Kevin Morrill, M.D., is a Professor of Neurosurgery at UT Southwestern Medical Center.

He has served since 2005 as Co-Director of UT Southwestern’s Clinical Center for Spine Care and, since 2009, as Director of UT Southwestern’s Spine Fellow Program. 

After receiving a B.S. in biological sciences, cum laude, at the University of Houston, Dr. Morrill earned his medical degree with honors at UT Southwestern in 1996. In 1997, he performed his surgical internship at UT Southwestern, where he then completed a six-year residency in neurological surgery.

Following a neurosurgical fellowship in adult spinal deformity at Northwestern University Memorial Hospital, Dr. Morrill was recruited to the faculty of UT Southwestern for his expertise in surgical management of complex disorders of the spine, serving initially as Assistant Professor of Neurosurgery and then, since 2010, as Associate Professor.

Dr. Morrill was a co-investigator for a 2009 National Institutes of Health research study of radiotherapy treatment for spinal tumors. He is the author of numerous articles, textbook chapters, and conference presentations on a broad array of topics in neurosurgery, including: complex spine surgery, spinal stabilization procedures, neurotrauma and cervical spine trauma, cerebral aneurysms, degenerative spine disease, minimally and maximally invasive spine surgery techniques, spinal deformity, bone grafting, spondylolisthesis, and vascular issues in spine surgery.

Dr. Morrill has also served on committees of the North American Spine Society, on advisory committees in ethics and blood utilization and tissue transplant services at UT Southwestern, and on the board of medical directors for the Musculoskeletal Transplant Foundation.

Dr. Morrill has been continually recognized since 2010 as Best Doctor by D Magazine in neurosurgery (2010, 2018, 2020 – 2022), neurology (2011), and spinal surgery (2012 – 2015).

Meet Dr. Morrill

Complex Spine Surgery Specialist in Dallas

Intricate yet powerful, strong yet flexible, the human spine exemplifies magnificent biological design. Yet it is vulnerable to a variety of serious conditions, from congenital deformities to spinal malignancies.

Kevin Morrill, M.D., a UT Southwestern neurosurgeon who specializes in spinal surgery, has dedicated his life to helping people with all types of spinal diseases and disorders to regain mobility, reduce pain, and improve their quality of life.

“If I do a good job, I can get somebody out of pain and return them to a normal life. I have found that to be very gratifying,” he says.

D Magazine Best Doctor every year since 2010, Dr. Morrill’s area of expertise is surgical treatment of spinal tumors. Because surgery for spinal malignancies is so specialized, Dr. Morrill’s Neurological Surgery Clinic at UT Southwestern draws physician referrals and spine tumor patients from throughout Texas and around the country.

“The procedures tend to be extremely complex,” Dr. Morrill notes. “So it takes a physician who focuses on this area to help ensure the best possible outcome.”

During a typical week, Dr. Morrill performs between four and six surgeries. About half are for common injuries such as herniated disks and degenerative conditions such as spinal stenosis. The remaining procedures are more complex, addressing conditions such as rare spinal diseases or degenerative syndromes that have not been relieved by previous treatments.

Dr. Morrill offers surgical correction of various spinal deformities, a highly specialized discipline not practiced by most neurosurgeons. He also performs peripheral nerve surgeries for tumors and for syndromes caused by repetitive motion injuries, such as nerve compression in the carpal and ulnar tunnels. These procedures are performed directly on the nerves in the affected joints, such as the elbow or wrist. 

Sometimes, Dr. Morrill says, the best surgery may be none at all.

“Especially with routine conditions such as herniated disks and backache, I'm very conservative,” he says. “I offer all of my patients a trial of nonsurgical care before offering them an operation. The fewer operations you get on your spine, the more likely you are to do well, and the best time to get it right is the first time.”

The results of Dr. Morrill’s surgical skills can be dramatic; sometimes, they are nearly immediate.

“I’ve had patients come in wheelchair-bound with spinal fractures due to malignancies,” he says. “I remove the tumor, and they walk out of the hospital.”.

“That is the gratifying thing about doing this complex type of work: You can absolutely change a patient's life for the better.”

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Education & Training
  • Medical School - UT Southwestern Medical School (1992-1996)
  • Internship - Parkland Memorial Hospital (1996-1997), General Surgery
  • Residency - Parkland Memorial Hospital (1997-2002), Neurological Surgery
  • Fellowship - Northwestern University Memorial Hospital (2002-2002), Reconstructive Surgery
Professional Associations & Affiliations
  • Texas Association of Neurological Surgeons
  • Rocky Mountain Neurosurgical Society
  • North American Spine Society
  • Congree of Neurological Surgeons
  • American Association of Neurological Surgeons
Honors & Awards
  • D Magazine Best Doctor 2011-2022
  • AOA Medical Student Honor Society 1995
  • Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society 1992
  • Welch Chemistry & Physics Undergrad Award 1991
  • NASA Student Summer Fellowship 1991
  • Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society 1990
Books & Publications
  • Radiosurgery
  • Neurotrauma
  • Adult Spinal Deformity

Clinical Focus

  • Complex Spinal Surgery

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Q&A by Dr. Morrill

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