiking, fishing and hunting. He is also a horse team driver and a chef. Other interests include cycling, weight training, backpacking, snow shoeing and studying history. He also has an interest in mechanics and is in the process of restoring a 1979 Harley Davidson low rider, building a modified pre Evo shovel head and is in the final stage of a modified 1982 CJ 5.

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Need an Appointment?

Gus Varnavas, MD at Community Hospital of Anaconda specializes in the treatment of back and neck pain and strives to help people return to activity. Request an appointment with Dr. Varnavas in his office in Anaconda, MT.