Stephen Pirris, M.D., specializes in complex spine surgery, which is the focus of his projects. Improving patient safety through research is his overall goal.

By utilizing technology such as image guidance, spinal implants can be placed more safely and cause less risk to their critical neurovascular structures. The guidance also allows for placing more robust implants with novel trajectories in stabilizing complex spinal deformities and instability.

Postoperative pain is a significant issue after spinal fusion surgery. Collaboration with the Pain Clinic and anesthesiology colleagues allows for trials of different medication regimens to optimize patient recovery and ability to participate in rehabilitation.

Focus areas

  • Image guidance as an adjunct to complex spine surgery
  • Bone grafting options in spinal fusion surgery
  • Improved spinal fixation options in deformity surgery
  • Neuromonitoring during complex spine surgery
  • Postoperative pain control options after spinal fusion surgery
  • New minimally invasive technologies for spinal decompression surgery

Significance to patient care

All of Dr. Pirris' projects are intended to improve patient safety by:

  • Increasing the accuracy of spinal implant placement
  • Developing a method to improve spinal fusion rates while avoiding major risks of other established bony extenders
  • Developing better spinal-fixation techniques
  • Monitoring a patient's neurologic status during surgery and making any necessary adjustments to avoid complications
  • Improving postoperative pain while decreasing the reliance on risky narcotic medications
  • Helping develop less invasive methods to achieve adequate spinal decompression in patients with severe pain due to stenosis


See my publications


Academic Rank

  1. Assistant Professor of Neurosurgery


  1. Resident - Neurological Surgery University of Pittsburgh Medical Center
  2. MD University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
  3. BS - Biology University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

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