New Spine Surgeon Specializes in the Most Complex Cases

Duke Spine Center expands adult spinal deformity team

Illustration of spine

The Duke Spine Center, recognized as a high-volume and comprehensive care center for people with complex disorders, has expanded its team to include a new orthopaedic spine surgeon whose specialized training qualifies him to perform the most complicated procedures.

Brett Rocos, MD, BSc (Hons), MB, ChB, began his career as a general surgeon and went on to complete five specialized fellowships. He capped his training with two years at the University of Toronto in a program focused exclusively on the most technically demanding spine surgery cases.
“I always wanted to be the complete surgeon. I never wanted to have to turn someone away because I couldn’t address their condition,” says Rocos, who was recruited to Duke from the Royal London Hospital during an international recruitment process.
“I am experienced in seeing complex adult deformity patients as a result of injury or degeneration, as well as those who need revisions after previous surgery has failed for some reason,” Rocos says. “The patient may have had decompression surgery but their condition has progressed or led to a deformity that needs addressing, or had a previous fracture that is causing new problems. These patients need several disciplines involved in their care—including intensive care, anesthesia, dietitians, physiotherapists, and more—as opposed to patients with simple spine cases who can be in and out in a day.”

Refer a patient

To refer a patient, call 919-620-5168 or log in to Duke Medlink.

Rocos can address deformities using rods, plates, and screws in instrumented fusion procedures that can require 12-hour surgeries.
In addition to this patient care, he says his portfolio at Duke includes “driving forward research  looking at how we give patients with deformity the best care possible and improve their final results. The field has standards of care, but there are different approaches to achieving our goals. I’m interested in trying to understand which way is best for a given, individual patient. Duke is one of the few places in the world where we can answer that question. There are world leaders in every subspecialty here.”
Rocos welcomes referrals of any patients who may require spine surgery, but his training has focused on helping patients with recalcitrant problems. He specializes in the treatment of complex sacral, lumbar, thoracic, and cervical spinal disorders in adults using less invasive and open techniques. He has a special interest in the treatment of spinal deformity affecting the cervical or thoracolumbar spine and managing spinal trauma.