Meet Dr. Kim Rickert

Kim Rickert, M.D., is an expert neurosurgeon at UT Southwestern Medical Center, but there was a time when neurosurgery would not have seemed a likely career path. A former science and math teacher, she pursued medicine as a second career. She unexpectedly fell in love with neurosurgery during her third year of medical school.

The medical staff here gets along so well. Everybody supports each other, and that translates into better care for patients.”

“I like the way the nervous system works. It was just logical. It made sense to me,” she says of her training, adding that she found the surgeries amazing and that she liked caring for patients who are critically ill.

Dr. Rickert’s transition from science teacher to neurosurgeon hasn’t been as jarring as one might expect. The job isn’t only about training your hands, she says, but also about teaching patients and their families about neurosurgery. “You teach patients about their disease, explaining what they have and trying to tell them risks and benefits of any kind of intervention you want to do,” she explains. “You’re educating the whole way through.”

Dr. Rickert cares primarily for patients with aneurysms, arteriovenous malformations, cavernomas, and other blood-vessel abnormalities, but also for patients who have suffered trauma to the head and spine and for those who need back surgery for tumors, degenerative diseases, and disc problems.

She is one of three neurosurgeons at UT Southwestern able to perform both traditional open neurosurgery and modern minimally invasive endovascular neurosurgery. “The depth of experience in neurovascular disease here is amazing,” she notes of her colleagues.

Clinical Specialties/Interests

Neurosurgery for Cerebrovascular Disease

  • Arteriovenous malformation (AVM)
  • Cerebral aneurysm
  • Ischemic stroke
  • Transient ischemic attack (TIA)
  • Cavernoma
  • Moyamoya
  • Endovascular neurosurgery
  • Open neurosurgery

Cerebral Bypass Surgery

  • External carotid-internal carotid bypass

Carotid Endarterectomy

Adult Degenerative Back Problems and Disc Disease

  • Lumbar disc herniation
  • Cervical disc herniation
  • Spinal fusion
  • Spinal instrumentation


  • Brain trauma
  • Cranial trauma
  • Spinal trauma
  • Spinal-cord trauma