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

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.

Symptoms of Spinal Fractures

Following a traumatic event such as a car accident, you may not know that you have a fracture. That's why it's important to have a thorough examination by a doctor after a traumatic event.

Spinal Fractures Center

Learn about various treatment options, including how to control your pain and if you will need surgery.

TLIF and PLIF: Minimally Invasive Spine Surgeries

Learn what spine conditions TLIF and PLIF are most commonly used for, how they can be performed minimally invasively, and the potential risks associated with these spine surgeries.

What Is Microdiscectomy?

Microdiscectomy is one of the most common minimally invasive spine procedures. Also known as microdecompression, microdiscectomy is a type of decompression technique that takes pressure off your spinal cord or nerve roots to relieve your pain.

Spine's Facet and Sacroiliac Joints

The spine's joints are similar to other joints in the body. Cartilage, ligaments, synovial fluid, and joint capsules make up the facet joints. Learn about the Sacroiliac (SI) Joints here too.

Anatomy of Spinal Fractures

Spinal fractures can occur anywhere on the vertebrae, so to understand fractures, you should understand spinal anatomy.

Sacroiliac Joint Pain Center

Sacroiliac (SI) joint dysfunction is a common cause of low back pain.This condition can make daily activities, such as sitting, standing, walking, and even sleeping difficult.

Chiari Malformation: A Basic Overview

Chiari malformation is a condition that causes brain tissue to settle into the spinal canal. It develops where your skull and neck (cervical spine) come together.

Scoliosis Center

SpineUniverse's Scoliosis Center offers accurate information about the diagnosis and treatment of adolescent idiopathic scoliosis, adult spinal scoliosis, and degenerative scoliosis.

4 Scoliosis Questions Answered

This list may not cover all your scoliosis questions, so keep the lines of communication open with your medical team and reach out to them about your specific scoliosis care plan.

Steroid-induced Secondary Osteoporosis

Secondary osteoporosis can be caused by steroid medications called corticosteroids; powerful anti-inflammatory drugs used to treat back pain and other disorders, such as lupus.

Second Opinion on Spine Surgery: Rude or Smart?

Most people don't dare to ask for a second opinion?" Although patients may want to get a second opinion, many feel it is being disrepectful. Is it?

Treatments for Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction

From over-the-counter medications to physical therapy and exercise, these sacroiliac joint dysfunction treatments can help reduce or even prevent your low back pain.

Exams and Tests for Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction

Sacroiliac (SI) joint dysfunction is challenging to diagnose. Several physical maneuvers, imaging studies, and SI injections help to confirm an accurate diagnosis.

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. I'm a 33-year-old woman with the rest of my life ahead of me, and I don't want to resort to surgery just yet.

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

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

Articles Reviewed by Jason M. Highsmith, MD

Causes of Spondylosis

Spondylosis is often a result of aging and is a type of arthritis called spinal osteoarthritis. Aging and wear and tear contributes to degenerative changes in the spine causing neck and back pain.

Symptoms of Spondylosis

The symptoms of spondylosis, also known as spinal osteoarthritis, vary depending on where your spine is affected.

Lateral Lumbar Interbody Fusion

Spine surgeons are always seeking new ways to perform spine surgery in a safe, effective way that will make your recovery less painful and more rapid.

Drugs and Medications for Spondylolisthesis

Learn about treatments for spondylolisthesis, including over-the-counter medications (such as Tylenol), prescription medications, and epidural steroid injections.

Spinal Bracing: A Treatment Option for Spondylolisthesis

Depending on the severity of your spondylolisthesis, your doctor may have you wear a brace or corset to help support your spine. You won't have to wear it all the time; your doctor will create a spondylolisthesis treatment plan just for you.

Physical Therapy for Spondylolisthesis

Physical therapy is an often prescribed treatment option for spondylolisthesis, a low back condition. You'll strengthen the muscles that support the spine, and you'll learn how to keep your spine safe. If you have pain, though, the first goal will be to relieve that.

Causes of Kyphosis

The cause of your kyphosis depends on what type of kyphosis you have: postural or structural. Postural, not surprisingly, is caused by poor posture, but structural kyphosis is related to problems with parts of the spine. Review typical kyphosis causes.

What Is Neurointerventional Surgery?

Neurointerventional surgeons have special training to treat spinal disorders. Learn about their education and training and if they can help treat your back or neck pain.

Kyphoplasty, Vertebroplasty, Vertebral Augmentation Implant: Treatments for Spinal Compression Fractures

Vertebroplasty, balloon kyphoplasty and vertebral body augmentation are minimally invasive surgical procedures performed to stabilize the fracture and relieve back pain caused by with vertebral compression fractures.

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.

Exercise to Relieve Spondylosis Pain

If possible, daily activity should be part of a spinal arthritis treatment plan because of the many benefits of exercise.

Symptoms of Upper Back Pain

Common upper back pain symptoms include muscle stiffness, tightness, and tenderness that may affect the shoulders and neck. Upper back pain is often related to muscle or soft tissue problems, such as sprains, strains, or tension.

Physical Therapy for Herniated Discs

Your spine specialist may prescribe physical therapy (PT) as part of treatment for a herniated disc. Your PT program will usually begin with passive treatments. But once your body heals, you will start active treatments that strengthen your body and prevent further pain.

Types of Kyphosis

Kyphosis, an extreme outward curve in the spine, has several types. The doctor will need to determine what type you have because that influences treatment options.

Anatomy of Kyphosis

Easy-to-understand explanation of normal spinal anatomy and how kyphosis can change parts of the spine. Article explains why we have curves in our spine and the different complex components of the spine, such as vertebrae, discs, and nerves.

Financial Disclosures

SpineUniverse, a Vertical Health, 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 Vertical Health, 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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