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Spine Service

Our Harvard Spine doctors use non-operative therapies as well as advanced surgical techniques to treat scoliosis, spinal disorders, and spinal deformities and injuries helping their patients can get back to doing the things they love.

The Spine Service delivers:

  • Compassionate, patient-centered care
  • A multidisciplinary team of clinicians, including surgeons, physiatrists, pain specialists and advanced practitioners, to ensure your treatment is tailored for your needs
  • Non-operative treatment options and the latest surgical techniques, including minimally invasive procedures, to get you back to your active lifestyle

What to Expect During your initial appointment, our team will perform a complete evaluation. Some tests may be necessary at that time, including x-rays, CT scans and MRIs.

Based on the findings, an initial diagnosis will be made. Then we will develop an individualized treatment plan to address your unique set of conditions and lifestyle goals. We bring together the clinical professionals with the most appropriate skills to deliver your care.

Non-operative & Minimally Invasive Treatments

Surgery is not necessary for all spine conditions. Our team first considers all non-surgical options, which may include medication, physical therapy and injection therapy.

Our surgeons also offer a variety of minimally invasive procedures, including microdiscectomy, thoracoscopic fusion techniques and other less invasive methods for treating the spine.

The Spine Service

The Spine Service has been designated a Blue Distinction Center by Blue Cross and Blue Shield. The distinction is given to medical facilities that have met evidence-based criteria, demonstrated consistent, reliable care and achieved better outcomes.

 
 
 

MGH Spine Service spinal column

Click image to enlarge

Spine Conditions

Herniated disc:
Herniated discs occur in the lumbar area of the spine. As discs degenerate, fragments of the disc material can press on the nerve roots located just behind the disc space, causing pain, numbness or changes in sensation.

Kyphosis:
A normal spine, when viewed from behind appears straight. However, a spine affected by kyphosis shows evidence of a forward curvature of the back bones (vertebrae) in the upper back area, giving a "humpback" appearance.

Scoliosis:
A spine affected by scoliosis shows evidence of a lateral, or sideways, curvature, and a rotation of the back bones (vertebrae), giving the appearance that the person is leaning to one side.

Recognized Leaders in Treating the SpineThe Spine Service cares for more than 1,400 patients every year, from children to adults to senior citizens. Patients trust us to treat their back pain and debilitating spinal problems because our specialists are among the most accomplished in the world.

Physicians from around the country and world send us their difficult cases because our team is internationally-recognized for treating complex spinal problems. We manage care with the highest standards of safety and develop individualized treatment plans to help each patient return to a fulfilling and productive life.

Our team treats the complete range of spinal conditions, including:

  • Degenerative spine disease (herniated discs, stenosis and spondylolisthesis)
  • Spinal deformities (scoliosis and kyphosis)
  • Injuries resulting from trauma, work-related accidents and athletic competition
  • Fractures
  • Tumors
  • Back and neck pain
Dr. Wood and Dr. Schwab discuss x-rays

Dr. Schwab, Interim Director of the Spine Service, and Dr. Wood, a spine surgeon, examine x-rays.

Center of Excellence in Research & Innovation

To continually improve the quality, safety and effectiveness of patient care, our team actively participates in clinical research and is at the forefront of developing new procedures.

We maintain a comprehensive spine registry, which enables our physicians to compare patient outcomes and break new ground in developing novel surgical techniques, medical devices and non-operative therapies.

We work closely with laboratory researchers. Our scientists study the spine biomechanics, biomaterials and develop innovative procedures to improve the care for those with spine pain.

Our research activities include:

  • Comparing operative and non-operative treatments for adult scoliosis
  • Evaluating bone graft substitutes for spine fusions
  • 3D reconstruction imaging to better visualize and plan complex spinal surgeries

watch videos on Common Spine Conditions & Procedures

Arthritis

Arthritis and other rheumatic diseases are characterized by pain, swelling, and limited movement in joints and connective tissues in the body.

Avascular Necrosis

Avascular necrosis is a disease that may cause bone or joint collapse as a result of loss of blood supply to the bone due to injury or other causes (such as long-term use of certain medications).

Back and Neck Pain

Low back pain can range from mild, dull, annoying pain, to persistent, severe, disabling pain in the lower back that restrict mobility. Neck pain is pain that occurs in the area of the seven cervical vertebrae in the neck area.

Fractures

A fracture is a partial or complete bone break. When a fracture occurs, it is classified as either open or closed.

Kyphosis

A normal spine, when viewed from behind appears straight. However, a spine affected by kyphosis shows evidence of a forward curvature of the back bones (vertebrae) in the upper back area, giving a "humpback" appearance.

Low Back Pain

Low back pain can range from mild, dull, annoying pain, to persistent, severe, disabling pain in the lower back. Pain in the lower back can restrict mobility and interfere with normal functioning.

Lumbar Disc Disease (Herniated Disc)

Lumbar disc disease occurs in the lumbar area of the spine. As discs degenerate, fragments of the disc material can press on the nerve roots located just behind the disc space, causing pain, numbness or changes in sensation.

Lumbar Strain (Weight Lifter's Back)

A lumbar strain is an injury to the lower back, which results in damaged tendons and muscles that spasm and feel sore.

Neck Pain

The neck is located between the head and the shoulders. Because of its location and range of motion, it is often left unprotected and subject to injury.

Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is a chronic, degenerative, joint disease characterized by the breakdown of joint cartilage and adjacent bone in the neck, lower back, knees, hips and/or fingers.

Sciatica

Sciatica, also known as lumbar radiculopathy, is a pain that originates along the sciatic nerve, which extends from the back of the pelvis down the back of the thigh.

Scoliosis

A spine affected by scoliosis shows evidence of a lateral, or sideways, curvature, and a rotation of the back bones (vertebrae), giving the appearance that the person is leaning to one side.

Head and Neck Cancer

Cancer that starts in any part of the head or neck (except the brain or eye) is called head and neck cancer.

Torticollis (Wryneck)

Torticollis, also known as wryneck, is a twisting of the neck that causes the head to rotate and tilt at an odd angle.

Whiplash Injury

Whiplash is an injury to the neck caused by the neck bending forcibly forward and then backward, or vice versa.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield names MGH a Blue Distinction Center

MGH Hotline 4.30.10 THE MGH has been designated a Blue Distinction Center for both spine surgery and knee and hip replacement by Blue Cross and Blue Shield.

4th Annual Sacral Tumor Study Group Conference

The 4th Annual Sacral Tumor Study Group Conference, a collaboration with Massachusetts General Hospital, the Mayo Clinic and the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, took place on January 19, 2013.

Orthopaedic Spine Service

Phone: 617-724-8636


Spine Service

make an appointment with the Spine Service

Phone: 617-724-8636

Spine Surgeons

Dr. Joseph Schwab, Orthopaedic Spine and Oncology Surgeon

Joseph Schwab, MD
Interim Director, Spine Service
ph: 617-724-8636
fax: 617-726-7587
Yawkey, Suite 3A, Boston

Dr. Thomas Cha, Orthopaedic Spine Surgeon

Thomas Cha, MD, MBA
Spine
ph: 617-724-8636
fax: 617-726-7587
Yawkey, Suite 3A, Boston

Dr. Kirkham Wood, Chief, MGH Orthopaedic Spine Service

Kirkham Wood, MD
Spine
ph: 617-724-8636
fax: 617-726-7587
Yawkey, Suite 3A, Boston

Dr. Brian Grottkau, Chief, Pediatric Othopaedic Service and Spine Surgeon

Brian Grottkau, MD
Pediatric Othopaedics; Spine
ph: 617-726-8523
fax: 617-724-0551
Yawkey, Suite 3E, Boston

Dr. Saechin Kim, Pediatric Orthopaedic & Spine Surgeon

Saechin Kim, MD
Pediatric Orthopaedics; Spine
ph: 617-726-8523
fax: 617-724-0551
Yawkey, Suite 3E, Boston

Dr. Frederick Mansfield, Orthopaedic Spine Surgeon

Frederick Mansfield, MD
Spine
ph: 617-726-5919
fax: 617-742-7849
Zero Emerson Place, Suite 120, Boston

Dr. Frank Pedlow, Orthopaedic Spine Surgeon

Frank Pedlow, MD
Spine
ph: 617-227-9300
fax: 617-227-3800
30 Lancaster St, Boston

Dr. Fulton Kornack, Adult Reconstructive Surgeon

Fulton Kornack, MD
Spine; Hip & Knee Replacement
ph: 617-726-3563
fax: 617-724-5563
Zero Emerson Place, Suite 120, Boston

Dr. Joseph Barr, Non-operative Orthopaedic Surgeon

Joseph Barr, MD
Spine (non-operative)
ph: 617-726-3563
fax: 617-742-7849
Zero Emerson Place, Suite 120, Boston

Dr. Ali Al-Omari, Orthopaedic Spine Fellow

Ali Al-Omari, MD
Spine Fellow
Yawkey, Suite 3A, Boston

Dr. Michael Briseno, Orthopaedic Spine Fellow

Michael Briseno, MD
Spine Fellow
Yawkey, Suite 3A, Boston

Dr. Mark Jacobson, Orthopaedic Spine Fellow

Mark Jacobson, MD
Spine Fellow
Yawkey, Suite 3A, Boston

Physiatrists

Dr. David Binder, Physiatrist

David Binder, MD
Physiatrist
ph: 617-724-8636
fax: 617-726-1099
Yawkey, Suite 3A, Boston

Dr. James Sarni, Physiatrist

James Sarni, MD
Physiatrist
ph: 617-724-8636
fax: 617-726-1099
Yawkey, Suite 3A, Boston

Dr. Leonid Shincuk, Physiatrist

Leonid Shinchuk, MD
Physiatrist
ph: 617-724-8636
fax: 617-726-1099
Yawkey, Suite 3A, Boston

   

Pain Specialists

Dr. James Rathmell, Pain Specialist

James Rathmell, MD
Pain Specialist
ph: 617-726-8810
fax: 617-726-3441
Wang, Suite 340, Boston

   

Advanced Practitioners

Lisa Beyer, PA-C, Spine Service

Lisa Beyer, PA-C
Physician Assistant
Outpatient
ph: 617-724-8636
fax: 617-726-7587
Yawkey, Suite 3A, Boston

Lorelei Francis, PA-C, Spine Service

Lorelei Francis, PA-C
Physician Assistant
Outpatient & Inpatient

Marilyn Maguire, inpatient NP Hand & Upper Extremity Service

Marilyn Maguire, NP
Nurse Practitioner
Inpatient

Julia Welch, NP, Spine Service

Julie Welch, NP
Nurse Practitioner
ph: 617-227-9300
fax: 617-227-3800
30 Lancaster Street, 2nd Floor