Jason M. Highsmith, MD's portrait
Jason M. Highsmith, MD
Neurosurgeon
Charleston Brain and Spine
Charleston, SC
Dr. Highsmith is a member of the SpineUniverse Editorial Board.

About Jason M. Highsmith, MD

Dr. Jason M. Highsmith is a board certified and fellowship trained neurosurgeon specializing in complex and minimally-invasive spine surgery in Charleston, SC.

He completed his pre-medical training at Cornell University before attending the Medical College of Virginia for medical school and residency. As a resident, he started the first spinal cord injury lab in the history of MCV. His research there included an award-winning project on the use of artificial blood products to treat spinal cord injury. He also served as an Adjunct Professor of Biology there teaching anatomy to nursing students.

Dr. Highsmith went on to join the faculty at Emory University where he completed a complex spine fellowship. He is currently working on the development of new instrumentation to treat spinal pathologies. His research interests include dynamic stabilization, complex spine, radiosurgery, and trauma.

Articles Written by Jason M. Highsmith, MD

What Is a Spinal Cord Stimulation Trial?

A spinal cord stimulation trial period is necessary if you are considering this treatment to reduce and manage your chronic back pain.

How Is a Spinal Cord Stimulator Implanted?

Information about the surgical implantation of a spinal cord stimulation system is provided. If your spinal cord stimulation trial was successful, you may be eligible to have a SCS system permanently implanted to reduce and manage chronic back pain.

Spinal Cord Stimulation: Potential Benefits and Risks

The potential benefits and risk of spinal cord stimulation vary from patient to patient. It is important to understand that SCS may help reduce your pain, but not eliminate it.

Cancer and Spinal Fractures

Spinal compression fractures can be caused by many things. While osteoporosis is the most common cause, certain types of cancer can cause a spinal bone to break or fracture.

Spinal Cord Stimulation for Chronic Pain: What You Need to Know

Spinal cord stimulation (SCS) has become a standard of care for people with chronic back and neck pain. Neurosurgeon answers the questions patients ask.

Types of Spinal Fractures

There are many ways to classify spinal fractures, and this article goes through the generally used classifications.

Alternative Treatments for Herniated Disc

Alternative and complementary treatments such as acupuncture, acupressure, and massage may reduce pain associated with a herniated or bulging disc.

Neuropathic Drugs and Medications

Neuropathic pain is characterized by chronic burning, tingling, and numbness.This article explores the medication options for neuropathic pain.

What is Whiplash?

Learn more about the causes and symptoms of whiplash and why you should see a doctor after a neck injury--even if you do not feel any pain.

Causes of Spondylolisthesis

There are different types of spondylolisthesis. What type you have all depends on the original cause.

Spinal Bracing: A Treatment Option for Spinal Fractures

After a spinal fracture, your doctor may recommend that you wear a brace. It will support your spine and muscles as the bone heals.

Drugs and Medications for Spinal Fractures

Spinal fractures may cause pain, so to help you deal with that pain, you may need to take medications. Your doctor will work with you to figure out the best medications and dosages for your pain.

Physical Therapy for Spinal Fractures

A physical therapist will develop an individualized plan that helps you return to normal and/or work around your limitations.

Spondylolisthesis Center

Spondylolisthesis occurs when one vertebra slips forward over the vertebra below it. The term is pronounced spondy-low-lis-thesis and is derived from the Greek language: spondylo means vertebra and listhesis means to slip. There are several types or causes of spondylolisthesis.

Causes of Spinal Stenosis

There are several causes of spinal stenosis, including aging, osteoarthritis, and a herniated disc. Spine surgeon-reviewed article explaining in clear language what could be causing your back pain or neck pain.

Recent blog posts from Jason M. Highsmith, MD

February 15, 2012

Is Pregnancy Causing My Low Back Pain or Is It Something Else?

I'm a 29-year-old woman in my second trimester with my first child. I've had low back pain for several years, and I've never actually received a diagnosis. What could be wrong with me, and how do I make my back pain go away? I'm worried about my health and the health of my baby.

January 05, 2012

Weight Loss to Treat Herniated Disc Pain

I'm overweight, and I've had severe back pain caused by a herniated disc. If I lose weight can I avoid spine surgery?

January 12, 2011

Spinal Stenosis Surgery

There are many surgery options for spinal stenosis, but one of the most common options is spinal implants (eg, X-STOP). Learn how these implant can help relieve pressure on your spinal nerves and reduce your back pain.

More from Dr. Highsmith's blog "A Surgeon's Perspective"

Case Studies Presented by Jason M. Highsmith, MD

Burst Fracture in a 79-Year-old Male: How would you treat?

Presented by: J. Highsmith MD
This case is about a 79-year-old man whose fall caused an L1 burst fracture. Case details, treatment, and discussion included.

Postsurgical Radicular and Neuropathic Pain

Presented by: J. Highsmith MD
Previous surgery relieved the patient's left leg pain but, postoperatively, he experienced new right leg pain described as radicular and electric in nature.

Rapidly Progressing Cervical Adjacent Segment Disease

Presented by: J. Highsmith MD
A 56-year-old woman presents with a history of worsening neck and left shoulder pain. She has had some relief with C4-C5 epidurals, but her pain has persisted. She has had previous C6-C7 anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) with plate in 2002. That was followed by explanation of instrumentation and subsequent C5-C6 ACDF in 2007.

Spinal Stenosis – Unresponsive to Nonoperative Treatment

Presented by: J. Highsmith MD
A 65-year old male with multiple medical problems reports a long history of low back and leg pain with difficulty walking upright, especially during the last several months.

Pseudofusion Dilemma

Presented by: J. Highsmith MD

Patient History A 53-year-old, nonsmoking woman came to the clinic with increasing back and right leg pain despite undergoing an L4-S1 Transforaminal Lumbar Interbody Fusion (TLIF) and lateral mass fusion with Bone Morphogenetic Protein (BMP) just 8 months prior. She initially had surgery for sever

Cervical Pseudoarthrosis and Adjacent Level Disease

Presented by: J. Highsmith MD

Patient History This 70 year-old female presented reporting increasing neck and periscapular pain over several years. The patient underwent a C5-C7 ACDF 11 years earlier. Her pain intensified and radiated into the deltoid area following a minor motor vehicle accident 6 months earlier. Examination

Articles Reviewed by Jason M. Highsmith, MD

Slideshow Spinal Anatomy Slideshow

To better understand your back pain, go through our quick, educational spinal anatomy slideshow. See drawings of vertebrae, intervertebral discs, and the different spinal regions (cervical, thoracic, and lumbar spine).

Slideshow Unusual Treatments for Back Pain

Botox, Magnets, and Other Back Pain Treatments

Curious to see if unconventional treatments will help ease your back pain? This slideshow covers 4 unusual treatments for back pain, including Botox and magnets. See whether these treatments work, and find out if they’re right for you.

What Is Microforaminotomy?

Microforaminotomy is a type of minimally invasive spine surgery that helps relieve pressure on your spinal cord or nerve roots. Smaller incisions and a faster recovery may make this procedure more attractive than open foraminotomy.

Slideshow Spondylosis (Spinal Osteoarthritis) Basics

Could my neck or back pain be spondylosis?

Spondylosis—also known as spinal osteoarthritis or spinal arthritis—can affect any part of the spine. This slideshow highlights the most common spondylosis symptoms, causes, and treatments.

Exams and Tests for Spondylosis

To make an accurate diagnosis of spondylosis, your doctor will do physical and neurological exams. You'll need to have x-rays, CT scans, or MRIs, too.

Physical Therapy for Spondylosis

A physical therapy program is individualized and may include active treatments, such as an exercise program.

Surgery for Spondylosis

Article lists scenarios where surgery is recommended and details the types of surgery used.

Alternative Treatments for Upper Back Pain

Learn about acupuncture and massage and find out how they can help you deal with upper back pain.

Drugs, Medications, and Injections for Upper Back Pain

Drugs, medications, and injections work to control and relieve your upper back pain. Your doctor will help figure out which medication is right for you. Options include acetaminophen and muscle relaxants.

Whiplash Prevention

Before buying a new car, truck, or van, do your research to make sure that you're getting the best protection for your neck.

Drugs and Medications for Whiplash

Over-the-counter medications may help reduce your pain. However, if your pain continues, your doctor may prescribe stronger treatments.

Physical Therapy for Whiplash

In whiplash, the soft tissues in your neck are damaged. A physical therapist can work with you to restore proper function to those tissues.

Surgery for Whiplash

Very few patients with whiplash end up needing cervical spine surgery. If your doctor recommends it, though, there are several options.

Surgery for Upper Back Pain

Surgery for upper back pain is a last resort treatment option. The exact procedure is determined by your diagnosis, but this article explains several common procedures for upper back pain, including decompression and fusion.

How to Prevent Upper Back Pain

Learn tips, including an exercise you can do every day, for upper back pain prevention.

Financial Disclosures

SpineUniverse, a Remedy Health Media, LLC website, is committed to ensuring that the medical information it presents is accurate, balanced, objective, and trustworthy.

To help achieve this goal, SpineUniverse requires all authors, editors, and reviewers to disclose any financial relationships or affiliations they have with companies whose products or services may be mentioned in the content they author, edit, or review.

The intent of this policy is to identify any perceived, potential, or real conflicts of interest so that readers can make their own judgments about the value of information being presented.

Author's Statement

I, or an immediate family member, have a financial interest(s) or affiliation(s) with the following commercial companies whose products and / or services may be mentioned in the materials I have authored, edited or reviewed for presentation on Remedy Health Media, LLC’s websites.

Disclosed Relationships

Consultant/Independent Contractor
Boston Scientific, Globus Medical, Covidien
Speaking/Teaching
Boston Scientific, Globus Medical, Covidien, St. Jude Medical
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