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The Difference Between Artificial Disc Replacement & Spinal Fusion Surgery

artificial disc replacement vs spinal fusion

Low back pain is one of the most common causes of disability worldwide, with over two-thirds of the population experiencing back pain at some point in their lives.Fortunately, there are now many different surgical and non-surgical options for treating back pain. Although it can be difficult to determine which treatment is best for your particular condition, doing so is essential in order to receive the most effective treatment for your pain.

Spinal fusion and artificial disc replacement are now two of the most common surgical options for patients with severe back pain. Although artificial disc replacement only gained FDA approval in the early 2000s2, it has quickly gained popularity. However, the question is, what’s the real difference between these procedures?

Artificial Disc Replacement

Identifying the exact source of your back pain is the first thing you should do when trying to determine which treatment is the best option for you. This may be difficult due to the many causes of back pain, such as arthritis of spine joints, disc herniation, instability of the spine like spondylosis, and degenerative disc disease.2 

It may be helpful to understand that the goals of artificial disc replacement are to remove and replace damaged spinal discs that are causing back pain, restore the normal height of the disc, decrease discogenic back pain, allow for motion in the affected area, and improve the patient’s function.2 This is usually done with artificial discs made of either metal or some combination of metal and plastic. Whereas fusion, as the name implies, permanently fuses 2 or more vertebrae together, disc replacement generally allows for more mobility after the procedure.3

Diagnosis for Artificial Disc Replacement

Before determining whether you’re a candidate for artificial disc replacement, your doctor will have to perform a thorough evaluation in order to pinpoint the source of your back pain.2 Having an understanding of what exactly is causing your back pain is crucial in determining whether or not artificial disc replacement is the right treatment for you. This evaluation will most likely involve a physical exam focusing on establishing which body positions or movements cause pain. Your doctor may also want to discuss your medical history.2

Other tests may be ordered if your doctor can’t determine the source of back pain from the physical exam alone. X-rays, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and computerized tomography (CT) are commonly used to assess bones and spinal discs. If determined to be necessary, your doctor may recommend further testing of the spinal discs through a discogram. This will help determine whether a spinal disc is the cause of back pain.2

Artificial disc replacement will not always be recommended. There are some back issues for which it is not an effective treatment, but generally, if you meet the following guidelines, artificial disc replacement may be an option.3

  • Only 1 or 2 spinal discs are the source of your back pain.
  • You have 1 disc that has caused pain for over 6 months.
  • You do not have joint disease or compression of spinal nerves.
  • You are not excessively overweight.
  • You have not previously had spinal surgery.
  • You do not suffer from scoliosis or other spinal deformities.

Disc Replacement Process

During the surgical process of artificial disc replacement, an incision is made in the patient’s abdomen.2 Through this incision, your surgeon will remove the affected disc and replace it with the artificial disc.3 

Artificial discs are made to imitate the functions of a normal spinal disc, such as carrying a load and allowing motion of the spine. The design of these artificial discs has two main types: total disc replacement and nucleus disc replacement. For total disc replacement, the complete disc, or most of it, is removed and replaced with a device that is then implanted between the vertebra, where the natural spinal disc would be. In a disc nucleus replacement, only the nucleus pulposus at the center of the spinal disc is removed and replaced.1 

Artificial disc designs generally have two plates as well. One plate will attach to the vertebra above the spinal disc that is being replaced and the other attaches to the vertebra below. These artificial discs usually have soft, compressible pieces between these two plates with the purpose of allowing the spine to be mobile.1

Some artificial disc replacements are also designed for the replacement of spinal discs in the neck (the cervical spine). However, artificial discs for the cervical spine have not been in use as long as replacement discs for the lumbar spine.1

Issues With Artificial Disc Replacement

As with any other surgical procedure, there are risks associated with artificial disc replacement. Because artificial disc replacement requires more access to your spine than a spinal fusion does, it can have a greater risk than spinal fusion surgery.3 Other risks include a need for supplementary surgeries in order to remove the implant or replace it. It is also possible to have an allergic reaction to the artificial disc materials, which would necessitate further surgery. There is also a risk for bleeding or blood vessel problems following artificial disc replacement. Artificial disc implants have also been known to bend, break, loosen, and even move. There may also be issues with infection at the site of the incision.2

Other complications from artificial disc replacement include2:

  • Male sexual dysfunction.
  • Pain or discomfort following the procedure.
  • Side effects from anesthesia.
  • Spinal cord or nerve damage.
  • Spinal fluid leakage/tears of the dura (a layer of tissue covering the spinal cord).
  • Spinal stenosis (narrowing of the spine) due to a breakdown of spinal bones.
  • Issues as a result of an improperly positioned implant.
  • Some stiffness or rigidity in the spine.3

Unfortunately, there is also still debate within the medical community regarding the long term efficacy of artificial disc replacement. In many trials, patients with artificial disc implants noticed improvements in their back pain following surgery. However, the difference in improvement between patients that underwent artificial disc replacement and patients that underwent spinal fusion surgery was not considered significant.2 

Another concern is regarding how long these artificial disc implants last. There are many documented cases of an artificial disc moving out of place for unknown reasons, and this is an important cause for concern. The long-term durability of the material the disc is made of is in question as well. Artificial discs have shown wear over time and the effect of this wear on the spine is still unknown. It’s important to monitor the implants over time in order to have a proper understanding of safe artificial disc replacement really is in the long-term.2

Further, other complications and risks may arise depending on the specific medical conditions you may have. It’s important to fully understand your risks and discuss them with your doctor before undergoing an artificial disc replacement.3

Spinal Fusion Surgery

Spinal fusion is a surgery that has the goal of permanently connecting two or more vertebrae of your spine in order to cease motion between them. This is done using techniques that are meant to mimic the natural healing process of broken bones.5 

Spinal fusions are similar to welding, although the vertebrae do not immediately become welded to each other during the surgery itself. Instead, the bone grafts placed around the spine during surgery eventually heal in a way that fuses the affected vertebrae together, becoming one solid unit.4 This is done to improve the stability of the spine, fix deformities, and alleviate back pain.5

Reasons For Spinal Fusion

Spinal fusion will likely be recommended to correct spine deformities, such as scoliosis. Fusion may also be recommended to add stability to the spine following the removal of a herniated disc.5

 It can also add stability to the spine if you’re suffering from instability. Spine instability is caused by excessive motion between two vertebrae5 and it is believed to cause both neck and back pain as well as damage or irritation to surrounding nerves. Surgeons disagree on the exact definition of spine instability, but most agree that if one or more segments of the spine lack stability, spinal fusion surgery is appropriate.4

The spine may also sustain a hairline fracture that can allow the vertebrae to slip forward on each other. This is known as spondylolisthesis and is an indication for spinal fusion surgery. A complete fracture is also a common reason for spinal fusion surgery and is considered one of the least controversial reasons for surgery. You should note that vertebral fractures do not always require surgery, but when a fracture is linked to spinal cord or nerve injury, spinal fusion is usually required.4

Spinal Fusion Process

In the process of spinal fusion, bone, or bonelike material is placed in the area between two vertebrae. Metal plates, screws, and rods may also be used to hold the vertebrae together in order to ensure that they heal into a solid unit.5 

Although this is generally how spinal fusion is performed, there are a number of techniques used for spinal fusion surgery. The technique your surgeon chooses to use will depend on the location of the vertebrae that need to be fused, the reason for your spinal fusion, as well as your overall health and body shape.5

However, spinal fusion surgery will generally involve an incision, bone graft preparation, and fusion.5 

During the incision, your surgeon will make an incision in one of the following areas: the neck or back directly above the spine, either side of your spine, or in the abdomen or throat in order to access your spine from the front of your body.5 

If a bone graft, rather than bone-like materials, are used for the fusion, it will come from one of two places: a bone bank or your own body. If your own bone is used, it is usually taken from the pelvis. In order to get the bone needed, another incision will be made above your pelvic bone, a small portion will be removed, and the incision will be closed.5 

Finally, your surgeon will place the bone or bonelike material between your vertebrae and use metal plates, screws, or rods to hold the vertebrae and bone together during healing. This is what will allow the vertebrae to fuse together once your spine is fully healed.5

Issues With Spinal Fusion

One of the most well-known problems of spinal fusion surgery is the stress it places on the spinal levels above and below the area that has been fused.2 This is due to the fact that spinal fusion immobilizes a section of your spine, and it can increase the degeneration of the spinal discs in these areas. This generally leads to a need for additional spine surgeries.5 

Further, although spinal fusion has been shown to be an effective treatment for fractures, deformities, or instability in the spine, studies show that it may not be effective when the cause of back or neck pain is unable to be ascertained. In many cases of nonspecific back or neck pain, spinal fusion is no more effective than conservative treatments.5 

Unfortunately, it’s common for doctors to be unable to pinpoint the exact cause of back or neck pain in patients. Even when a herniated disc or bone spur is shown in X-rays, this doesn’t necessarily mean that those issues are the exact cause of your pain. There are some cases in which patients have X-ray evidence of back issues but never experience pain as a result. This makes diagnosing the cause of pain through imaging difficult to do with any certainty.5 

Another issue that even when spinal fusion surgery is successful and provides pain relief, it doesn’t prevent you from developing more back pain as a result of other issues in the future. Most degenerative conditions of the spine are believed to be caused by arthritis, a condition that spinal fusion surgery cannot treat.5 

Other issues known to be a product of spinal fusion surgery include5 :

  • Improper healing, or pseudoarthrosis.2
  • Infection of the surgery site.
  • Poor wound healing.
  • Bleeding.
  • Blood clots.
  • Damaged blood vessels or nerves in and around the spine.
  • Pain resulting from the bone graft at the site it was taken from

What is the Discseel® Procedure?

If you feel that surgery is your only option for effective treatment, there is another way. The Discseel® Procedure is a non-invasive, non-surgical procedure that is shown to be effective in treating back and neck pain related to herniated discs, degenerative disc disease, chronic low back pain, and sciatica

The Discseel® Procedure does this using a substance known as fibrin, which is a natural biologic made from human blood. This fibrin is an FDA approved biologic used off label, similar to how corticosteroids are used for epidural injections. 

This fibrin is then introduced into damaged spinal discs in your lumbar or cervical spine. It seals the disc and promotes the tissue in the disc to grow and heal the torn spinal discs. This can prevent further pain from developing in the future, by encouraging spinal discs to heal themselves.

The Discseel® Procedure generally takes less than an hour and allows patients to be up and walking within the same day.

If this sounds like the right option for you, apply for the Discseel® Procedure today and find out if you’re a candidate.

  1. Artificial Disc Replacement. (n.d.). Retrieved May 28, 2020, from https://www.spine.org/KnowYourBack/Treatments/Surgical-Options/Artificial-Disc-Replacement 
  2. Artificial Lumbar Disc Surgery. (n.d.). Retrieved May 28, 2020, from https://www.aans.org/Patients/Neurosurgical-Conditions-and-Treatments/Artificial-Lumbar-Disc
  3. Lumbar Disk Replacement. (n.d.). Retrieved May 28, 2020, from https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/treatment-tests-and-therapies/lumbar-disk-replacement 
  4. Spinal Fusion. (n.d.). Retrieved May 28, 2020, from https://www.spine.org/KnowYourBack/Treatments/Surgical-Options/Spinal-Fusion 
  5. Spinal Fusion. (2019, August 10). Retrieved May 28, 2020, From Https://Www.Mayoclinic.Org/Tests-Procedures/Spinal-Fusion/About/Pac-20384523

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Kevin Pauza, M.D.

SPECIALTY

  • Disc Biologics
  • Interventional Spine

EDUCATION & DEGREES

  • Fellowship: Interventional Spine, University of Pennsylvania
  • Residency: PM&R, University of Pennsylvania
  • Internship: Surgery & Medicine, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons
  • Medical Doctorate: Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine
  • Bachelor of Arts: Biology, Lehigh University
  • Bachelor of Arts: Psychology, Lehigh University

CERTIFICATIONS & LICENSES

  • Texas State Medical and Surgical License
  • New York State Medical and Surgical License
  • Florida State Medical and Surgical License

HONORS

  • Lehigh University Four-year Academic Scholarship
  • Magna Cum Laude, Lehigh University
  • Lehigh University President’s Award
  • Lehigh University Tower Society
  • Distinguished Alumnus, Penn State University (selected from 500,000 Penn State alumni)
  • North American Spine Society, Outstanding Paper of the Year, 2003
  • President-Elect, International Spine Intervention Society
  • Founding Partner, Texas Spine and Joint Hospital
  • Commencement Speaker: Penn State University College of Medicine
  • Advisory Board, AMA
    Keynote Speaker, Harvard Pain Center Commencement
  • Founding Chairman, Standards Committee, International Spine Intervention Society
  • Chairman, Spine Committee, Amercian Academy of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation
  • Appointed Spine Advisor, Japanese Prime Minister
  • Appointed Spine Advisor, Allied Royal Families

EXPERIENCE

  • Founding Partner & Principal, Texas Spine & Joint Hospital

Travis Foxx, M.D. - Premier Anesthesiology & Pain

Brandon Tolman, D.O. - Nashville Spine Institute

Boris Terebuh, M.D. - Regenerative Spine & Joint Center

Boris Terebuh, MD specializes in providing personalized nonsurgical solutions for spine problems that interfere with the function patients desire and the independence they deserve. Dr. Terebuh completed his Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation residency training at The Ohio State University in 1997 and has been in solo practice in Ohio since 2001 because he is committed to providing accessible, individualized and attentive care to his patients. His regenerative approach to solving spine problems enhances the body’s natural ability to heal itself. His guiding principle is integrity – doing what is right for patients in a conscientious manner with the motivation of helping them become fully functional, independent and satisfied. Dr. Terebuh is a very unique Medical Doctor because he has earned seven Board Certifications in the field of musculoskeletal medicine and nonsurgical spine care. Boris Terebuh, MD is delighted to be a Discseel® provider because this revolutionary new technology aligns perfectly with his preferred regenerative treatment approach and patient care philosophy. Dr. Terebuh is also grateful to Discseel® developer, Kevin Pauza, MD, for all the years of diligent and meticulous research to create this innovative, paradigm-shifting intervention, which will certainly spare countless individuals the prospect of avoidable spine surgical procedures.

Thierry Bonnabesse, M.D. - Champlain Spine and Pain Management

Gregory Lutz, M.D. - Regenerative Sportscare Institute

Dr. Gregory Lutz is the Founder and Medical Director of the Regenerative SportsCare Institute (RSI). In addition, he currently serves as Physiatrist-In-Chief Emeritus at Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS) and a Professor of Clinical Rehabilitation Medicine at Weill Medical College of Cornell University. Dr. Lutz is one of the world’s leading experts in the field of regenerative interventional orthopedic medicine, appearing annually on Castle Connolly’s and New York Magazine’s “Top Doctors” lists.

Kevin Pauza, M.D. - Regenerative Sportscare Institute

SPECIALTY

  • Disc Biologics
  • Interventional Spine

EDUCATION & DEGREES

  • Fellowship: Interventional Spine, University of Pennsylvania
  • Residency: PM&R, University of Pennsylvania
  • Internship: Surgery & Medicine, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons
  • Medical Doctorate: Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine
  • Bachelor of Arts: Biology, Lehigh University
  • Bachelor of Arts: Psychology, Lehigh University

CERTIFICATIONS & LICENSES

  • Texas State Medical and Surgical License
  • New York State Medical and Surgical License
  • Florida State Medical and Surgical License

HONORS

  • Lehigh University Four-year Academic Scholarship
  • Magna Cum Laude, Lehigh University
  • Lehigh University President’s Award
  • Lehigh University Tower Society
  • Distinguished Alumnus, Penn State University (selected from 500,000 Penn State alumni)
  • North American Spine Society, Outstanding Paper of the Year, 2003
  • President-Elect, International Spine Intervention Society
  • Founding Partner, Texas Spine and Joint Hospital
  • Commencement Speaker: Penn State University College of Medicine
  • Advisory Board, AMA
    Keynote Speaker, Harvard Pain Center Commencement
  • Founding Chairman, Standards Committee, International Spine Intervention Society
  • Chairman, Spine Committee, Amercian Academy of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation
  • Appointed Spine Advisor, Japanese Prime Minister
  • Appointed Spine Advisor, Allied Royal Families

EXPERIENCE

  • Founding Partner & Principal, Texas Spine & Joint Hospital

Janet Pearl, M.D. - The Boston Stem Cell Center

Dr. Janet Pearl has been in practice since 1999 and is the Medical Director of The Boston Stem Cell Center. She is also the Medical Director of  Complete Spine and Pain Care  an interventional integrated Pain Management practice, both located in Framingham, Massachusetts. Dr. Pearl is Triple Board Certified in Regenerative Medicine, Pain Medicine and Anesthesiology and has over 20 years experience in doing these procedures.

Previously, Dr. Pearl was the Co-Director of the Pain Management Center at St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center, where she was also the Director of the Pain Management Fellowship program.

After graduating from Harvard College with an A.B. in Applied Mathematics with Economics, Dr. Pearl received a M.Sc. in Health Planning and Financing at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. She then received her M.D. from the Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons, where she represented the Medical School as a senator in the Columbia University Senate.

Watch Dr Pearl give an introduction to The Boston Stem Cell Center

Dr. Pearl completed her internship in Internal Medicine at New England Deaconess Hospital, her residency in Anesthesiology at the Massachusetts General Hospital, and her fellowship in Pain Management at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Dr. Pearl was the first resident ever to serve on the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME)’s Residency Review Committee for Anesthesiology. She is a Joseph Collins Scholar and a Rotary Scholar and was awarded the AMA/Glaxo Welcome and AMA/Burroughs Welcome Resident Leadership Awards.

From 2004 to 2010, Dr. Pearl served on the University of Massachusetts Board of Trustees. While there she chaired the Committee on Science, Technology and Research, was a member of the Committee on Academic and Student Affairs and the Governance Committee and also served as Vice Chair of the Advancement Committee, and as a member of the Committee on Athletics.

Dr. Pearl is Board Certified in Regenerative Medicine, Pain Medicine and Anesthesiology with the American Board of Regenerative Medicine and the American Board of Anesthesiologists.

Memberships:

  • The American Pain Society;
  • The Massachusetts Medical Society;
  • The Massachusetts Society of Anesthesiologists;
  • The Massachusetts Society of Interventional Pain Physicians;
  • The American Society of Anesthesiologists;
  • The American Society of International Pain Physicians;
  • The American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine; and,
  • The American Board of Regenerative Medicine.

PUBLIC SERVICE:

  • Member, Massachusetts Department of Industrial Accidents, Health Care Services Board 
  • Member of the Association of Harvard College Class Secretaries and Treasurers
  • Past Member of the Board of Directors of the Harvard Alumni Association
  • Former Member of the Board of Trustees University of Massachusetts. (10/2010 – 10/2014) 

Mark Reecer, M.D. - Fort Wayne Physical Medicine

Dr. Mark Reecer is board certified in Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation and Pain Management. He has over 20 years of work comp experience, and he routinely provides Independent Medical Examinations (IMEs) for the Indiana Workers’ Compensation Board. Dr. Reecer has lectured extensively and has authored multiple publications that promote his specialty and the use of treatment modalities to eliminate pain, improve function and avoid surgery.

Yasuyuki Nonaka, M.D. - ILC International Lumbago Clinic

Dmitry Buyanov, M.D. - IV Infusion Treatment Center

Dr. Buyanov is originally from Kiev, Ukraine. He received his training in Anesthesiology and his Interventional Pain Management Post-Doctoral at Penn State Medical Center, PA. Dr. Buyanov moved to San Antonio in 2003 at which time he was part of a multi-specialty group before he founded Premier Pain Consultants in 2004. His practice has over 5000 active patients in his practice. Dr. Buyanov treats his patients in a cost-effective manner although giving them the best care with interventional pain treatments/procedure to help each patient improve their quality of life. Dr. Buyanov strongly believes in an individualized and multidisciplinary approach to pain management, he believes in the Buddhist saying: “pain is inevitable but suffering is optional”. He works closely with the area internists, physical therapists, chiropractors, psychiatrists, neurologists, and spine surgeons to insure that each patient has the most optimal individualized treatment plan. Dr. Buyanov enjoys spending his spare time with his children.

Desmond Hussey, M.D. - NASA Neuroscience and Spine Associates. P.L

Dr. Hussey earned his undergraduate degree from Dartmouth College, and proceeded to earn his Medical Degree from The University of Miami School of Medicine. He then attended Northwestern University Internal Medicine Program, followed by a Neurology Residency Program at Emory University. Dr. Hussey continued his specialty training at John Hopkins University pain clinic. A member of The Spinal Injection Society and The American Academy of Neurology and Psychiatry.

Haley Burke, M.D. - Mile High Sports and Rehab

Dr. Burke is board-certified in both Interventional Pain Management and Neurology and has completed an accredited Pain Fellowship with the Department of Anesthesiology at MD Anderson Cancer Center, one of the nation’s most prestigious hospitals. Dr. Burke completed her residency in Neurology at the University of Colorado, where she received the department’s ‘Excellence in Teaching’ award during her year as Chief Resident. Her Doctor of Medicine degree was completed at the University of Texas Health Science Center, where she was elected to the ‘Gold Humanism Honor Society.’

Maxim Moradian, M.D. - Interventional Spine Care & Orthopedic Regenerative Experts

Dr. Moradian is triple-board certified in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R), Sports Medicine and Pain Management. Dr. Moradian’s clinical practice is devoted to the comprehensive care of spine, joint, muscle, tendon, ligament, and peripheral nerve disorders. He is proficient in performing advanced, minimally-invasive procedures under fluoroscopic and/or ultrasound guidance in the entire spine. Dr. Moradian performs electrodiagnostic testing (EMG/NCS) for the accurate diagnosis of muscle and/or nerve disorders. He has a special interest in regenerative medicine, sports concussions, neuromuscular ultrasound, medical education, and clinical research. His true passion is to treat his patients like his family and friends.

Wendi Lundquist, D.O. - Active Life Physical Medicine & Pain Center

Dr. Lundquist is the Medical Director and founder of Active Life Physical Medicine & Pain Center, Innovative Surgery Center, and Regena Spa. She is dual board certified in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation along with Pain Management and a diplomat with the American Board of Pain Medicine. She completed her training at Loyola University in Chicago, Illinois in July of 2005. During her time there, she served as Chief Resident and was involved in several research projects. Prior to, she completed medical school at Midwestern University at the Arizona College of Osteopathic Medicine campus in Glendale, Arizona and internship at Doctors Hospital in Massillon, Ohio. She also has a Bachelor of Science in Biology and minor in Chemistry from the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque. She has a special interest in sports medicine, pain and spine. With 17 years experience, she has great enthusiasm towards regenerative medicine.

Kevin Pauza, M.D. - Turtle Creek Surgery Center

Prior to attending Penn State University, Dr. Pauza earned his undergraduate degree from Lehigh University, and furthered his training with a Surgical and Medical Internship at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. He continued his specialty training at the University of Pennsylvania, followed by an Interventional Spine Fellowship. In addition to his research, philanthropic, and clinical endeavors, Dr. Pauza remains a motivated educator. He established a Spine Fellowship program and continues training physicians from around the world. He heads international committees responsible for establishing standards and educating surgical and non-surgical physicians.

After helping hundreds of patients who failed to experience relief after spine surgery, it became evident to Dr. Pauza that current methods needed to change. This motivated him to seek better ways to help patients, by thinking outside the box.

Dr. Pauza is the first physician in history to pursue FDA approval for using biologics to treat the spine. Millions of patients will benefit from his development of minimally invasive treatments for degenerative disc disease and other more common and serious disorders of the spine.

SPECIALTY

  • Disc Biologics
  • Interventional Spine

EDUCATION & DEGREES

  • Fellowship: Interventional Spine, University of Pennsylvania
  • Residency: PM&R, University of Pennsylvania
  • Internship: Surgery & Medicine, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons
  • Medical Doctorate: Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine
  • Bachelor of Arts: Biology, Lehigh University
  • Bachelor of Arts: Psychology, Lehigh University

CERTIFICATIONS & LICENSES

  • Texas State Medical and Surgical License
  • New York State Medical and Surgical License
  • Florida State Medical and Surgical License

HONORS

  • Lehigh University Four-year Academic Scholarship
  • Magna Cum Laude, Lehigh University
  • Lehigh University President’s Award
  • Lehigh University Tower Society
  • Distinguished Alumnus, Penn State University (selected from 500,000 Penn State alumni)
  • North American Spine Society, Outstanding Paper of the Year, 2003
  • President-Elect, International Spine Intervention Society
  • Founding Partner, Texas Spine and Joint Hospital
  • Commencement Speaker: Penn State University College of Medicine
  • Advisory Board, AMA
    Keynote Speaker, Harvard Pain Center Commencement
  • Founding Chairman, Standards Committee, International Spine Intervention Society
  • Chairman, Spine Committee, Amercian Academy of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation
  • Appointed Spine Advisor, Japanese Prime Minister
  • Appointed Spine Advisor, Allied Royal Families

EXPERIENCE

  • Founding Partner & Principal, Texas Spine & Joint Hospital

Haley Burke, M.D. - Colorado Rehabilitation & Occupational Medicine

Dr. Burke is board-certified in both Interventional Pain Management and Neurology and has completed an accredited Pain Fellowship with the Department of Anesthesiology at MD Anderson Cancer Center, one of the nation’s most prestigious hospitals. Dr. Burke completed her residency in Neurology at the University of Colorado, where she received the department’s ‘Excellence in Teaching’ award during her year as Chief Resident. Her Doctor of Medicine degree was completed at the University of Texas Health Science Center, where she was elected to the ‘Gold Humanism Honor Society.’

Haley Burke, M.D. - Colorado Rehabilitation & Occupational Medicine

Dr. Burke is board-certified in both Interventional Pain Management and Neurology and has completed an accredited Pain Fellowship with the Department of Anesthesiology at MD Anderson Cancer Center, one of the nation’s most prestigious hospitals. Dr. Burke completed her residency in Neurology at the University of Colorado, where she received the department’s ‘Excellence in Teaching’ award during her year as Chief Resident. Her Doctor of Medicine degree was completed at the University of Texas Health Science Center, where she was elected to the ‘Gold Humanism Honor Society.’

Matthias H. Wiederholz, M.D.

Founding Partner, Triple Board Certified – Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation; Sports Medicine; Anti-Aging, Regenerative & Functional Medicine

Dr. Matthias H. Wiederholz is cofounder of Performance Spine & Sports Medicine, LLC. He is a fellowship-trained interventional pain physician whose clinical interests include: Interventional Pain Management, Sports Medicine, Musculoskeletal Medicine, Minimally-Invasive Spine Surgery, Non-Surgical Orthopedics, and Anti-Aging / Functional Medicine.

He received his specialty training in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas where he served as chief resident. He completed fellowship training in Interventional Pain Management in Marietta, Georgia. He is board-certified in Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation and Sports Medicine. He also received advanced fellowship training through the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine and is board-certified in Anti-Aging, Regenerative & Functional Medicine.

Dr. Wiederholz performs a myriad of interventional pain procedures including, but not limited to the following: epidural steroid injections, facet joint injections, radiofrequency ablation, sacroiliac joint injections, discography, percutaneous disc decompression, epidural lysis of adhesions spinal cord stimulator implants, and minimally-invasive discectomies. Endoscopic spine surgery is a very unique and valuable tool in his armamentarium and makes Dr. Wiederholz one of the most specialized physicians in the field of Pain Medicine.

Dr. Wiederholz uses musculoskeletal ultrasound in the diagnosis of musculoskeletal injuries. He incorporates ultrasound for precise injection therapy including cortisone injections, prolotherapy, and PRP (platelet rich plasma). This technology is also utilized to perform the Tenex procedure, a percutaneous procedure for treating chronic tendon pain (tennis elbow, rotator cuff, plantar fasciitis, etc).

Dr. Wiederholz is the fellowship director for the sports and spine fellowship at Performance Spine & Sports Medicine. Dr. Wiederholz holds an affiliation with Capital Health System and JFK Johnson Rehabilitation Institute.

Being advanced fellowship trained in Anti-Aging, Regenerative & Functional Medicine means that Dr. Wiederholz has the most advanced training in Anti-Aging Medicine available. He is a leading expert in Bio-Identical Hormone Restoration and helps patients achieve wellness through nutrition, lifestyle, and hormone therapies.

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Michael Wolff, M.D. - Southwest Spine & Sports