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Scoliosis & Spine Tumor Center

What is the Scoliosis & Spine Tumor Center?

As a structure that affects and is affected by every move you make, the spine plays an integral role in your health and quality of life. When your spine is compromised, whether by deformity, degeneration or a spinal tumor, the pain, the deformity and other debilitating effects can be devastating.

That’s why Texas Back Institute and Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Plano collaborated to establish an advanced Scoliosis & Spine Tumor Center focused on providing the most appropriate and least invasive treatment, support and coping strategies for adolescents and adults suffering from spinal deformities and tumors.

Most Appropriate and Least Invasive Treatment

Led by internationally-known spine surgeons, the center combines innovative minimally invasive technologies and the wide range of resources available at Texas Back Institute and Texas Health Plano to develop a comprehensive plan tailored to your individual needs.

The goal at the center is to provide the most appropriate and least invasive care to improve the patient’s condition and quality of life. It is a goal that requires specialized expertise and a full range of support services.

Specialized Support Services at the Scoliosis & Spine Tumor Center

With a reputation for quality care and performance excellence, Texas Back Institute and Texas Health Plano provide advanced services and a nationally recognized nursing team to support the Scoliosis & Spine Tumor Center.

Scoliosis & Spine Tumor Specialists

Isador H. Lieberman, M.D.

Spine Surgeon, Texas Back Institute, and Medical Director of the Scoliosis & Spine Tumor Center

Internationally known spine surgeon Isador Lieberman, M.D., is an orthopedic spine surgeon with Texas Back Institute and serves as the Medical Director of the Scoliosis & Spine Tumor Center at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Plano. A physician with a reputation for excellence and a kind and compassionate bedside manner, Dr. Lieberman is fellowship-trained surgeon and board certified by the American Board of Orthopedic Surgery. Specializing in the surgical treatment of spinal disorders, Dr. Lieberman has spent more than a dozen years performing complex spine surgeries and sharing his knowledge of the spine through research, philanthropy and teaching. He is committed to “providing the most appropriate and least invasive treatment for the spinal pathology at hand.” Dr. Lieberman’s clinical interests include: adolescent and adult scoliosis, deformity reconstruction, spinal tumors, minimally invasive and robotic spinal surgery, cervical and lumbar degenerative disorders, including herniated discs and stenosis, spinal tumors, infections and spinal trauma.


Rajesh G. Arakal, M.D.

Spine Surgeon, Texas Back Institute, and Director of Orthopedic Spine, Medical Center of Plano

Rajesh G. Arakal, M.D. is a world-renowned leader in the field of neck and back care who is an orthopedic spine surgeon with Texas Back Institute and serves as Director of Orthopedic Spine at Medical Center of Plano.

Dr. Arakal was the first student in college history to finish an honors degree in three years at the College of New Jersey. He then went on to New Jersey Medical School, a general surgery internship and orthopedic surgery residency in Newark, New Jersey. He completed his spine surgery fellowship with Baylor College of Medicine in Houston at Texas Medical Center.

Dr. Arakal is also continuously writing and presenting professional articles, publications and speaking engagements to national and international audiences.

Theodore Belanger, M.D.

Board-certified Orthopedic Spine Surgeon at Texas Back Institute.

Dr. Theodore Belanger came to the Texas Back Institute from North Carolina, where he was a partner physician at the OrthoCarolina Spine Center. Dr. Belanger has also trained spine surgery fellows and orthopedic residents and has covered spine trauma calls at a regional level-one trauma center. He specializes in the evaluation and treatment of neck and back disorders, including degenerative conditions, disc disorders, adult and pediatric spinal deformity, scoliosis and spine trauma.

Dr. Belanger earned a Bachelor of Science with Honors from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and received his Doctor of Medicine from the University of Wisconsin Medical School. He completed his residency training at Michigan State University/ Kalamazoo Center for Medical Studies, and a Spine Surgery and Spinal Cord Injury Fellowship at Case Western Reserve University under the late Henry Bohlman, M.D. Dr. Belanger is a Fellow of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons and is a member of the Cervical Spine Research Society.

Stephen Tolhurst, M.D.

Board-certified Orthopedic Spine Surgeon at Texas Back Institute.

Stephen Tolhurst, M.D., an orthopaedic spine surgeon, joined the Texas Back Institute team in 2012 from the Cleveland Clinic where he completed his fellowship in spine surgery. Dr. Tolhurst was part of a unique fellowship program which combined orthopaedic and neurosurgical spine surgery training as well as special training in spinal trauma. He attended medical school at the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine and completed his orthopaedic surgery residency at the University of Michigan. Dr. Tolhurst treats the full spectrum of cervical, thoracic, and lumbar spinal disorders, with a special interest in cervical conditions. He is actively involved in research and has published multiple peer reviewed articles and book chapters on spinal topics and has also given several national presentations on his research.

Blake Staub, M.D.

Neurosurgeon at Texas Back Institute.

Blake N. Staub, M.D. is a neurosurgeon at Texas Back Institute. Dr. Staub specializes in spinal surgery and focuses on using the most advanced technology combined with the least invasive techniques available to treat his patients. Dr. Staub earned his Bachelor of Science degree in biology from the Emory University and completed his medical degree at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in Dallas. He then completed a surgical internship and neurosurgical residency at Houston Methodist Hospital. Upon completion of his residency, Dr. Staub finished an Orthopedic Spine Surgery fellowship at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York focusing in complex spine and scoliosis surgery.

Mark Kayanja, M.D., PhD

Board-certified Orthopedic Spine Surgeon at Texas Back Institute.

Dr. Mark Kayanja is a Board certified Orthopaedic Spine surgeon at Texas Back Institute. Dr. Kayanja specializes in spinal surgery with a focus on adult and pediatric scoliosis, complex revision surgery, infections and spinal tumors. Dr. Kayanja combines the most advanced technology with the least invasive techniques available.  He believes in listening to his patients to make the right diagnosis and utilizes other diagnostic tests to make an individualized plan for each patient. Every patient has the opportunity to tell their story.

Dr. Kayanja completed his Orthopaedic Residency and Spine Surgery Fellowship at the Cleveland Clinic and then went on to the CORE Institute in Phoenix. He then moved back to Ohio where he worked as Wright State University Faculty at the Miami Valley Hospital in Dayton.

Not only does Dr. Kayanja specialize in the treatment of spinal disorders in adult and adolescent scoliosis, deformity reconstruction, revision surgery and spinal tumors but his clinical interests also include vertebral compression fractures, cervical and lumbar degenerative disorders and spine trauma.

Message To Teenagers

If you’re a teenager with scoliosis, we want to encourage and remind you that your condition is treatable, and you can live a full, fun and active life with the condition. At the Scoliosis & Spine Tumor Center, we understand that having scoliosis can be a hassle, as well as stressful and sometimes embarrassing. That’s why we have a team who is here to listen and give you the support you need.

If we recommend wearing a brace, know that we will give you techniques for hiding the brace under your clothes, playing sports and living an active life. You might be surprised at how light and comfortable braces are now, and researchers are developing even better ones all the time.

If the curve of your spine is really advanced, we might recommend scoliosis surgery. Allowing a large curve to progress could interfere with your health and lung function later in life. Surgery for scoliosis isn’t nearly as big of a deal as it used to be; many of our patients can now have less invasive spinal surgery, which allows for more cosmetically acceptable scars and results in a shorter hospital stay and more comfortable recovery.

Texas Health Plano has fun, themed hospital rooms for teenagers. You might get to stay in the Dallas Mavericks room or another specially decorated room. We’ll work to make your hospital stay and recovery fast and easy so you can get back to your friends, school, sports and other activities as soon as possible.

Feel free to stop by our office any time. We are always available to answer questions or just to talk.

Whether your goal is to get back to sports, work, hobbies or just enjoying life, the specialists at the Scoliosis & Spine Tumor Center can help.