Faces of Cedars-Sinai: Dr. Natasha Trentacosta
Sep 28, 2021 Agata Smieciuszewski
Meet Dr. Natasha Trentacosta, sports medicine orthopaedic surgeon at the Cedars-Sinai Kerlan-Jobe Institute! She grew up in Staten Island, New York, with surgeon parents and didn't think she would follow in their footsteps—but life had other plans.
Learn more about her journey to orthopaedic surgery and what she considers her greatest achievement.
"I don't know if I'm there yet, but something that I hope will be my greatest achievement would be bringing women's sports and pediatric sports centrally here to Cedars-Sinai and developing centers for those two aspects of sports medicine, which I feel are often neglected or just bundled under men's sports."
What drew you to orthopaedics?
Dr. Natasha Trentacosta: The summer before I started medical school, I did a summer internship at the Women's Sports Medicine Center at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York. I knew I wanted to do something surgical, because I liked the idea of operating with my hands and not sitting behind a desk all the time.
What is your favorite part of what you do?
NT: My favorite part is working with pediatric patients. When I have kids in the office, they always make things a little bit lighter and funnier. Kids do say the darndest things sometimes.
What would you say is the most challenging part of what you do?
NT: Balancing a home and work life. Medicine isn't always a "shift" kind of work. Whether or not you're on call, you're thinking about a complicated case. You're thinking about your surgery and preparing for surgery the next day. Trying to finagle that balance is always a tough thing.
What would you do if you weren't in medicine?
NT: Probably astronomy—looking beyond what's here on Earth and farther into the galaxy. My favorite times are when it's a clear night, just looking up at the sky and measuring how far away stars and planets are.
Where do you see your field of study going in the next five years?
NT: I think the big things are focused on using our own bodies, essentially what we call orthobiologics— things like platelet-rich plasma and stem cells—to further augment surgeries and heal things potentially non-operatively for common conditions.
The other big thing that I have an interest in is pushing forward the fields of female athletes as well as pediatric athletes, and further delineating the differences that exist between genders and injury, and potential treatment considerations that need to be taken because of different genders—as well as improving our treatment of pediatric sports injuries.
What does a typical day look like for you?
NT: I usually split my day between the operating room and office hours. I have a 6-month-old at home, so I wake up with her and feed her. If I have the morning off, I get to spend time playing with her. Or I go to the operating room and do cases for the morning. Then I switch to seeing patients in the office for the other half of the day.
What else do you like to do outside of the office?
NT: We love to hike. We live in the Palisades, so we have easy access to Temescal Canyon. That helps me lose the baby weight as well as spend time with my husband and my baby. I also like to travel, although that has been sort of negligible in the last year and a half thing because of COVID-19. We look forward to traveling again!
Where do you like to travel?
NT: Everywhere! We've been to Europe, Mexico, South America. I think I've been to every continent except for Antarctica. We like to do more of an exotic kind of travel, if possible.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
NT: Being here at the Cedars Sinai Kerlan-Jobe Institute. I never imagined myself being at this world-class institution! I don't know if I'm there yet, but something that I hope will be my greatest achievement would be bringing women's sports and pediatric sports centrally here to Cedars-Sinai and developing centers for those two aspects of sports medicine, which I feel are often neglected or just bundled under men's sports.
Dr. David Skaggs is developing the pediatric orthopaedic department and also working on strengthening the pediatric sports medicine aspects of our program here at Cedars-Sinai. When it's all said and done, and in the years to come, that will be my greatest achievement to be part of that.