Jefferson University Hospitals

Spine Program

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Any disease of the spine, whether a spinal tumor, deformity, stenosis, degenerative disc disease or other trauma requires expert care. At Jefferson Health, you can count on the highly experienced and trained intensivists, physiatrists, oncologists, orthopedists, neurologists and pain management specialists – to provide a full continuum of spine management.

Jefferson is on the Forefront of Spinal Cord Injury Research

Jefferson Health researchers are the first in the country to enroll a patient in INSPIRE 2.0, which is designed to look at how effective an investigational implant is compared to today's standard of care.  

Spinal cord injuries are classified based on their severity. Unfortunately, the odds of a patient moving up the scale from the worst type of injury are only about 20 percent. In the first part of this study (INSPIRE 1.0), presented at the 2019 American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS) Annual Scientific Meeting, seven of 16 people (or 44 percent) moved up the scale – meaning their condition improved – after six months. When researchers looked at their outcomes after 12 months, two of those six patients improved even more so, which is incredibly rare.

This is a significant result in clinical research, and is excellent news for patients with spinal cord injuries.

Spine Care & Neurosurgeons

Spinal trauma, spinal deformity and degenerative spine diseases are areas in which Jefferson has significant expertise.  Jefferson neurosurgeons treat more patients with disorders of the spine and spinal cord than any other program in the Northeast. Each year, our neurosurgeons perform more than 1,500 spine procedures, from herniated disk surgeries to complex anterior and posterior reconstructive instrumentation-based procedures.

And yet, in diagnosing and treating patients, our goal is to avoid surgery. Whenever possible, we will help you to identify and undergo nonsurgical treatments. We believe strongly in the "team approach" to care.

Our neurosurgeons can help develop a unique treatment plan for each patient so that you can receive the comprehensive treatment you deserve. In fact, we've spent years fostering strong relationships across Jefferson so we can be sure that each patient's care is coordinated seamlessly across specialties.

Our neurosurgeons are active in clinical research initiatives to investigate new technologies and techniques, and we continually coordinate and participate in clinical trials for the benefit of our patients.

Spine Care & Orthopedic Surgeons

Jefferson orthopedic surgeons are experienced in treating spine problems resulting from degenerative disc disease, herniated disks, instability, spinal deformity, spinal stenosis, trauma and tumors. Our orthopedic surgeons will collaborate with other specialists including neurosurgeons to develop the treatment program that is right for your particular condition.

Because of our expertise, each year approximately 100 patients with a spinal cord injury are treated at Jefferson. In addition, a large number of our spinal injury patients are transferred here for the management of their complex spinal condition.

Our physicians are also advancing treatments of autoimmune diseases through research.

Advanced Evaluation & Surgery for Spinal Cord Injuries

The Regional Spinal Cord Injury Center of the Delaware Valley, in affiliation with Magee Rehabilitation Hospital, is designated as one of the nation's 14 Model Spinal Cord Injury Centers by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR) in the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS), and the only one in the Delaware Valley.

We are one of only a few hospitals in the U.S. that is both a Level 1 Trauma Center and a federally designated regional spinal cord injury center. When a spinal trauma patient is admitted to our Level I Trauma Center, our Spinal Cord Injury team immediately directs time-dependent efforts to stabilize and reverse any neurologic injuries.

Once the patient is admitted to Jefferson's Neurosensory Intensive Care Unit, the multidisciplinary medical team uses advanced evaluation and diagnostics to identify the location and extent of the damage and determine the best treatment protocol. Complex spinal surgical procedures may be performed to realign a "broken" spine and provide the spinal cord with the optimal environment to regenerate.

In addition, spine patients at the Center receive sophisticated qualitative neuromuscular diagnosis and treatment, including consult service and an electromyography (EMG) laboratory, available on both an inpatient and outpatient basis. Our outpatient facility schedules 10 to 20 patients daily.

Visit the Regional Spinal Cord Injury Center of the Delaware Valley for additional information.

Request an Appointment

Call 1-800-JEFF-NOW (1-800-533-3669) to make an appointment with a Jefferson Health specialist of our Spine Program.

Program Leadership

    James S. Harrop, MD

    Academic Title: Professor
    Chief, Division of Spine and Peripheral Nerve Surgery
    Neurosurgery Director of Delaware Valley SCI Center
    Neurosurgery Director for Adult Reconstructive Spine

    View Dr. Harrop's profile »

    Alexander R. Vaccaro, MD, PhD, MBA

    Academic Title: Professor
    Richard H. Rothman Professor and Chairman, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery
    President, Rothman Orthopaedic Institute
    Professor and Attending Surgeon of Neurosurgery, Thomas Jefferson University Hospital
    Co-Director of Spine Fellowship Program, Thomas Jefferson University Hospital
    Assistant Team Physician, Philadelphia Eagles

    View Dr. Vaccaro's profile »