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Complex Spinal Surgery: An Overview

An overview of several complex spinal surgeries performed by the DMC Harper University Hospital Department of neurosurgery

Complex Spinal Surgery at Detroit Medical Center: An Overview


When it comes to medical procedures, there are few that cause more concern and anxiety than surgery on the spine. That’s why the neurosurgery program at DMC Harper University Hospital is so important.


It’s also why we’re presenting a series of reports to tell you new, high-tech procedures that may change the way you view spinal surgery. Doctor Hazem Eltahawy is a DMC neurosurgeon with an extraordinary expertise in treating complex spinal conditions requiring surgery. It’s just one of the reasons behind the DMC’s emergence as a major referral center for some of the most challenging spinal surgery cases.


“We have an excellent set-up at the Detroit Medical Center to manage a wide variety of complex spinal conditions that are typically referred to us from surrounding hospitals and places across the state,” says Dr. Eltahawy.


Megan Curtis, a neurosurgery nurse practitioner who works with Dr. Eltahawy, agrees. “Dr. Eltahawy has a particular niche with the DMC in their neurosurgery program in that he uses the most state-of-the-art technology and procedures, especially when several years ago incisions for special procedures would be several inches long and be disfiguring. Now they’re mostly minimally invasive, and just up to one inch in diameter. Also, he sues artificial disc replacement that allows people to preserve motion in their spine.”


With traditional surgery, there is a long, often painful recovery, lasting up to several months, and a lot of heavy-duty pain management. With his tiny incisions, Dr. Eltahawy gets very different results.


“The recovery is remarkable compared to the other approach,” reports Eltahawy. “A typical hospital stay is maybe two to three days, and people are back to natural activities very fast.”

The use of high-tech materials, such as artificial spinal discs, can also play a vital role. “The artificial disc for the cervical and lumbar spine is an actual disc,” says Curtis. “It’s a prosthetic disc that takes the place of the jelly disc that is often herniated or degenerated in patients. And the disc assumes the spot of the previous disc so it allows for mobility. There’s no stiffness, practically no need for physical therapy because your body just moves the same way it would have with its natural disc.”


Please take a look at the reports we’ve grouped here in this series on new developments in complex spinal surgery. We think you’ll find them both informative and reassuring for those faced with the often-daunting prospect of spinal surgery.


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Harper University Hospital
Hazem Eltahawy M.D.(Connect with this doctor)
Assistant Professor of Neurological Surgery (WSU)
PRIMARY HOSPITAL: Harper University Hospital
SPECIALTY: Neurological Surgery
EDUCATION/TRAINING: Faculty of Medicine, Ain Shams University, Egypt
INTERNSHIP: Ain Shams University Hospitals
RESIDENCY: Ain Shams University Hospitals
FELLOWSHIP: Detroit Medical Center/WSU Affiliated Hospitals, Spine Fellowship
FELLOWSHIP: Toronto Western Division
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