Leadership Forum

Dr. Raymond Hah Talks About Comprehensive Care Provided by the USC Spine Center

Originally published February 8, 2023

Last updated February 10, 2023

Reading Time: 2 minutes

two men, Rod Hanners and Raymond Hah, sit across from each other in an office building

Rod Hanners, CEO of Keck Medicine of USC, talks with an orthopedic spine surgeon who specializes in spinal deformity and minimally invasive surgery at the USC Spine Center.

“Conversations with Rod” is a video series featuring Rod Hanners, CEO of Keck Medicine of USC, talking with Keck Medicine doctors about our innovative medical care and research. In this video, Hanners sat down with Raymond Hah, MD, an orthopedic spine surgeon, who specializes in spinal deformity and minimally invasive surgery and treats patients at the USC Spine Center and USC Verdugo Hills Hospital. Watch the full video below — or read excerpts from their conversation.

Interview Excerpts

As an academic medical center, how does our collaborative work between orthopedic and neurosurgery benefit our trainees?

Raymond Hah, MD: Education is, of course, a really important part of our mission. We want to train the next generation of surgeons to perform appropriate spine care and to really have multiple viewpoints. Interestingly, we have a fellowship [where] we train both orthopedic and neurosurgery residents and fellows. When I went to fellowship, I only trained with orthopedic surgeons. But here, we actually have an equal mix. They all rotate around, see different perspectives and learn both views.

What is the future of spine care?

RH: It’s really exciting. That is part of the reason why I went into spine, the fact that technologic advances are happening at absolute breakneck speed. Our ability to perform surgery with less trauma to the patient, [using] minimally invasive techniques, robotics, CT navigation — we’re really raising the bar in terms of safety and reproducibility.

An additional portion of that has to do with what it’s going to look like when artificial intelligence and personalized medicine can be applied clinically. I think that we’re getting to the point where we have very good information and analysis that allows us to take a patient’s specific demographics — their condition, what their X-rays and MRIs look like — and then come up with an actual individual risk or chance of improvement and outcome. You can use that to counsel the patient and let them have more information to decide whether they want to proceed with something. So that is really exciting. I think we’re really getting into the stage where that is actually being done in clinical practice and will continue to develop.

What is unique about the USC Spine Center and its multidisciplinary approach to spine care?

RH: I think the real benefit of having a center with a shared aim is our ability to work with multiple disciplines, to be able to offer something to the patient, even if it’s not surgery.

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Our USC Spine Center surgeons offer tailored treatment options for all types of spine conditions, including degenerative disc disease, herniated or bulging discs and spinal cord injuries.
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Mollie Barnes
Mollie Barnes is a writer and editor at Keck Medicine of USC.