Texas Back Institute Brings an Innovative Approach to Spine Care

Courtesy Texas Back Institute

In 1977, Dr. Stephen Hochschuler was practicing as a spine surgeon in Plano, Texas. He wanted to advance spine care for patients suffering from neck and back pain locally and all over the world. This would be the beginning of the dream that would become Texas Back Institute.

At the time, spine patients were generally given the same treatment plan across the United States. “Back then, there was little differentiation about what was actually causing spine pain. We were interested in getting to the root of the problem the patient was having and work was needed to resolve that specific issue,” explains Dr. Hochschuler. This would mean the doctors at TBI would have to change their diagnostic and treatment processes.

“One of the initial thoughts was to create a clinic as an integrated multi-specialty model that would include prevention, conservative care, surgical care, rehabilitation, research, and development with a culture that considered surgery as a last option,” says Dr. Hochschuler.

Drs. Rashbaum and Guyer would join Dr. Hochschuler in this endeavor over the next few years and the three of them would research various treatment options for spine care, and begin changing their patient care protocols.

As the doctors at Texas Back evolved in the treatment of neck and back pain, they made the decision to become a leader in spine care and would always look for innovative ways to change the future of spine care through technique, technology, or other treatment pathways. One of these elements was to have a significant role in the research of spine treatment.

In 1985, they formed a non-profit research foundation so they could add an academic component to their private practice. This was almost unheard of at the time. Dr. Hochschuler says, “The mission of Texas Back Institute was research, education, and development. We always wanted to know what was next and be part of that change.”

Over the years, TBI would bring on new physicians, expand their geography, and keep the multi-disciplinary approach by having doctors in different specialties that were involved in the development of spine imaging through Multiplanar CT and the MRI, fusion technologies such as the Pedical Screw Systems; Anterior Cages; and Facet Fusion Techniques.

As part of the desire to help change spine care around the world, TBI started a fellowship program in 1986 and has trained over 125 spine surgeons from various regions of the country and around the world. Texas Back also created internal learning opportunities and quality control processes like neuroscience, peer review, and interesting case conferences.

TBI brought cervical and lumbar artificial discs to the United States, kicking off a new era of motion preservation technologies. The company was also instrumental in the development of robots for spine care and has been part of the revolution of minimally invasive and ultra-minimally invasive spine surgery.

“Texas Back Institute has also held key roles in national and international spine organizations such as North American Spine Society, International Society for the Advancement of Spine Surgery, and the International Society for the Study of the Lumbar Spine and several others,” says Dr. Hochschuler.

As Dr. Hochschuler retires this year, he feels fortunate he did what he loved with people he loved. “Texas Back Institute has made a difference for spine patients all over the world and continues to do so,” he says.

What does Dr. Hochschuler see in the future for TBI? “Working in regenerative medicine, augmented reality, predictive analytics, information technology, musculoskeletal population health, and the advancement of telemedicine and digital home, it is an exciting time in spine health,” he says.

The culture of TBI continues to be strong. Its current mission statement: Texas Back Institute exists to provide the best possible spine care in an environment of innovation, education, and research.