Welcome to the SpineCare Medical Group, the Bay Area’s premier comprehensive spine center of excellence.
Who we are
The SpineCare Medical Group is a multidisciplinary team of internationally recognized physicians and surgeons who have dedicated their careers to the treatment of patients with spinal disease. Our doctors work together to provide the most complete, state of the art and compassionate care for patients with conditions of the cervical, thoracic and lumbar spine. The SpineCare Medical Group is Northern California’s most trusted resource for patients with pain and disability due to degeneration (arthritis), trauma (injury), deformity, infection or cancer of the spine.
Why Choose SpineCare
The Bay Area is home to many options when it comes to treatment for spine conditions. The SpineCare Medical Group is unique. We are the region’s only comprehensive multidisciplinary group dedicated solely to the care for all conditions of the spine. Our team of highly trained specialists, including world class spine surgeons and medical and interventional pain management physicians work together to insure that all non-operative options are explored first, and if surgery is required, our team approach insures that patients get the latest in minimally invasive-maximally effective surgery. We have the volume and experience necessary to treat the most complex spine conditions including those resulting from severe deformity and failed prior surgery, and insure the best outcomes for these challenging cases. Because we are not affiliated with a medical school or residency program; our only responsibility is to our patients and all treatment is administered directly by SpineCare physicians.
The SpineCare Difference
In the office
As a new patient, your first visit will be with one of our spine surgeons. He will perform a thorough history, reviewing your symptoms, areas of pain, weakness and disability as well as prior treatments including therapy, injections and surgeries. He will also perform a complete physical exam and obtain necessary studies including x-rays, CT and MRI and review image studies you’ve already had. At SpineCare, we know these issues can be complicated and we set aside enough time for all new patients to make sure nothing is rushed. Many of these initial visits can last an hour or more.
Successful treatment of any spinal condition starts with proper diagnosis. At SpineCare we use many different tools to obtain an accurate diagnosis. This includes MRI and CT scans, diagnostic injections, electro diagnostics and psychological evaluations. The patient history and physical examination, of course, remains the most important diagnostic tool. Once a diagnosis is obtained we start on a treatment plan.
The vast majority of spinal conditions can be addressed without surgery. Non-surgical (conservative) care includes physical therapy, medications, therapeutic injections and a wide variety of non-invasive pain interventions.
For many patients, the first step is physical therapy. From our over 25 years in the area we have assembled a database of therapists in the region and throughout the state that are properly trained and have had success in treating conditions of the spine. We refer our patients to the best therapist for their condition. We also encourage the use of non-traditional modalities such as acupuncture, meditation, yoga and manipulative therapies.
Many types of back pain as well as referred pain to the arms and legs can be treated very effectively with therapeutic injections. Examples of such injections include epidurals, selective nerve blocks, facet blocks, medial branch blocks and rhizotomy. To ensure the most successful outcomes these injections must be performed in a very precise manner, employing x-ray guidance and advanced techniques.
The SpineCare team includes board certified pain management physicians with training in anesthesiology and additional training in interventional pain management. Their expertise ensures that our patients get the very best results possible from these challenging procedures. Additionally, because of their background in anesthesiology, these caring physicians will often administer sedation while performing the interventions to ensure that the patient is comfortable throughout the procedure.
Medical Pain Management
Chronic pain of any source can be a very challenging condition to treat. Many powerful pain medications exist that, when used correctly, provide patients with the relief needed to get through the day, continue working and enjoy life. Managing chronic pain in this manner is extremely complex. The SpineCare team includes physicians who specialize in medical pain management. They employ the latest medications including narcotic and non-narcotic, anti-inflammatory and neuromodulating medications to help patients control pain. These doctors will oversee treatment and ensure that patients get the best relief with minimal side effects.
At SpineCare we aim to treat spinal conditions by non-operative means whenever possible. The vast majority of are patients find great success with proper non-surgical treatment. However, when non-operative management fails to control pain or when advanced deformity, instability or neurological injury exists, surgery becomes the best option. Recent minimally invasive techniques have revolutionized spine surgery. The SpineCare surgeons are continually involved in training to provide the latest in surgical options to our patients. We strive to select the least invasive/most effective approach to all surgical conditions of the spine. This minimizes recovery time, lowers complication risks and allows our patients to return to activity and work as soon as possible. As you’ll discover, SpineCare employs a truly unique team approach to surgery.
At SpineCare we understand that the decision to proceed with spine surgery is one of the most difficult decisions a patient and doctor can make. Surgical planning is critical to insure the best outcome. The complete SpineCare team is involved in this process for all surgical patients. At SpineCare, we hold regular preoperative planning meetings with all members of the team present. Each surgical patient is presented to the team, and history, imaging, exam and prior treatments are reviewed. The team discusses the plan, ensures that all appropriate non-operative options have been explored and that the surgical plan is correct for the patient. Such meetings ensure that each surgical patient has the benefit of the combined knowledge and experience of the entire SpineCare team when deciding on the best course of treatment. It is not uncommon for treatment plans to be modified at these meetings.
The unique SpineCare team approach carries over into the operating room and is unique to the region. SpineCare surgeons perform all aspects of the procedure and never operate with medical students, residents or fellows. Our dedicated physician assistants (PAs) assist the surgeons on shorter, less complex procedures. The SpineCare PAs have undergone extensive additional training in spine surgery to insure they can assist in the safest and most effective ways possible. For our more complex procedures such as multilevel fusions, deformity correction, revision surgery, tumor surgery and extensive neurological decompressions, two SpineCare surgeons perform the procedure together, assisting each other. When the spine must be accessed from the front (anterior approach, through the abdomen), experienced vascular surgeons perform the exposure to insure patient safety. There are no trainees (medical students, residents or fellows) involved in any aspect of our patients’ care.
Our surgeries are performed at hospitals that do large volumes of spine surgery and have the equipment, experience and expertise needed to ensure the best outcomes. Because of our team approach, our large volume and extensive collective experience, as well as our hospitals’ experience in caring for our patients, we are able to perform complex spinal procedures usually reserved for academic centers in a safe, comfortable and personal environment.
Patient’s who require a hospital stay will experience the best in personalized postoperative care. All rooms are single occupancy and on dedicated orthopedic /spine floors whenever possible. SpineCare physicians and hospital anesthesiologists directly supervise pain management. Patients are seen every day by members of the SpineCare surgical team. No medical students, residents or fellows are involved at any point. Because of our high volume of surgery, the nurses, therapists and case managers are very experienced in the care of spine patients.
In the unlikely event that a complication should arise, it is addressed directly and aggressively by the entire SpineCare surgical team to ensure the successful outcome of the surgery is not in jeopardy.
Education at SpineCare
Over the last 25 years the SpineCare Medical Group has been involved in many landmark studies and has contributed extensively to the body of knowledge in spine surgery. Additionally, we have trained numerous Fellows who now practice spine surgery throughout the country and are at the top of their field. We made the difficult decision to close our fellowship program last year to allow us to focus our clinical activity exclusively on patient care, however, through The San Francisco Spine Institute, our thriving research and education division, we continue to be exceptionally active in furthering the field of spine surgery. We are involved in multiple FDA trials for new technologies and continue to publish many papers in the most widely respected peer reviewed journals.