I was born and raised in Chicago's Beverly neighborhood (Southside: Go White Sox) and attended Rush University Medical School. I completed a 5 year residency program in orthopedic surgery at Loyola University Medical Center. I then completed a 6th year of training (called a fellowship) in spinal surgery with SpineCare Medical Group and the San Francisco Spine Institute. In 1997, I returned to SpineCare Medical Group as a partner and have become President of our group.
I am board certified by both the American Board of Orthopedic Surgery (ABOS) and the American Board of Spine Surgery (ABSS). I have been selected to be one of the oral board examiners (which means I get to ask the questions!) and also to write test questions for the written examination for the ABSS.
What do I do?
First and foremost, I take care of patients with back and neck problems. I see all kinds of patients (young and old) with all kinds of spinal problems (simple and complex). I also teach other doctors about spine surgery.
My goal is to help you achieve the best spine health possible. I do this by giving you expert advice in a personal and compassionate manner. My practice is dedicated 100% to spine care. I offer an interdisciplinary approach, incorporating the best options for your specific injury, simple or complex. I work closely with physical therapists, chiropractors, pain management specialists, spinal injectionists, and keep your primary doctor up to date on our progress.
One exciting part of my job is traveling around the United States (and sometimes internationally) to give lectures and seminars on spine care. I have learned a tremendous amount from the spine doctors I have met all over the world. I am also privileged to have taught many spine surgeons about new and exciting techiniques I am working on in the San Francisco Bay area.
What do I do differently than other spine specialists?
I have limited my practice to spinal care exclusively (100%). Many doctors are part time spine specialists. In this age of rapid technological advancement, it is almost impossible to keep up if you don't concentrate 100% on this complex area of surgery. "Spine" is all I do and I take great pride in the care I give to my patients. By concentrating 100% on the spine I can provide state-of-the art care using the most effective and current technologies.
Additionally, I am very lucky in that I get to see many exciting new technologies early in their development. I work closely with several spine companies and help them develop new or improved options for patients with spine problems. (view examples of these exciting technologies).
Do I have a practice philosophy?
My basic practice philosophy is "Get it right the first time."
A famous architect (Ludwig Mies Van der Rohe ) followed the principal, "Less is more." While he is not necessarily my favorite architect (I prefer Daniel Burnham or Louis Sullivan of The Chicago School of Architecture ) I try to follow that mantra when it comes to surgical treatments and provide my patients with the most effective treatment. Leave the smallest "surgical footprint" possible.
What is my practice like?
I have fantastic partners and a superb staff! If you have been to other spine doctors you can understand how fragmented and confusing the discipline can be for patients to navigate. We are one of a very few unique private groups in the country that have successfully combined the various subspecialties for over 20 years.
SpineCare Medical Group is a group of dedicated spine specialists that have come together, under one roof, to combine our talents and provide comprehensive spinal solutions to our patients. In addition to the 3 attending spine surgeons, we have 2 physicians that specialize in non-surgical pain management. We also have 2 anesthesiologists with advanced training in spinal injections. Our psychologist assists patients with emotional support before and after surgery, as well as smoking cessation and biofeedback techniques.
My staff is friendly, enthusiastic and well qualified. As "Spine Care" is the only thing we do, they are very familiar with the issues that are important and problematic for patients with back problems.
Why do I do research?
Another way my practice is different than most others is our strong track record of performing research. When we do surgery we analyze our results and publish these results in scientific journals. If we are getting good results we want others to learn and benefit. If a practice does not critically look at the results their patients achieve then they have no way of really understanding if they are really helping the patients over time.
Also, I have been fortunate to participate in several FDA trials. These are very exclusive and invitations to be a participant are rare. It is very exciting to be involved in this cutting-edge research and it allows my patients access to technologies before they are available to the general public. Take a look at my section on the The San Francisco Spine Institute for more information.