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RSC’s Dr. Michael Roh learns from mentor on complex spine surgery
Posted on: October/24/2017

Observing complex surgeries for continued education is one of the many ways Rockford Spine Center’s surgeons remain committed to providing the highest-quality, patient-centered care.


RSC’s Michael Roh recently traveled to New York City to observe a 12-hour surgery involving a technique called the posterior vertebral column resection (pVCR), which he said is reserved for the most complicated and deformed spines. The surgery was performed by Dr. Lawrence Lenke, a mentor of Roh’s who specializes in complex spinal surgeries. Lenke is a professor of orthopedic surgery at Columbia University Medical Center and surgeon-in-chief at The Spine Hospital at NewYork-Presbyterian/Allen.

Roh worked with Lenke during his spine surgery fellowship at Washington University in St. Louis. He finished his fellowship in 2002, stayed in touch with Lenke and sees him regularly at meetings, including this year’s Scoliosis Research Society Meeting & Course, where Lenke spoke. Roh sometimes discusses cases with Lenke for his opinion, an opportunity he calls “invaluable.”

“The field continues to grow and innovate rapidly in relation to other fields that are already quite established,” Roh said. “My partners and I remain very committed to only providing the highest level of cutting-edge technology. Because if you don’t make efforts to keep abreast of current trends, you quickly get left behind.”


The surgery in New York City that Roh observed involved a 25-year-old patient with a congenital spinal deformity – one of the worst both doctors had seen. Lenke said he’s been fortunate to have had several hundred surgeons from more than 40 countries view his surgeries in the past 20-plus years.

“I had the great pleasure of training Dr. Roh many years ago and have been very proud of the outstanding spine surgical care he has provided in Rockford and beyond,” Lenke said. “There is a great sense of satisfaction to watch outstanding clinicians and surgeons like Dr. Roh succeed in their practice following their training.”

Roh said observing surgeries and innovative techniques is rooted in improving the quality of care for patients. Since Roh’s visit, Rockford Spine Center has obtained some of the equipment and instruments being used in New York.

“It feels good to be able to bring such advanced surgical options back to Rockford,” he said.

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