A Leader in Spine Surgeon Practices…Texas Back Institute founder, Dr. Stephen Hochschuler, leads the way to help patients find relief from neck and back pain!

Today Becker’s Orthopedic and Spine Review released a list of 10 Spine Practice Leaders to Know. Dr. Stephen H. Hochschuler, one of Texas Back Institute’s founding partners made the list! Congratulations Dr. Hochschuler!

Stephen H. Hochschuler, MD (Texas Back Institute, Plano). Dr. Hochschuler is co-founder of Texas Back Institute and former president of the Spine Arthroplasty Society. During his career, he has served as chairman and sat on the board of directors for SpineMark. He also founded the spine division at Veterans Administration in Dallas and served as a clinical instructor at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School. He is a founding member of the American Board of Spinal Surgery and chairman of the Texas Back Institute Holdings Corporation. Dr. Hochschuler earned his medical degree at Harvard Medical School in Boston and completed his orthopedic residency at the University of Texas Southwestern School in Dallas. He also spent time in the United States Air Force.

Congratulations to Dr. Stephen Hochschuler!  We are so proud to have you as one of Texas Back Institute’s Founders and Spine Surgeons! 

Dr. Stephen Hochschuler with Chief Development Officer, Cheryl Zapata, and Texas Back Institute CEO, Trish Bowling on Doctor’s Day the other year! 

Orthopedic Spine Surgeons and Founders of Texas Back Institute, Dr. Ralph Rashbaum, Dr. Richard Guyer and Dr. Stephen Hochschuler.

Uganda Mission Day 3

August 19, 2011

Day 3- August 16th

The morning began with a trip to the warehouse where tens of thousands of dollars of medical supplies were waiting for us. VeAhavta, a humanitarian organization based out of Toronto, organized and delivered a 40-foot container also containing 200 Kinder Kits, bags of school supplies for our spine patients and children in the village of Putti. We divided up the supplies: two-thirds would go to the state-run impoverished Mulago hospital and the rest to the Case Hospital for future use by the team and charitable use by the Case medical staff.  For all those at VeAhavta we once again thank you for the tremendous effort.

Jordan, Dr. Lieberman and the medical supplies and Kinder Kits donated by VeAhavta.

Amy, Jordan and Dr. Lieberman returned to the penalty box to review the x-rays and CTs of yesterday’s patients.  Each study was as unique and special as the children themselves. They were tremendous deformities but nothing too intimidating for Dr. Lieberman. Dr L then painstakingly described the expectations and implications of major surgery to these young patients overcoming the language and cultural barriers.  It was imperative that both parties be in favour of the decision. Ultimately surgery was planned for five of the children. For the rest we prescribed exercise and annual follow-up, hoping the deformities will not progress to the point that precludes future surgery. Fortunately, everyone left with a wide-eyed grin sporting their new red backpacks with notebooks, pens, and pencils for school. MedWish, an organization based out of Cleveland, who have been wonderful partners for many years now, also donated vitamins and toothbrushes, which will go a long way towards our patients’ general health.

Dr. Ilalov, Dr. Kayanja, and anesthesiologists Kristoff and Zbigniew were kept busy in the O.R at Mulago. Their patient was a 63 year-old educated man who, 6 weeks earlier, summer-saulted forward off of his boda-boda (motorcycle) while riding along the country-side. Motorcycle accidents are the commonest cause of spinal cord injury here in Uganda. Two hours after his flip, he was discovered by a lady in the field who found him paralyzed below his shoulders, with his head sunken into his chest. On his instruction, she grabbed his ears and lifted his head back into place then called for help. Kids, do not try this at home! As if this trauma wasn’t enough, he was picked up placed on the back of another boda-boda and “bobbled” along for 2 hours down the cratered roads, with an unstable neck, already paralyzed, to the nearest hospital.  It turned out he had dislocated the joint connecting two vertebrae in his neck (a bilateral jumped facet, in medical terminology) and the lady in the field actually “reduced” it to its original position. There was also a small vertebral fracture above the dislocation and damage to the spinal cord lining (a dural tear). Surgery to stabilize his spine and reduce further damage took seven hours.  After the surgery it was clearly evident that he would have trouble breathing.  Zbigniew, who has a special interest in mechanical ventilation, brought with him a CPAP machine (continuous positive airway pressure breathing device) and applied it to the patient (think of the mechanism as an air hose continuously inflating a tire at the same rate it is losing air through a puncture).  We all have no doubt that Zbigniew’s efforts spared this individual further suffering and maybe even saved his life. 

At Case, Dr. St. Clair and Dr. Siemionow operated on F.M, a 22 year-old male finance student. In 2005 he’d had surgery for congenital scoliosis which at the time he was told would be free of charge. After the surgery, he learned that a different doctor had operated on him and that he owed the equivalent of 2000 USD. His surgery today was a revision procedure, as the poorly-placed instrumentation from 2005 was no longer effective. He was also concerned about returning to his studies but we reassured him that his recovery would take 4-6 weeks. The surgery took 6 hours, which coincided perfectly with the passionfruit-flavoured “6-hour-power” juice that Dr. Siemionow consumed beforehand.  F.M. asked many questions about the prevalence of scoliosis in Uganda. In more developed nations, pediatricians and elementary schools screen for abnormal spine growth annually from a young age. When it does occur, measures are taken to prevent extensive curvature. Unfortunately Uganda’s population seems to have missed out on the epidemiology lecture and the incidence is disproportionately high. Even with screening the burden of spinal deformity in Uganda is substantial.

Dr. Lieberman and Dr. Ilalov discuss the X-ray and potential to operate on a 20-year old man who fell 70 feet into an empty toilet well under construction. The man waited 4 days until he was discovered. He suffered several broken and dislocated vertebrae. 

For dinner tonight we went to the all-time favourite Khyber Pass Indian Curry House.  The discussion over the flavourful curry dishes was dominated by Arnie, a free-lance reporter from Norway who was interested in learning more about the spine and Torah missions.

 Our (now) cleanly shaven equipment manager Brian Failla and Norwegian journalist Arnie at Khyber Pass.

Quote of the day:

“I wouldn’t have made it through surgery today without that 6 hours of pure PASSION!” – Dr. Kris S, with reference to the energy drink.

Some of our patients and their family members with their Kinder Kits!


Uganda Spine Mission Day 2

August 16, 2011

DAY 2 – August 15th:

At 7:30am, two full vans left home for Mulago and Case Hospitals. The plan for the day was ambitious: 4 surgeries and a spine clinic.

As we entered the Mulago government hospital, jaws dropped at the overcrowded, unsanitary, poorly maintained and undersupplied orthopaedic ward and operating room – a stark contrast to hospitals we are accustomed to, but a welcome home to poverty-stricken peoples living in and around Kampala. We were greeted with smiling faces by nurses, administrators and house staff and assumed our positions.

After meeting with Dr. Titus Beyeza (Head of Orthopedics at Mulago) to work out our equipment challenges, Dr. Lieberman and Jordan Silverman (Medical Student/Scribe) went to the clinic where we were joined by Amy and Ngozi. Greeted with a hug from a patient of years past, we met the patients who had been lined up since early morning anticipating our arrival.

We saw 19 patients (8 follow-up and the rest new) with a variety of spinal pathologies, each more complicated than the last. Of these patients, at least 7 would almost definitely require surgery pending their X-ray results. We hoped we would have time to help them all.

Dr. Lieberman examining a patient in clinic at Mulago hospital.

Meanwhile in the O.R., the team performed two successful surgeries, led by the brave Dr. Kirill Ilalov (Spine Surgery Fellow) and Dr. Mark Kayanja. In the morning, they repaired a cervical (C3/C4) neck fracture on a 64 year-old woman who had very limited mobility below her shoulders. The second surgery was for repair of a burst spinal disc in the lower back (L1-L3) of 39 year-old woman.   Dr. Kris Kusza, our Polish anesthesiologist, was surprised by the insufficient equipment.

The operating room at CASE hospital during the surgery of a 63 year old woman with degenerative disc disease.

At Case Hospital, Dr. Selvon St. Clair and Dr. Kris Siemionow (spine surgeons) operated on a 63 year-old lady with degenerative disc disease causing compression of her spinal cord (L3-L5); she had trouble walking and even standing on her own. The reliable and experienced Brian Failla (Equipment Manager) and Sherron Wilson (Nurse) were in charge of organizing and distributing the tools for all surgeries on the mission. Unfortunately the second surgery at Case had to be cancelled because the patient was unstable, with a low haemoglobin level.  

We also got to peer into the diverse mysticism and cultural experiences in Uganda. Among our challenging cases of scoliosis (curved spine) and Tuberculosis in the clinic, we saw an acupuncture scar inflicted by the local medic in an attempt to rid the child of the evil spirits suspected of causing such a terrible deformity.  

Later, we saw an Israeli flag waving in a windshield in the nearby lot. I approached the driver and his family inquiring about his affiliation. “I love the nation,” he exclaimed. I asked if he was Jewish. “I am Jewish by assimilation.” He shook my hand enthusiastically, and wished us well on our mission.

Looking forward to the rest of our trip. 

Quote of the day:

“Case served us lunch today. The rookies ate it.” – Brian Failla

 Dr. Michael Duffy, our orthopedic spine surgeon in Mansfield, took some time out of his practice on Tuesday to talk with Chris Flanagan from Good Morning Texas about how to avoid injuring your back pain when golf. Dr. Duffy actually played golf in college so this type of segment was right up his alley! 

Dr. Duffy and Chris Flanagan.

Dr. Duffy and Chris having a good time!



Thanks so much to Mansfield Methodist for inviting us on the show. 


If you have questions about back/neck pain, please come out to the BACK TALK event Saturday August 6th at 10am. 


On My Style

April 15, 2011

This past week Dr. Zigler did a photo shoot at his house for ON Magazine.  The secton is called “ON my style” and it features things that showcase Dr. Zigler’s style. 

We think the spread turned out AWESOME!!!!

Dr. Shellock also did a spread like this in 2009. 

It so fun getting to know more about the doctors personal interests and style.


What things help demonstrate your style and personality?

Super Doctors!!!!

March 23, 2011

Living magazine recently did a feature in their March issue showcasing “Super Docs” throughout the community.  Well guess who made it on the list….Texas Back Institute. Congratulations on being “SUPER“!

Our Plano physicians


Dr. Henry and Dr. Duffy

Dr. Gibbs, Dr. Lankford and Dr. Guyer at our Trophy Club office



Dr. Belanger, our newest physician at our Rockwall office


Our Flower Mound and Denton physicians, Dr. Arakal, Dr. Bradley, Dr. Marchetti and Dr. Bosita

We know finding a spine specialist can be a complex process and our goal is to make it as easy as possible.  With 20 physicians and 14 convenient locations throughout the metroplex – let us help you get back to life!



Check out our new radio commercial. What do you think? Did you know Texas Back Institute has trained over 90 spine surgeons now practicing in the US?  Did you know TBI surgeons performed the first artificial disc replacement, have written over 200 articles for scientific journals and have pioneered numerous minimally invasive surgical techniques? 

Sounds like the work of Super Heroes to me!

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