Back to Basics

Providence Cedars-Sinai Tarzana Medical Center’s comprehensive spine program helps patients get back on track.

  • Category
    Health, People
  • Written by
    Laura L. Watts
  • Photographed by
    Tameka Jacobs
  • Above
    Dr. Andrew Fox | Dr. Greg Khounganian

If your back is bothering you, you’re not alone. An estimated 75% to 85% of Americans experience some form of back pain during their life, reports the American Association of Neurological Surgeons. It is one of the most common reasons for ER visits and missed work and other activities, impacting people of all ages. Whether the discomfort is caused by an accident, a sports injury, arthritis, stress or a common, everyday movement, seeking help to alleviate back pain is a smart move.

The spine program at Providence Cedars-Sinai Tarzana Medical Center offers a team of specialists and care providers highly experienced in treating the full spectrum of neck and back disorders. The goal is to help each patient restore function and improve their quality of life. Services include pain manage-ment, psychological treatment, surgical intervention and rehabilitation.

Dream Team

Heading the team are neurosurgeon Andrew Fox, MD, and orthopedic spine surgeon Greg Khounganian, MD. Dr. Fox, neurosurgery medical director, received his medical degree from Finch University of Health Sciences/Chicago Medical School and completed residencies at the University of California Davis Medical Center in Sacramento and SUNY Health Science Center in Brooklyn. He served as director of spinal surgery at Sutter of Sacramento and has a keen interest in motion preservation technology such as artificial discs and coflex®. Dr. Khounganian, surgery department chair and orthopedic division chair, received his medical degree from the Keck School of Medicine of USC and completed a spine fellowship at the Southern California Orthopedic Institute in Van Nuys, where he learned innovative orthopedic methods to treat spine conditions with nonoperative techniques as well as microscopic and minimally invasive procedures.

“Since we have an avid interest in sports and active lifestyles, we understand that back health and support means much more than performing procedures.”

Both physicians are Los Angeles natives and lead active lifestyles. Dr. Fox is passionate about mixed martial arts and basketball, while Dr. Khounganian enjoys a variety of personal fitness and outdoor activities.

“Our team truly understands the impact that back pain has on daily life, and we support our patients every step of the way,” says Dr. Khounganian. “Our surgeons, nurses, exercise therapists and pain management experts all share the same common goal: to help relieve patients’ pain and restore their function and return them to good health with as little intervention possible.”

Dr. Fox concurs. “Since we have an avid interest in sports and active lifestyles, we understand that back health and support means much more than performing procedures,” he says. “It means surrounding you with a supportive team of experts who understand the impact that back pain has on your life.”

Comprehensive Care

Patients of the spine program receive a thorough workup and comprehensive care plan before treatment begins. The medical team assesses each patient to determine the most conservative, effective steps to recovery. Patients are offered in-person pre-op education programs, and a nurse navigator guides them through the entire process.

Not all spine injuries or conditions require surgery. However if surgery is necessary, the spine program offers state-of-the-art, minimally invasive techniques that typically carry less risk than traditional surgery.

“We stay on top of the latest in neurology and spine care through active research projects and clinical journals,” shares Dr. Fox. “We are experts in technology—from improvements in artificial disks to constantly emerging new best practices and recommendations in minimally invasive techniques.”

The reward for the treatment team is seeing patients become active and pain-free. “Whether someone is able to return to a sport they love or simply engage in a more active routine, knowing that our treatment has had a positive impact on their quality of life is deeply gratifying,” expresses Dr. Khounganian.

Providence Cedars-Sinai Tarzana Medical Center has served the San Fernando Valley since 1973. It has consistently been ranked as one of America’s 50 Best Hospitals by Healthgrades, named a Best Regional Hospital by U.S. News & World Report and earned a five-star quality rating from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Providence Cedars-Sinai Tarzana Medical Center  |  18321 Clark Street, Tarzana  |  818-881-0800  |