UW Medicine Expands Spine Surgery Program

To meet the increased demand for spine surgery throughout the Puget Sound region, UW Medicine has expanded its staff and services.

With the addition of orthopedic spine surgeon Karina Katchko, MD, and spine neurological surgeon Imad Khan, MD, patients have improved access to surgical care — no matter how complex their condition. 

That’s because UW Medicine’s growing spine surgery program offers advanced services ranging from minimally invasive spine surgery to trauma surgery.

More minimally invasive procedures means more options for more patients

The evolution of spine surgery tools and technology — including tubular retractors and intraoperative 3D imaging — has transformed surgical treatments for spinal conditions. And few health systems have kept up with the latest research and techniques as completely as UW Medicine.

The expert surgeons at UW Medicine offer the full range of minimally invasive spine procedures, such as microdiscectomy and transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (TLIF). They also treat several conditions using an endoscopic approach, so patients can return to their regular activities faster than ever before.

With so many procedures available, patients have even more options for safe, effective surgery to improve their quality of life.

“We’re one of the very few centers in the United States with surgeons performing endoscopic surgery on the cervical, thoracic and lumbar spine,” says Dr. Khan. “This means we can offer an ultra-minimally invasive approach to even more people impacted by neck or back pain.”

Imad Khan, M.D.

Dr. Khan is a fellowship-trained spine surgeon at UW Medicine's Spine Center at Meridian Pavilion

Dr. Khan joined the spine surgery team after completing a complex and minimally invasive spine surgery fellowship at UW Medicine. He welcomes referrals for patients with degenerative, traumatic, infectious and neoplastic spinal disorders.

Treating the routine and the rare — and everything in between

Harborview Medical Center is home to one of UW Medicine’s comprehensive spine center locations. Here, the spine surgery team is known for its ability to manage any case that comes through the door.

As the only designated Level I adult and pediatric trauma center in the state of Washington (as well as Wyoming, Alaska, Montana, and Idaho), Harborview surgeons routinely treat the most complex spinal and multi-system injuries. And many of these same experts care for patients seeking relief from conditions such as degenerative disc disease and herniated discs.

Richard Bransford, M.D.

Spine surgeon Dr. Bransford has been with UW Medicine since 2003

“Our team has a breadth of experience and depth of expertise that’s not available at most health systems,” says Richard J. Bransford, MD, orthopedic surgeon and director of UW Medicine’s spine fellowship program and spine quality improvement program. “This means we can help any patient who turns to us for spine surgery, including those whose previous treatments were unsuccessful.”

As one of the newest members of the Harborview team, Dr. Katchko performs both planned and emergency spine surgeries.

“I wanted to join a team that can do it all, from trauma care to elective spine surgery, and Harborview is the perfect fit,” says Dr. Katchko. “Not only do I treat the most severe spinal injuries, but I also see patients with conditions like spinal stenosis, kyphosis and spinal tumors.”

Karina Katchko, M.D.

Dr. Katchko is a fellowship-trained spine surgeon at UW Medicine’s Spine Center at Harborview

Physician referral fax numbers

Here’s how you can refer your spine patient for care at a specific UW Medicine location:

Spine Center at Harborview
(Located in the First Hill neighborhood near downtown Seattle)
Fax 206.744.9937

Spine Center at Meridian Pavilion 
(Located off Interstate 5 in North Seattle’s Northgate neighborhood) 
Fax 206.363.0019

Spine Center at UW Medical Center – Roosevelt
(Located near the University of Washington in Seattle’s Roosevelt neighborhood)
Fax 206.598.6822

You can also learn more about comprehensive referral options for UW Medicine.