UCSF spine center: one-stop resource for treatment of complex spinal problems in adults and children

By Kimberly Wong

UCSF Medical Center has opened the new UCSF Spine Center, which brings together specialists with expertise in treating adult and pediatric spinal disorders.

“One of the Center’s defining strengths is the consultation among professionals from many medical disciplines to arrive at a collaborative and conclusive diagnosis,” said David Bradford, MD, co-director of the UCSF orthopedic spine service.

“Having all of these specialists in one location will streamline the diagnosis and treatment processes for patients suffering from virtually every kind of adult and pediatric spinal disorder, deformity and disease, including the most complex spine surgery cases.”

The Spine Center team includes orthopedic surgeons, neurosurgeons, neurologists, cancer specialists, physiatrists (who specialize in rehabilitation and non-operative care of spinal disorders), radiologists, rheumatologists (arthritis specialists), nurses, physical therapists, pain specialists and complementary medicine specialists.

In addition to a comprehensive team of providers, patients will also have access to the most advanced diagnostic and treatment equipment available, said Philip Weinstein, MD, co-director of the UCSF neurospinal surgery program and co-director of the UCSF spinal radiosurgery program. These technologies include spinal imaging, computerized three-dimensional surgery and advanced non-invasive Cyberknife radiation treatment for cancer of the bones of the spine and the spinal cord itself, he said.

When surgery is recommended, options include minimally invasive techniques, motion preservation in the spine, image-guided surgery and complex reconstruction of the spine, said Bradford.  “Patients also have access to research protocols and investigational therapies including prosthetic devices that replace damaged discs in the neck and lower back and a minimally invasive treatment called kyphoplasty, for spine fractures caused by osteoporosis.”

When surgery is not recommended, the Spine Center offers referral to a full range of medical treatments, such as physical therapy, acupuncture, bracing, and pain and stress management. “We work with surgical patients as well, both before and after surgery, to ensure the best results,” said Sibel Demir-Deviren, MD, a physiatrist with the Center. “The team works together to achieve the shared goal of optimizing function, reducing pain and improving each patient’s quality of life.”

Additional team members include:

* Christopher Ames, MD, a neurosurgeon who specializes in spinal reconstructive surgery for trauma, tumors and degenerative disease.

* Sigurd Berven, MD, an orthopedic surgeon interested in pediatric and adult deformity, degenerative conditions, spinal tumors and spinal trauma.

* Dean Chou, MD, a neurosurgeon who specializes in minimally invasive thorascopic repair for disc herniations as well as minimally invasive techniques to treat spinal compression.

* Vedat Deviren, MD, an orthopedic surgeon who has interest in spinal deformity and degenerative problems.

* John Engstrom, MD, a neurologist who specializes in neuromuscular disorders.

* Serena Hu, MD, an orthopedic surgeon whose clinical interests include prevention of complications and treatment of adult scoliosis.

* Luc Jasmin, MD, PhD, a neurosurgeon who specializes in pain management and treats a number of disorders including sciatica and cancer pain using spinal and brain stimulation as well as implanted medication pumps.

* Bobby Tay, MD, an orthopedic surgeon whose major interests include exploring the pathways that control injury to the spine and regeneration after spinal cord injury.

The Spine Center is located at 400 Parnassus Avenue, 3rd floor. For more information, call (866) 81-SPINE or visit Spine.