Minimally invasive back surgery may help resolve primary disorders without introducing new ones

YuImageRTFElizabeth Yu, MD, is an assistant professor in the Department of Orthopedic Surgery at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. She completed her medical degree at the St. Louis University School of Medicine, residency training at the Mayo Clinic and spine fellowship at Stanford University before joining Ohio State in 2012.

"I came to Ohio State because of its outstanding reputation in teaching, research and clinical care of orthopedic and spine patients," says Dr. Yu. "It is important to me to be at an institute that values each of these areas."

Dr. Yu's clinical focus is in minimally invasive spine surgery including surgery for the treatment of degenerative spine diseases, spinal deformities and spine related injuries. Compared to traditional open surgery, minimally invasive spine surgery is a less traumatic surgical experience for the patient.

"I entered the field of orthopedic spine surgery because I wanted to help patients afflicted with pain from their spinal disorders. I chose to specialize in minimally invasive surgery because of the benefits for patients including less pain, less pain medication and a shorter hospital stay," explains Dr. Yu.

Her research into spine biomechanics at the Spine Research Institute informs her clinical specialty. Spine surgery can alter the spine's biomechanics, which may help correct the primary disorder, but with time induce degradation in adjacent areas. Dr. Yu's research investigates preoperative and intraoperative factors that may optimize and improve patients' surgical outcomes. She is also part of a multidisciplinary research group investigating diagnostic biomarkers for chronic low back pain.

"Ohio State has provided me with a multitude of opportunities for professional development. I collaborate in multidisciplinary research groups. I have the opportunity to teach residents and medical students. And, I am fortunate to have a wonderful mentor at OSU, who is my academic senior partner and section chief," she says.

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