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Disease and Conditions

Dr. Berchuck is a recognized expert in treating conditions of the cervical, thoracic and lumbar spine, including herniated discs, spinal stenosis, spine fractures, benign and malignant tumors and deformity.

Conditions Treated

Dr. Berchuck specializes in treating the following conditions:

  • Cervical spine disorders
  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Degenerative spinal conditions
  • Herniated disc
  • Kyphosis
  • Lumbar spine disorders
  • Myelopathy
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Osteoporosis

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Treatments and Procedures

At Baylor Scott & White Spine Surgery Center our lead physician, Dr. Berchuck can help you determine which treatment approaches are best suited for the particular spine problem you are experiencing. Non-surgical treatments are often the most appropriate treatments for neck and back pain. But, for our patients in need of surgery, Dr. Berchuck is a highly trained, skilled surgeon who can recommend and advise on the appropriate surgical options available.

Advanced Surgical Approaches

Sometimes, surgery is determined to be the procedure that will result in the best outcome. Dr. Berchuck has extensive experience and skill with both anterior and posterior spine surgery, current spinal implants, and technologies as well as minimally invasive techniques. Treatment methods will be pursued based on reducing surgical trauma and pain as well as accelerating recovery.

Procedures include, but are not limited to:

  • Artificial disc replacement
  • Discectomy
  • Kyphoplasty
  • Laminaplasty
  • Laminectomy
  • Lower back surgery
  • Microdiscectomy
  • Minimally invasive surgery
  • Neck surgery

Non-Surgical Treatment Options

Often, the best solution is nonsurgical. BSW​ Spine Surgery Center​ offers a comprehensive program of rehabilitation and physical therapy, including:

  • Decompression traction
  • Exercise programs
  • Fitness center
  • Trigger point injections
  • Botox injections
  • Work-strengthening programs
  • Massage therapy

Anterior cervical discectomy with fusion

Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion, commonly known as ACDF, is a surgery to remove or repair a herniated or degenerative disc in the neck area of the spine. After the disc is removed a fusion is performed. In order to stabilize the cervical segment, a fusion is almost always performed at the same time as discectomy. A fusion allows Dr. Berchuck to fill the space left with bone that is most commonly taken from the patient’s pelvis or a bone bank. Placing a bone graft between two or more vertebrae causes it to grow together, or fuse. In most instances, Dr. Matthew Berchuck uses this procedure to treat neck problems such as radiculopathy, disc herniations, fractures, and spinal instability. An anterior cervical discectomy with fusion helps relieve pressure on a cervical nerve root that may cause numbness, muscle weakness, and pain focused in the hand and arm.

During this procedure, Dr. Matthew Berchuck enters the neck from the front (the anterior region) and removes a spinal disc (discectomy). The anterior cervical discectomy and fusion may be recommended to patients if medication and physical therapy fail to relive neck or arm pain. The anterior approach has many benefits that include better access to the spine and less postoperative pain. A large number of patients with symptoms resulting from a herniated or degenerative disc in the neck find relief from non-surgical options, including physical therapy, medication and weight management. Sometimes, an anterior cervical discectomy with fusion is determined to be the procedure that will result in the best outcome. The Spine Center staff of Baylor Dallas has advanced training in the latest technology and focuses on minimally invasive surgical procedures. Dr. Berchuck and his staff can quickly decide which treatment approaches are best for their patient’s conditions. Non-surgical treatments are often the most appropriate treatments for neck and back pain.

Artificial cervical disc replacement

Artificial cervical disc replacement surgery is most commonly performed on patients who have cervical disk herniations. Surgery may be the best option for a patient who hasn’t responded to non-surgical treatment options and is having trouble with everyday activities. This procedure involves removing a diseased cervical disk and replacing it with an artificial one. Dr. Matthew Berchuck performs this procedure to maintain normal neck motion, early postoperative neck motion and a faster return to normal activity. Dr. Berchuck and his staff want patients to be aware of the following before their procedure:

Before the procedure

  • Your doctor will explain the procedure to you and offer you the opportunity to ask any questions that you might have about the procedure.
  • You will be asked to sign a consent form that gives your permission to do the procedure. Read the form carefully and ask questions if something is not clear.
  • In addition to a complete medical history, your doctor may perform a complete physical examination to ensure you are in good health before undergoing the procedure. You may undergo blood tests or other diagnostic tests.
  • Notify your doctor if you are sensitive to or are allergic to any medications, latex, tape, and anesthetic agents (local and general).
  • Notify your doctor of all medications (prescribed and over-the-counter) and herbal supplements that you are taking.
  • Notify your doctor if you have a history of bleeding disorders or if you are taking any anticoagulant (blood-thinning) medications, aspirin, or other medications that affect blood clotting. It may be necessary for you to stop these medications prior to the procedure.
  • If you are pregnant or suspect that you are pregnant, you should notify your doctor.
  • You will be asked to fast for eight hours before the procedure, generally after midnight.
  • You may receive a sedative before the procedure to help you relax.
  • You may meet with a physical therapist before your surgery to discuss rehabilitation.
  • Since certain activities may be restricted following your surgery, you will need to arrange for someone to help you for a few days with the household activities and driving.
  • Based on your medical condition, your doctor may request other specific preparation.

Source: Health Source Library:

Dr. Matthew Berchuck and his staff will provide the best possible care to each patient and determine the most beneficial treatment necessary for your conditions.

Lumbar Microdiscectomy

Lumbar microdiscectomy is a surgical procedure performed by Dr. Matthew Berchuck. This surgical procedure removes a small portion of the bone over the nerve root and/or disc material from under the nerve root to relieve the neural impingement that is causing the pain. Lumbar microdiscectomy is intended to relive pressure on a pinched nerve. The pinched nerve can cause leg pain, numbness, tingling and weakness. A lumbar microdscectomy is 95% to 98% effective in eliminating leg pain. Dr. Matthew Berchuck performs a lumbar microdiscectomy through a small incision on the back. Every surgery is different but most patients feel relief from pain almost immediately after a microdiscectomy spine surgery is completed.

Symptoms for a Lumbar Microdiscectomy

Leg pain is a common symptom found in patients who may require a microdiscectomy. Most surgeons recommend 6 weeks after consulting your physician of leg pain before performing the surgery. If the leg pain persists and doesn’t get better with nonsurgical treatments, surgery is a reasonable option to relieve pressure. An immediate microdiscectomy may be necessary if a patient is experiencing severe leg pain, neurological deficits or bowel/bladder incontinence. A lumbar microdiscectomy is typically recommended for patients who have:

  • Had debilitating leg pain for at least six weeks
  • Not had any relief from non-surgical treatments such as medication and physical therapy

Post Lumbar Microdiscectomy Surgery

After having a lumbar microdiscectomy, most patients will begin rehab. The rehabilitation process will involve light physical therapy, stretching and back strengthening. High impact activities such as aerobics, may be resumed after three months. After 6 months, most physical activities are acceptable. Each patient is different and Dr. Berchuck will advise on when certain activities may be continued. Dr. Berchuck and the team at The Spine Surgery Center will help patients through all stages of the procedure, from initial conservative treatment, to surgery and finally rehab.

Lumbar laminectomy for spinal stenosis

A lumbar laminectomy for spinal stenosis is a procedure performed to remove a small portion of the bone over the nerve root and/or disc material from under the nerve root. This gives the nerve root more space and allows for a better healing environment. Spinal stenosis is most common in elderly patients and is caused by degenerative changes that cause the enlargement of face joints. The enlarged joints puts pressure on the nerves and can result in a laminectomy.

Reasons for the procedure

Low back pain can range from mild, dull, annoying pain, to persistent, severe, and disabling pain. Pain in the lower back can restrict mobility and interfere with normal functioning. Laminectomy may be performed to relieve pressure on the spinal nerves, treat a disk problem, or remove a tumor from the spine.

One common reason for undergoing a laminectomy is a herniated disk in the spine. A disk may be displaced or damaged because of injury or wear and tear. When the disk presses on the spinal nerves, this causes pain, and sometimes numbness or weakness. The numbness or weakness will be felt in the body part where the nerve is involved, often the arms or legs. The most common symptom of a herniated disk is sciatica (generally, a sharp, shooting pain along the sciatic nerve, extending from the buttocks to the thigh and down the back of the leg). If medical treatments are not satisfactory, back surgery may be an effective treatment. Some medical treatments for back pain may include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Activity modification
  • Medication, such as muscle relaxants, anti-inflammatory drugs, and analgesics
  • Spinal injections
  • Physical rehabilitation and/or therapy
  • Occupational therapy
  • Weight loss (if overweight)
  • Smoking cessation
  • Assistive devices, such as mechanical back supports

Laminectomy is usually performed for back pain that continues after medical treatment, or when the back pain is accompanied by symptoms of nerve damage, such as numbness or weakness in the legs. There may be other reasons for your doctor to recommend a laminectomy. Dr. Matthew Berchuck and his staff can determine the best steps to take for each patient and their condition.

Source: Health Source Library:

Minimally invasive lumbar spine fusion

Minimally Invasive Lumbar Spine Fusion is a procedure that has a smaller incision, disrupts less tissue and more often than not, results in a faster recovery time. This procedure is performed to stop the motion at a painful vertebral segment, which should decrease the patients back pain. During this procedure, Dr. Matthew Berchuck will place bone or bone-like material within the space between two spinal vertebrae. A spinal fusion consists of techniques designed to imitate the normal healing process of broken bones.

Spinal fusion permanently connects two or more vertebrae in your spine to improve stability, reduce pain, or correct a deformity. Dr. Matthew Berchuck may recommend a minimally invasive lumbar spinal fusion to treat the following spine problems:

  • Broken vertebrae.
  • Deformities of the spine.
  • Spinal weakness or instability.
  • Spondylolisthesis.
  • Herniated disk.
  • Chronic lower back pain.

While all surgeries have possible risks, there are many potential benefits to minimally invasive surgery. The benefits include:

  • Smaller incisions
  • Smaller scars/less scar tissue
  • Reduced blood loss
  • Less pain
  • Less soft tissue damage
  • Reduced muscle retraction
  • Decreased postoperative narcotics
  • Shorter hospital stay
  • Possibility of performing on outpatient basis
  • Faster recovery
  • Quicker return to work and activities

Dr. Matthew Berchuck typically recommends surgery after a period of nonsurgical treatment such as medication and rehabilitation. Each patient should undergo an appropriate amount of time with conservative treatment, without showing improvement, before being considered for surgery. If the nonsurgical treatments prove ineffective, Dr. Berchuck may recommend a surgery to help alleviate pain and fix the problem. Please note: not everyone is a candidate for surgery if non-operative methods don’t work. The staff at the Spine Surgery Center will properly evaluate each patient and decide the best course of action for each circumstance.

Symptom Checker

Have a symptom or a health care concern? Use this interactive body guide to explore the symptom topics that could help. Symptom Checker and Care Guides will guide you through the decisions to make and steps to take so that you feel better fast.

Facts About the Spine, Shoulder, and Pelvis

The vertebral column, also called the spine or backbone, is made up of multiple vertebrae that are separated by spongy disks and classified into four distinct areas. The cervical area consists of seven bony parts in the neck; the thoracic spine consists of 12 bony parts in the back area; the lumbar spine consists of five bony segments in the lower back area; five sacral* bones; and four coccygeal* bones (the number of coccygeal bones can vary from five to three).

Back Pain Prevention

​By learning to care for your back, you may avoid any future pain​.

Spine Care

Looking for more information on specific conditions, symptoms and treatments? Find a full range of videos, interactive health tools and resources in our HealthSource Library.

Spine Health Quiz

​Back pain is one of the most common nerve-related illnesses in the United States. Keeping your spine in good health is one way to avoid back pain. Learn more about your spine and back pain by taking this quiz, based on information from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, and the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.