I am an orthopedic spine surgeon who specializes in complex spinal surgery. I perform operations for scoliosis, kyphosis, and spondylolisthesis in adults and children. I also deal with fractures, infections, tumors, and patients who have had prior failed spine surgery. Over my more than 25 years of practice I have learned that only identifiable structural problems with matching symptoms respond to surgery. Structured rehabilitation adds tremendous value to spine care and can often help patients completely avoid surgical intervention. I have been instrumental in assembling a strong team with a wide depth of experience to minimize your pain and maximize your function.
In the process of working with my patients who have chronic pain, I have discovered that stress is a significant factor which aggravates pain. I have been active in developing stress management strategies to present both in and out of my practice. My hobbies include snow skiing, golf, weight training, bird watching, and attempting to learn Italian.
Loma Linda University, Loma Linda, CA
Internal Medicine Internship & Residency - Sacred Heart Medical Center, Spokane, WA and Orthopedic Residency, University of Hawaii, Honolulu, HI
Orthopedic Trauma, UC Davis Medical Center, Sacramento, CA and John H. Moe Spinal Deformity Fellowship, Minneapolis, Minnesota
American Board of Orthopedic Surgeons
Visit our Health Library and discover a variety of fun and easy to use interactive tools to help you learn more about your spine condition. For more information, visit www.swedish.org/spineeducation.
What are the surgical indications for
adults with spine deformities?
What are the different types of surgical
treatments for spine deformities?
Garland D, Hanscom DA, Keenan M, Smith C, Moore, T. Resection of heterotopic ossification in the adult with head trauma. J Bone and Joint Surg1985; 67A: 1261 –1269.
Hanscom DA. Acute management of the multiply injured head trauma patient. J head Trauma Rehab 1987; 2:1-12.
Hanscom DA, Bloom BA. The spine in osteogenesis imperfecta. Orthop Clin of North Am 1988; 19(2): 446-458.
Hanscom DA, Winter R, Lutter L, Lonstein JE, Bloom BA, Bradford D. Osteogenesis Imperfecta: Radiographic classification, natural history, and treatment of spine deformities. J Bone and Joint Surg 1991; 74A: 598-616.
Cameron DE, Hanscom DA, Herring S. Rapid development of a spinal synovial cysts. Spine 1992; 17:1528-1530.
Carpenter C, Dietz J, Hanscom DA, Leung KYK, Wagner T. Repair of a Pseudarthrosis of the Lumbar Spine: A functional Outcome Study. Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery 1996; 78-A: 712-720.
Hanscom DA, Jex R. Sleep Disorders, Depression and Musculoskeletal Pain. SpineLine September/October 2001; 56-58.
Robinson J, Ricketts D, Hanscom DA. Musculoskeletal Pain. The Paths of Pain 2005; IASP Press, Seattle: 353-366.
Knight RZ, Schwaegler P, Hanscom DA, Roh J. Direct lateral lumbar interbody fusion for degenerative conditions: early complication profile. J Spinal Disord Tech. 2009; Feb;22(1):34-7.
Guyer RD, Shellock J, MacLennan B, Hanscom DA, Knight RQ, McCombe P, Jacobs J, Urban RM, Bradford D, Ohnmeiss DD. Early failure of metal-on-metal artificial disc prostheses associated with lymphocytic reaction: diagnosis and treatment experience in four cases. Spine (Phila Pa 1976) 2011; 36(7):E492-7.
Hussain N, Hanscom DA, Oskouian R. Chyloretropertoneum following anterior spinal surgery: report of 4 cases. Accepted for publication 2012.
Hanscom, DA; Sinter, R; Lutter; Lonstein, J; Bradford, D: Spinal deformity in osteogenesis imperfecta: Natural history and treatment. Orthop. Trans 11(1):120, 1987.
“The Cry of Chronic Pain-No One is Listening”. WSMA Preceptor, pp. 1-2, 3rd quarter, 2011.
“Back from the Edge: Coping with Physician Stress”. The Doctor’s Advocate, 4th quarter, 2011.
“Defining Solutions for Workers’ Comp: Ability and Motivation”. American Chronic Pain Association Chronicle, March 2012.
“A Surgeons’ Perspective on the Hoffman Process”. Staying Connected, March 2012.
“Physician Suicide: My Journey”. SpineLine, p. 42, November/ December, 2011.
I will never forget my first holiday season as an internal medicine resident in Spokane, WA. I learned that the holidays are a nightmare for the medicine service, especially the GI service. Many people don't take their medication during the holidays. The GI service is the worst in that patients with liver disease often drink more and develop major bleeding in their gut. People are depressed and the stress of the holidays puts them over the edge.
We had a resident’s clinic once a week. One of my favorite patients was an 80 year-old gentleman who was as nice of a person as you could meet. He had some moderate lung disease but otherwise was fairly healthy. He was admitted to the hospital on Christmas Eve with respiratory failure. It did not make sense to any of us, as his lung disease was not that severe. We had a whole team working intensely to solve the puzzle. It did not matter. He died two days later. During the course of the hospitalization I found out that his son who lived in Seattle had not invited him over for Christmas and he had become despondent. I have since learned that the will to die is as strong as the will to live.
My descent into loneliness
I could not figure this increase in illness and depression over the holidays for many years – until I descended into my own anxiety-driven depression and chronic pain. There were many ...
I have noticed this year that many patients with significant structural anatomic problems will improve or resolve their symptoms without surgery after engaging in a self-directed structured approach. It appears that as the nervous system calms down that the pain threshold rises.
The barometer I use before I help patients make the final decision about whether to have surgery is whether they are sleeping well and their anxiety levels have dropped under a 5 on a scale of 10. My experience with performing surgery on a patient with a “fired up” nervous system has consistently been less than satisfactory. Pain control is difficult and even the longer-term results are marginal. There is often still a significant amount of residual pain.
Comprehensive Spine Program at Swedish Neuroscience Institute
550 17th Avenue
Seattle, WA 98122
Phone: New Patients - 206-320-BACK (2225) | Main Clinic - 206-320-2800
8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.