(888) 352-RUSH for help arranging an appointment.
Faculty Rank: Professor
Medical or Graduate Education:
University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine
University of Chicago Medical Center - Neurosurgery
University of Chicago Medical Center - Neurosurgery
Degenerative disc disease
Head and neck trauma
Lumbar disc replacement
University Neurosurgery Professional Building 1725 W. Harrison St. Suite 855 Chicago, IL 60612 Phone: (312) 942-6644 Fax: (312) 942-2176
View Larger Map • Driving Directions
Below is a list of scientific publications for which this practitioner was either the primary author or a contributor. Citations come from PubMed, a database of biomedical literature, life science journals and online books. PubMed is a service of the US Library of Medicine at the National Institutes of Health. Click on the title of the cited work for more information (this will take you directly to PubMed.gov). Listings go back five years.
Risk factors and long-term survival in adult patients with primary malignant spinal cord astrocytomas. Wong AP, Dahdaleh NS, Fessler RG, Melkonian SC, Lin Y, Smith ZA, Lam SK J. Neurooncol. 2013 Sep 29 :. ENG Assessment of Paraspinal Muscle Cross-Sectional Area Following Lumbar Decompression: Minimally Invasive versus Open Approaches. Bresnahan LE, Smith JS, Ogden AT, Quinn S, Cybulski GR, Simonian N, Natarajan RN, Fessler RD, Fessler RG J Spinal Disord Tech 2013 Oct 13 :. ENG Minimally Invasive Thoracic Corpectomy - 3-D Operative Video of a Posterolateral Approach to Decompression and Anterior Column Reconstruction. Smith ZA, Wong AP, El Ahmadieh TY, Aoun SG, Haque R, Bendok BR, Fessler RG. Neurosurgery. 2013 2013 May 29. [Epub ahead of print] Measuring surgical outcomes in cervical spondylotic myelopathy patients undergoing anterior cervical discectomy and fusion: assessment of minimum clinically important difference. Auffinger BM, Lall RR, Dahdaleh NS, Wong AP, Lam SK, Koski T, Fessler RG, Smith ZA. PLoS One. 2013 2013 Jun 24 8(6):e67408. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0067408. Print 2013. Microendoscopic decompression for cervical spondylotic myelopathy. Dahdaleh NS, Wong AP, Smith ZA, Wong RH, Lam SK, Fessler RG. Neurosurg Focus. 2013 2013 Jul 35(1):E8. doi: 10.3171/2013.3.FOCUS135. Evidence-based management of central cord syndrome. Dahdaleh NS, Lawton CD, El Ahmadieh TY, Nixon AT, El Tecle NE, Oh S, Fessler RG, Smith ZA. Neurosurg Focus. 2013 2013 Jul 35(1):E6. doi: 10.3171/2013.3.FOCUS13101. Perspective--sacral Tarlov cyst: surgical treatment by clipping. Smith ZA, Fessler RG, Batjer HH. World Neurosurg. 2013 2013 Feb 79(2):285. doi: 10.1016/j.wneu.2012.07.016. Epub 2012 Jul 31. No abstract available. The effect of surgical level on self-reported clinical outcomes following minimally invasive transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion: L4-L5 vs. L5-S1. Lawton CD, Smith ZA, Nixon AT, Dahdaleh NS, Wong AP, Khanna R, Barnawi A, Fessler RG World Neurosurg 2013 Aug 2 :. ENG Outcome following unilateral versus bilateral instrumentation in patients undergoing minimally invasive transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion: a single-center randomized prospective study. Dahdaleh NS, Nixon AT, Lawton CD, Wong AP, Smith ZA, Fessler RG Neurosurg Focus 2013 Aug 35(2):E13. eng Primary dural repair in minimally invasive spine surgery. Haque RM, Hashmi SZ, Ahmed Y, Uddin O, Ogden AT, Fessler R. Case Rep Med. 2013 2013 2013:876351. doi: 10.1155/2013/876351. Epub 2013 May 30. Minimally Invasive Thoracic Microendoscopic Diskectomy: Surgical Technique and Case Series. Smith JS, Eichholz KM, Shafizadeh S, Ogden AT, O'Toole JE, Fessler RG. World Neurosurg. 2012 2012 Oct 5. doi:pii: S1878-8750(12)01095-9. 10.1016/j.wneu.2012.05.031. [Epub ahead of print] Intraoperative neurophysiological monitoring in spine surgery: indications, efficacy, and role of the preoperative checklist. Lall RR, Lall RR, Hauptman JS, Munoz C, Cybulski GR, Koski T, Ganju A, Fessler RG, Smith ZA. Neurosurg Focus. 2012 2012 Nov 33(5):E10. doi: 10.3171/2012.9.FOCUS12235. Review. Leptomeningeal spinal metastases from glioblastoma multiforme: treatment and management of an uncommon manifestation of disease. Lawton CD, Nagasawa DT, Yang I, Fessler RG, Smith ZA. J Neurosurg Spine. 2012 2012 Nov 17(5):438-48. doi: 10.3171/2012.7.SPINE12212. Epub 2012 Sep 7. Review. Incidence of Lumbar Spine Pedicle Breach Following Percutaneous Screw Fixation: A Radiographic Evaluation of 601 Screws in 151 Patients. Smith ZA, Sugimoto K, Lawton CD, Fessler RG. J Spinal Disord Tech. 2012 2012 Jun 7. [Epub ahead of print] Low back pain and lumbar radiculopathy as harbingers of acute myeloid leukemia recurrence in a patient with myeloid sarcoma. Smith TR, Slimack N, McClendon J Jr, Wong A, Fessler RG. J Clin Neurosci. 2012 2012 Jul 19(7):1040-1. doi: 10.1016/j.jocn.2011.11.012. Epub 2012 Apr 29. Perioperative and postoperative complications of single-level minimally invasive transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion in elderly adults. Lee P, Fessler RG. J Clin Neurosci. 2012 2012 Jan 19(1):111-4. doi: 10.1016/j.jocn.2011.09.005. Epub 2011 Nov 30. Minimally Invasive Tubular Microdiscectomy - A 3-D Operative Video. Smith ZA, Dahdaleh NS, Wong AP, Aoun SG, El Ahmadieh TY, Nixon AT, Bendok BR, Fessler RG. Neurosurgery. 2012 2012 Dec 21. [Epub ahead of print] Minimally Invasive Resection of a High-Thoracic Intradural Extramedullary Tumor: An Operative 3-D Video. Smith ZA, Aoun SG, El Ahmadieh TY, Wong AP, Lall RR, Bendok BR, Fessler RG. Neurosurgery. 2012 2012 Dec 21. [Epub ahead of print] Minimally Invasive Thoracic Corpectomy - 3-D Operative Video of a Posterolateral Approach to Decompression and Anterior Column Reconstruction. Smith ZA, Wong AP, El Ahmadieh TY, Aoun SG, Haque R, Bendok BR, Fessler RG. Neurosurgery. 2012 2012 Dec 21. [Epub ahead of print] Clinical Outcomes of Microendoscopic Foraminotomy and Decompression in the Cervical Spine. Lawton CD, Smith ZA, Lam SK, Habib A, Wong RH, Fessler RG. World Neurosurg. 2012 2012 Dec 12. doi:pii: S1878-8750(12)01440-4. 10.1016/j.wneu.2012.12.008. [Epub ahead of print] Cervical spinal cord bullet fragment removal using a minimally invasive surgical approach: a case report. Lawton CD, Smith ZA, Sugimoto K, Smith JS, Fessler RG. J Med Case Rep. 2012 2012 Aug 9 6(1):235. doi: 10.1186/1752-1947-6-235. Paradigm changes in spine surgery: evolution of minimally invasive techniques. Smith ZA, Fessler RG. Nat Rev Neurol. 2012 2012 Aug 8(8):443-50. doi: 10.1038/nrneurol.2012.110. Epub 2012 Jun 19. Review. Minimally invasive thoracic corpectomy: surgical strategies for malignancy, trauma, and complex spinal pathologies. Lall RR, Smith ZA, Wong AP, Miller D, Fessler RG. Minim Invasive Surg. 2012 2012 2012:213791. doi: 10.1155/2012/213791. Epub 2012 Jul 24. The microendoscopic decompression of lumbar stenosis: a review of the current literature and clinical results. Wong AP, Smith ZA, Lall RR, Bresnahan LE, Fessler RG. Minim Invasive Surg. 2012 2012 2012:325095. doi: 10.1155/2012/325095. Epub 2012 Jul 31. Minimally invasive transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion: a perspective on current evidence and clinical knowledge. Habib A, Smith ZA, Lawton CD, Fessler RG. Minim Invasive Surg. 2012 2012 2012:657342. doi: 10.1155/2012/657342. Epub 2012 Aug 5. Current advances and evidence in minimally invasive spine surgery. Fessler RG, Smith ZA, Slimack N, Smith JS, Parkinson RJ. Minim Invasive Surg. 2012 2012 2012:508415. doi: 10.1155/2012/508415. Epub 2012 Dec 30. No abstract available. Minimally invasive discectomy for the treatment of disc herniation causing cauda equina syndrome. Shih P, Smith TR, Fessler RG, Song JK. J Clin Neurosci. 2011 2011 Sep 18(9):1219-23. doi: 10.1016/j.jocn.2011.01.018. Epub 2011 Jul 12. Complications of open compared to minimally invasive lumbar spine decompression. Shih P, Wong AP, Smith TR, Lee AI, Fessler RG. J Clin Neurosci. 2011 2011 Oct 18(10):1360-4. doi: 10.1016/j.jocn.2011.02.022. Epub 2011 Jul 19. Minimally invasive lateral lumbar interbody fusion and transpsoas approach-related morbidity. Moller DJ, Slimack NP, Acosta FL Jr, Koski TR, Fessler RG, Liu JC. Neurosurg Focus. 2011 2011 Oct 31(4):E4. doi: 10.3171/2011.7.FOCUS11137. Abdominal complications following posterior spinal fusion in patients with previous abdominal surgeries. Shih P, Slimack NP, Roy A, Fessler RG, Koski TR. Neurosurg Focus. 2011 2011 Oct 31(4):E16. doi: 10.3171/2011.8.FOCUS11132. Changes in coronal and sagittal plane alignment following minimally invasive direct lateral interbody fusion for the treatment of degenerative lumbar disease in adults: a radiographic study. Acosta FL, Liu J, Slimack N, Moller D, Fessler R, Koski T. J Neurosurg Spine. 2011 2011 Jul 15(1):92-6. doi: 10.3171/2011.3.SPINE10425. Epub 2011 Apr 8. Perioperative results following open and minimally invasive single-level lumbar discectomy. Lee P, Liu JC, Fessler RG. J Clin Neurosci. 2011 2011 Dec 18(12):1667-70. doi: 10.1016/j.jocn.2011.04.004. Epub 2011 Sep 25. Evaluation of change in muscle activity as a result of posterior lumbar spine surgery using a dynamic modeling system. Bresnahan L, Fessler RG, Natarajan RN. Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2010 2010 Jul 15 35(16):E761-7. doi: 10.1097/BRS.0b013e3181e45a6e. Clinical outcomes after microendoscopic discectomy for recurrent lumbar disc herniation. Smith JS, Ogden AT, Shafizadeh S, Fessler RG. J Spinal Disord Tech. 2010 2010 Feb 23(1):30-4. doi: 10.1097/BSD.0b013e318193c16c. An alternate method for placement of C-1 screws. Thomas JA, Tredway T, Fessler RG, Sandhu FA. J Neurosurg Spine. 2010 2010 Apr 12(4):337-41. doi: 10.3171/2009.10.SPINE08541. Cadaveric evaluation of minimally invasive posterolateral thoracic corpectomy: a comparison of 3 approaches. Ogden AT, Eichholz K, O'toole J, Smith JS, Gala V, Voyadzis JM, Sugimoto K, Song J, Fessler RG. J Spinal Disord Tech. 2009 2009 Oct 22(7):524-9. doi: 10.1097/BSD.0b013e31818e5488. Surgical site infection rates after minimally invasive spinal surgery. O'Toole JE, Eichholz KM, Fessler RG. J Neurosurg Spine. 2009 2009 Oct 11(4):471-6. doi: 10.3171/2009.5.SPINE08633. Percutaneous vertebroplasty. Hurley MC, Kaakaji R, Dabus G, Shaibani A, Walker MT, Fessler RG, Bendok BR. Neurosurg Clin N Am. 2009 2009 Jul 20(3):341-59. doi: 10.1016/j.nec.2009.03.001. Review. Comparison of BRYAN cervical disc arthroplasty with anterior cervical decompression and fusion: clinical and radiographic results of a randomized, controlled, clinical trial. Heller JG, Sasso RC, Papadopoulos SM, Anderson PA, Fessler RG, Hacker RJ, Coric D, Cauthen JC, Riew DK. Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2009 2009 Jan 15 34(2):101-7. doi: 10.1097/BRS.0b013e31818ee263. A biomechanical evaluation of graded posterior element removal for treatment of lumbar stenosis: comparison of a minimally invasive approach with two standard laminectomy techniques. Bresnahan L, Ogden AT, Natarajan RN, Fessler RG. Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2009 2009 Jan 1 34(1):17-23. doi: 10.1097/BRS.0b013e318191438b. Biomechanical comparison of traditional and minimally invasive intradural tumor exposures using finite element analysis. Ogden AT, Bresnahan L, Smith JS, Natarajan R, Fessler RG. Clin Biomech (Bristol, Avon). 2009 2009 Feb 24(2):143-7. doi: 10.1016/j.clinbiomech.2008.11.005. Epub 2009 Jan 3. Minimally invasive resection of intramedullary ependymoma: case report. Ogden AT, Fessler RG. Neurosurgery. 2009 2009 Dec 65(6):E1203-4; discussion E1204. doi: 10.1227/01.NEU.0000360153.65238.F0. Minimally invasive posterolateral thoracic corpectomy: cadaveric feasibility study and report of four clinical cases. Kim DH, O'Toole JE, Ogden AT, Eichholz KM, Song J, Christie SD, Fessler RG. Neurosurgery. 2009 2009 Apr 64(4):746-52; discussion 752-3. doi: 10.1227/01.NEU.0000340783.83964.27. Minimally invasive posterior osteotomies. Voyadzis JM, Gala VC, O'Toole JE, Eichholz KM, Fessler RG. Neurosurgery. 2008 2008 Sep 63(3 Suppl):204-10. doi: 10.1227/01.NEU.0000320430.37577.B7. Obesity and self-reported outcome after minimally invasive lumbar spinal fusion surgery. Rosen DS, Ferguson SD, Ogden AT, Huo D, Fessler RG. Neurosurgery. 2008 2008 Nov 63(5):956-60; discussion 960. doi: 10.1227/01.NEU.0000313626.23194.3F.
To watch a brief video of Richard G. Fessler, MD, PhD, click the play button at the lower left corner of the video frame below.
(If you cannot play the video, you may need to update to the latest version of Adobe Flash Player.)
The evolution I’ve seen in spine surgery has been nothing short of spectacular. Our results, in general, have improved by using minimally invasive technique — compared to using our open surgical techniques that we used 20 years ago. For example, when I did open surgery, my clinic was filled with patients who had what we called failed back syndrome. They had surgery, it was theoretically successful, but they didn’t feel good. They hurt just as much. I don’t have a clinic like that anymore. By and large, my patients in clinic are very happy. That means we’re doing a better job.
One of the most pleasant and rewarding parts of being a neurosurgeon is to be able to sit down with someone who has a real problem, find out what that problem is, show them how it can be helped, show them their X-rays, show them why their X-rays match what their problem is, and why that gives them a very good chance of getting an excellent result with surgery.