About the USA Health Spine Institute

What is a Spine Institute?

To be a formal spine institute requires a complete management of spinal problems in both children and adults. It requires having much more than a fellowship-trained spine neurosurgeon.

  1. A spine institute is an entire patient-centered culture based on national best practices with a team of more than 50 doctors, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, nurses, specialists and other team members. The resources of the region's only academic medical center are at our fingertips. We have completely integrated care from all members of our team. We treat every portion of spine care delivery from surgical to non-surgical in children and adults.  

  2. We are actively engaged in research. We are investigating ways to make spine surgery safer and better. We are constantly publishing research articles in leading medical journals and giving research presentation talks throughout the United States. We are pushing and driving the spine field forward.

  3. We teach and train students and other doctors who seek to learn from us. A fellowship-trained neurosurgeon performs your case and is in charge of your entire care. We have academic teaching conferences, grand rounds for other physicians, and many teaching sessions. This is what makes USA Health truly unique in the region. We are responsible for helping to grow the next generation of caring and competent physicians.  We always have to be on the top of our game.

Learn more about the University of South Alabama College of Medicine and Residencies and Fellowships at USA Health.



Why the USA Health Spine Institute?

The choice of who to choose for your spine surgeon is a personal and important decision to be made by each patient and their family. You deserve to be comfortable and confident that you have made the best choice in your surgeon, in their team, and in the values of their practice and institution. 


Our culture focuses on you. We will listen to you. We have a specific patient navigator to help you through your spine diagnosis and your treatment. We want you to get the best possible patient experience with concierge level service.  We want to change the way spine care is delivered.

We will do the right thing at the right time because it’s the right thing to do. We will perform the least- invasive treatment option possible. The surgeon and every member of the staff will work to be our absolute best every single day. We are not focused on just performing surgery. Surgery is one tool we have to get our patients better. Again, we want to transform the way spine care is performed in the region. Our philosophy is that the surgeon is the “Captain of the Ship” and is responsible for all aspects of your care and outcome.


For complex surgery, your surgeon should be specifically fellowship trained in spinal surgery, up to date with the latest surgical techniques, and actively engaged in surgical innovation. A fellowship-trained neurosurgeon spends eight years training in spine surgery after graduating from medical school: Seven years are spent in involved in the care of spinal patients on a daily basis as a neurosurgery resident and one year of advanced fellowship training is spent mastering the most complex spinal cases. It is important to select someone who is an expert in your specific spinal problem.


At a minimum, your surgeon should be reading different scientific journals about spine surgery. At the USA Health Spine Institute we are the academic neurosurgical practice for the Gulf Coast. We are driving the field of spine surgery, we are performing research, and we are writing some of the research other surgeons read. We have to be at the tip of the sphere because we are responsible for training other doctors. The neurosurgical department at the University of South Alabama has had their research worked cited over 1,400 times in papers by other surgeons and scientists. This dedication to research ensures we are always on the cutting edge of the newest and safest techniques.

Commitment to Spine Safety

Our goal is to provide the safest possible spine surgery to our patients. We use every tool available before, during, and after surgery to ensure safety for our spine surgery patients.


Before surgery, your case is discussed with other doctors to ensure the best care plan.  We also make sure we talk to you, the patient, each step of the way in preparation for surgery. Our cases are reviewed by other surgeons (peer reviewed) to ensure the highest quality standards. During your hospital stay and in the operating room, everything is done by protocol in the same systemic fashion. We use cutting edge neuromonitoring technology in the operating room to give the surgeon real-time feedback electronic feedback about nerves and spinal cord. This makes spine surgery safer. After surgery, you are taken care of by the spine team, which focuses on your recovery. We go step-by-step through the rigorous checklist of making sure all the necessary steps are being performed for a safe and full recovery.  


We track all of our outcomes with real objective data. We ensure you are hitting the national standards and benchmarks for having a great outcome.


Dr. Menger believes strongly in the Safety in Spine Surgery Project (S3p).


This includes:

  1. Participation in local regional, or societal quality and safety committees

  2. Participation in webinars relevant to spine safety

  3. Use of meticulous patient specific risk calculation severity scores during surgery pre-op

  4. Formal discussion in an interdisciplinary conference to discuss spine patients

  5. Use of checklists, protocols, and guidelines in the clinic, hospital, and operating room. 


We have written several book chapters about safety in spine surgery in leading academic textbooks, including Safety in Spine Surgery: Transforming Patient Care and Optimizing Outcomes. Members of the spine team regularly attend the Spine Safety Summit. We have been invited to lecture about spine topics nationally and internationally.