Published: February 26, 2024

Andie Jodko, Communications Director
Stamford Health

HSS Orthopedics with Stamford Health Establishes Premier Spine Center in Connecticut

Multidisciplinary Spine Center Offers Back and Neck Pain Solutions to Southern New Englanders

Stamford, CT, February 26, 2024 – Back pain is a complex, widespread issue across the United States, with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimating that 65 million Americans are affected. Common reasons include arthritis, disc and nerve injury, muscle strain, and other underlying health conditions such as osteoporosis and scoliosis. Responding to the urgent need for increased access to high quality spine care in Connecticut, a specialist center was created last year as an extension of the collaboration between Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS) and Stamford Health.

Specialized in musculoskeletal health since 1863 and ranked No. 1 for Orthopedics worldwide and nationwide, HSS treats more people with back and neck conditions than any other hospital in the U.S. The HSS Spine Center with Stamford Health led by co-medical directors Steven J. McAnany, MD, spine surgeon at HSS, and Andrea F. Douglas, MD, FAANS, FACS, chief of Neurosurgery at Stamford Health, builds on a successful collaboration started in 2016. It provides patients aged 12 and older with timely access to highly trained specialists in physical therapy, physiatry, pain management, neurology, neuro-interventional radiology, neurosurgery and spine surgery. Most patients are treated non-surgically.

“Improved care options for neck and spine conditions is one of the fastest-growing needs we see among patients of all ages today,” says HSS spine surgeon Harvinder S. Sandhu, MD, MBA, and Stamford Hospital Orthopedic Department Chair. “This program integrates our personalized approach to diagnosing and developing treatment plans to help us achieve the best possible patient outcomes.”

“Acute and chronic spinal conditions affect many patients in our community and beyond, with wide ranging quality of life impact,” remarks Dr. Douglas. “The Spine Center offers clinical expertise from multidisciplinary teams and facilitates seamless access for our patients closer to home.”

Spine patient successes include long-time Danbury-based soccer coach Tony Elmore. Tony experienced back and sciatic pain that quickly escalated to the loss of feeling in his right foot. Last April, HSS spine surgeon Evan D. Sheha, MD, determined Tony’s L5 nerve was being crushed by bone and a herniated disc. Dr. Sheha decompressed Tony’s nerve root and performed a robotic-assisted fusion that same month.

Soon thereafter, his disc above herniated, causing recurrent nerve pain. In August, Dr. Sheha performed a successful lumbar microdiscectomy and, together with physical therapy, helped Tony regain 80 percent of the feeling in his right foot. “HSS Orthopedics with Stamford Health literally saved my life,” he explains. “Dr. Sheha was fantastic. I’m hard on myself physically and the fact that I can do what I’m doing after two surgeries is remarkable.”

Darien, Connecticut, resident Diane Barston underwent surgery elsewhere for prior spine-related issues. When her scoliosis became significantly worse, she chose to see her surgeon, Dr. Sandhu, who performed minimally invasive lumbar decompression spinal fusion with robotics.

One week after surgery, Diane could walk a mile without pain and has since increased her mileage. She danced at her son’s wedding in October and has returned to higher-impact cardio, tennis, hiking and pickleball. “I knew right away after meeting Dr. Sandhu that he was the best choice,” she recalls. “He knew exactly what was wrong with me and how to treat it. I feel like night and day before versus after my surgery.”

“The HSS Spine Center with Stamford Health harnesses the expertise of our respective institutions to bring world-class patient care to the communities we serve,” said Kathleen Silard, president and CEO at Stamford Health. “Over the past year, hundreds of patients with back and neck conditions have benefitted from the exceptional capabilities and proven expertise we offer through the HSS Spine Center with Stamford Health.”

For more information about the program or to schedule an appointment, please visit:

About Stamford Health

Stamford Health is a non-profit independent health care system with more than 3,900 employees committed to caring for the community through a wide range of high-quality health and wellness services. Patients and their families receive expert, compassionate care through the system’s 305-bed Stamford Hospital; Stamford Health Medical Group, with more than 40 offices in lower Fairfield County offering primary and specialty care; a growing number of ambulatory locations across the region; and support through the Stamford Hospital Foundation.

Stamford Health is known for its expert, person-centered care through its many recognitions and partnerships. U.S. News & World Report has recognized Stamford Hospital as a High-Performing Hospital. The Leapfrog Group awarded Stamford Hospital an “A” for patient safety. The American Nurses Credentialing Center has granted Stamford Hospital Magnet Status, which recognizes superior patient care with the highest level of safety, quality, and patient satisfaction. Stamford Health is Planetree Gold-Certified for Excellence in Person-Centered Care and is a Certified™ Great Place to Work.

Stamford Health is a major teaching affiliate of the Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons and offers treatment and expertise from Columbia University Irving Medical Center’s nationally recognized heart and neuro-surgeons. Stamford Health and Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS) have created a premier center for specialty orthopedic care right in Stamford, Connecticut. Stamford Health’s Carl & Dorothy Bennett Cancer Center has a robust collaboration with Dana-Farber Brigham Cancer Center.

Dedicated to being the community’s most trusted health care partner, Stamford Health puts patients first to build long-lasting relationships. For more information, visit Like us on Facebook and follow us on X, Instagram, YouTube, and LinkedIn.

About HSS

HSS is the world’s leading academic medical center focused on musculoskeletal health. At its core is Hospital for Special Surgery, nationally ranked No. 1 in orthopedics (for the 14th consecutive year), No. 2 in rheumatology by U.S. News & World Report (2023-2024), and the best pediatric orthopedic hospital in NY, NJ and CT by U.S. News & World Report “Best Children’s Hospitals” list (2023-2024). In a survey of medical professionals in more than 20 countries by Newsweek, HSS is ranked world #1 in orthopedics for a fourth consecutive year (2023). Founded in 1863, the Hospital has the lowest readmission rates in the nation for orthopedics, and among the lowest infection and complication rates. HSS was the first in New York State to receive Magnet Recognition for Excellence in Nursing Service from the American Nurses Credentialing Center five consecutive times. An affiliate of Weill Cornell Medical College, HSS has a main campus in New York City and facilities in New Jersey, Connecticut and in the Long Island and Westchester County regions of New York State, as well as in Florida. In addition to patient care, HSS leads the field in research, innovation and education. The HSS Research Institute comprises 20 laboratories and 300 staff members focused on leading the advancement of musculoskeletal health through prevention of degeneration, tissue repair and tissue regeneration. In addition, more than 200 HSS clinical investigators are working to improve patient outcomes through better ways to prevent, diagnose, and treat orthopedic, rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases. The HSS Innovation Institute works to realize the potential of new drugs, therapeutics and devices. The HSS Education Institute is a trusted leader in advancing musculoskeletal knowledge and research for physicians, nurses, allied health professionals, academic trainees, and consumers in more than 165 countries. The institution is collaborating with medical centers and other organizations to advance the quality and value of musculoskeletal care and to make world-class HSS care more widely accessible nationally and internationally.

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