The spine research group evaluates spinal pathology at the basic science, biomechanics, and clinical level. Their goals are to understand degenerative disk disease, work on novel therapeutics to regenerate the intervertebral disk, and study better ways to evaluate outcomes of different spinal surgeries.
Basic Science and Biomechanics
Jeffrey Lotz, PhD, is a pioneer in the understanding of the biomechanics of the spine. His large research group at UCSF supports undergraduates, graduate students, and post-doctoral fellows. Dr. Lotz is a nationally recognized researcher whose studies have led to the better understanding of how the spine functions. His current studies are analyzing how loading of the lumbar discs affects the health of the disc itself. His group is using novel mathematical models to define a therapeutic loading regiment for the intervertebral disc. He is also evaluating the efficacy of total disc replacement in restoring normal spine kinematics.
Sig Berven, MD heads the group working on developing better clinical outcome measures for spinal disorders so that one may better understand the impact of spinal disorders on health-related quality of life. He also has developed specific questionnaires to evaluate patients with complicated spinal deformities. Shane Burch, MD is developing a novel tool to follow the outcomes of lumbar surgery on patient activity level and their exercise tolerance following lumbar surgery.
As there is an increasing interest in the use of lumbar and cervical disk replacement, the spinal research group is studying the cost effectiveness of performing cervical and lumbar disk replacement compared to traditional fusion techniques. The group is also using novel radiographic techniques to determine the painful levels of disk degeneration.
Spinal Disorders Clinical Outcomes
At the UCSF Spine Center, we pride ourselves in providing the finest treatment available for spinal conditions. Our surgeons provide the best surgical techniques and the highest quality of clinical care. For additional information about our clinical outcomes program, please visit our Clinical Outcomes page.