Spine Center

Spine Center Research Program

The goal of the UT Southwestern Spine Center research program is to engage in cutting-edge translational and clinical research to improve outcomes and develop new treatments for those affected by disorders of the spinal cord, spinal column, and related structures. 

Our vision is to be recognized as a leader in innovative research in the field of spine related diseases and disorders.   

 Our current research areas include:

  • Examining methods to improve perioperative pain control after spinal fusion surgery
  • Determining the diagnostic accuracy of selective nerve root blocks
  • Investigating gender differences in opioid use after surgery
  • Researching the use of telemedicine in spine care
  • Assessing the impact of affective disorders on spine treatment outcomes
  • Assessing the impact and utility of integrative medicine techniques in spine care
  • Assessing the predictability of novel biomarkers in spine-related treatment outcomes 

For more information about our clinical studies, please contact our research coordinator, Kristen Hall, at 214-645-0630 or Kristen.Hall@utsouthwestern.edu. 

See a list of recent research publications.

Values 

Our values are our foundation and allow the UT Southwestern Spine Center research team to provide excellence and quality in patient-centered research. 

  • We seek to protect the rights of human subjects while valuing the significance of the research we are conducting.
  • We value the importance of teamwork to accomplish a common goal. 
  • We make every effort to provide a safe and supportive workplace for our team members as well as to protect our patients. 

How We Work

We work with neurosurgeons, physiatrists, orthopedic surgeons, pain management specialists, physical therapists, and behavioral health specialists in a multidisciplinary fashion to develop clinical and translational research studies that leverage the diverse specialties of our clinical team.  

Our research team provides oversight on research project coordination, research study design, grant submissions, protocol and consent development, chart abstractions, study subject recruitment, study subject consenting and interviewing, and study subject follow-up. 

We also work with Spine Center principal and co-investigators in order to ensure compliance with all institutional, governmental, and regulatory body guidelines for all research studies conducted within the program. The research team works with the leadership team of the Spine Center to provide ongoing education to research faculty, residents, and fellows regarding regulatory changes and requirements, ensuring that the most up-to-date training and recommendations are followed.   

Spine Clinical Outcomes Registry

The research team developed the Spine Clinical Outcomes Registry, which prospectively collects patient-reported outcomes. This database serves as the hub for our ongoing quality improvement initiatives as well as retrospective and prospective clinical outcomes and efficacy studies.   

Quality Outcomes Database

Our center also participates in a nationwide Quality Outcomes Database initiative. This allows us to track quality, efficiency, and value of care for the most common neurosurgical procedures. The initiative was established by the NeuroPoint Alliance – the data collection arm of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons – with a broad coalition of other neurosurgical societies, including the Congress of Neurological Surgeons, the Society of Neurological Surgeons, and the American Board of Neurological Surgery.

The goal is to generate both quality and efficiency data to:

  • Demonstrate comparative effectiveness of neurosurgical procedures
  • Determine which patients are most likely to benefit from specific surgical interventions
  • Determine to what extent surgery improves pain, disability, and quality of life
  • Facilitate multicenter trials and other cooperative clinical studies

Explore Spine Center Research Program: