Meet Dr. Kevin Morrill
Complex Spine Surgery Specialist in Dallas
Intricate yet powerful, strong yet flexible, the human spine exemplifies magnificent biological design. Yet it is vulnerable to a variety of serious conditions, from congenital deformities to spinal malignancies.
Kevin Morrill, M.D., a UT Southwestern neurosurgeon who specializes in spinal surgery, has dedicated his life to helping people with all types of spinal diseases and disorders to regain mobility, reduce pain, and improve their quality of life.
“If I do a good job, I can get somebody out of pain and return them to a normal life. I have found that to be very gratifying,” he says.
A D Magazine Best Doctor every year since 2010, Dr. Morrill’s area of expertise is surgical treatment of spinal tumors. Because surgery for spinal malignancies is so specialized, Dr. Morrill’s Neurological Surgery Clinic at UT Southwestern draws physician referrals and spine tumor patients from throughout Texas and around the country.
“The procedures tend to be extremely complex,” Dr. Morrill notes. “So it takes a physician who focuses on this area to help ensure the best possible outcome.”
During a typical week, Dr. Morrill performs between four and six surgeries. About half are for common injuries such as herniated disks and degenerative conditions such as spinal stenosis. The remaining procedures are more complex, addressing conditions such as rare spinal diseases or degenerative syndromes that have not been relieved by previous treatments.
Dr. Morrill offers surgical correction of various spinal deformities, a highly specialized discipline not practiced by most neurosurgeons. He also performs peripheral nerve surgeries for tumors and for syndromes caused by repetitive motion injuries, such as nerve compression in the carpal and ulnar tunnels. These procedures are performed directly on the nerves in the affected joints, such as the elbow or wrist.
Sometimes, Dr. Morrill says, the best surgery may be none at all.
“Especially with routine conditions such as herniated disks and backache, I'm very conservative,” he says. “I offer all of my patients a trial of nonsurgical care before offering them an operation. The fewer operations you get on your spine, the more likely you are to do well, and the best time to get it right is the first time.”
The results of Dr. Morrill’s surgical skills can be dramatic; sometimes, they are nearly immediate.
“I’ve had patients come in wheelchair-bound with spinal fractures due to malignancies,” he says. “I remove the tumor, and they walk out of the hospital.”.
“That is the gratifying thing about doing this complex type of work: You can absolutely change a patient's life for the better.”