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Dr. Raj Kakarlapudi, who has extensive experience as a spine surgeon, has joined the staff of SASpine.

“I’m excited to bring new techniques with the training I’ve had with laser spine surgery and minimally invasive surgery to San Antonio and the patients at SASpine,” he said.

Much of his specialized training came after Dr. Kakarlapudi graduated from medical school in 2004 from Creighton University School of Medicine in Omaha, Nebraska and went on to do an orthopedic surgery residency at the University of Missouri School of Medicine in Columbia.

Following his residency, he did a spine surgery fellowship at Indiana Orthopedic Hospital, also known as OrthoIndy Spine in Indianapolis, Ind. At OrthoIndy, Dr. Kakarlapudi was trained in the latest percutaneous and minimally invasive spine surgery procedures, along with image-guided spine navigation for spine surgery.

“I trained with different doctors, who were experts in the field of minimally invasive surgery, open surgery and CT guided navigation procedures,” he said, “so I had a wide variety of experience from a broad spectrum of cases.”

With image-guided spine navigation surgery, Dr. Kakarlapudi explained that the procedure is “a combination of X-ray and CT guided surgery. Some are based on X-ray images and some on CT images. During surgery, you can be precise in correlating the patient’s anatomy to the CT scan. Some of the arm does the actual operation, so you can be very precise in putting in screws and rods into the spine.”

Regarding laser spine surgery, he said that the procedure takes minimally invasive surgery to the next level. “There is a smaller incision, less blood loss and less damage to the muscles and a faster recovery period,” he said. “Patients are up and walking the next day.”

Since childhood, Dr. Raj Kakarlarpudi was inspired to be a doctor by his aunt and uncle who were both doctors. He grew up in Kansas City, Kan., and raised by his adopted parents who guided him in achieving his dream.

While in medical school, he was involved in numerous research projects and received multiple grants for his research. He was a Grand Award recipient at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston Department of Orthopedics and Rehabilitation for the best oral presentation. He was also awarded the William J. Albano Award for outstanding research activity. 

Prior to joining SASpine, Dr. Kakarlapudi had a successful practice as a spine surgeon in northern Kentucky. He was the spine director of St. Elizabeth Medical Center and helped build their spine center. He was elected by his peers as “Top Doc” in Cincinnati. After seeing the benefits of minimally invasive spine procedures for his patients, he did an additional fellowship with Laser Spine Institute (LSI), a leader in minimally invasive spine surgery.

Dr. Kakarlapudi is excited to bring his expertise in minimally invasive spine surgery to San Antonio and the South Texas region.  

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