Book: Backbone: The Life and Game-Changing Career of a Spinal Neurosurgeon

Backbone: The Life and Game-Changing Career of a Spinal Neurosurgeon

By Volker K. H. Sonntag MD M.D.

Backbone: The Life and Game-Changing Career of a Spinal Neurosurgeon

List Price: $18.99

On a beautiful spring morning in 1989, neurosurgeon and spine expert Volker Sonntag was just finishing rounds at Saint Joseph’s Hospital in Phoenix, Arizona. At that same moment sixteen miles away, a hard-charging boy named TJ veered his bike into the path of a speeding pickup truck. The impact all but killed the boy, leaving him with a shattered leg, severe internal injuries, a massive blood clot near the brain stem, and—but for the fragile spinal cord—a complete separation of the skull from the spine.
This is the riveting story of how Dr. Sonntag’s pioneering innovation that day launched him into the forefront of the emerging field of spinal neurosurgery. Surgeon to a Who’s Who of royalty, celebrities and politicians, his clear-eyed accounts of failures and successes, hostile turf wars, media accusations of quackery, political challenges, and cutting-edge technical advances reveal to the reader just what it takes to be a game-changer in one of the world’s most harrowing professions.
Revered by patients, residents, and fellows for his highly personal approach to teaching and mentorship, and for his example of life balance, in this book Dr. Sonntag also shares stories of his youth as a German immigrant in Cold War America that lend insight into how, with humility, sacrifice, honesty, compassion, industry—and humor—an individual can overcome adversity and achieve the American Dream.

Product Details

  • Published on: 2017-05-02
  • Original language: English
  • Dimensions: 9.00″ h x .60″ w x 6.00″ l,
  • Binding: Paperback
  • 260 pages

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Volker K.H. Sonntag, MD, is vice-chairman emeritus at Barrow Brain and Spine. A world-renowned spinal neurosurgeon, he has been widely acclaimed for his pioneering contributions to the treatment and understanding of spinal disorders and is now a sought after speaker and consultant. He lives in Phoenix, Arizona.

International Stereotactic Radiosurgery Society

Dear Colleagues,
Our new Webinar Programme continues to bring you fortnightly webinars from expert speakers from around the world. The list of webinars is being added to all the time, so please check on our new website ( for updates to this exciting new initiative. Members of the ISRS will be able to access recordings of previous webinars at the same webpage.
Best regards,
Ian Paddick
Consultant Physicist
Vice-President of the ISRS
Upcoming webinars

Radiosurgery for Trigeminal Neuralgia by Alessandra GORGULHO
1:00 pm (Dublin, Edinburgh, Lisbon, London) – 2:00 pm CET (Amsterdam, Berlin, Bern, Paris, Rome, Stockholm, Vienna) – 8:00 am (Eastern time – New York, Canada) – 9:00 am (Brasilia) – 9:00 pm (Tokyo) – 5:00 am (Pacific time – Los Angeles) – 10:00pm (Brisbane)

Radiosurgery for Trigeminal Neuralgia (TN) was the birth of radiosurgery. The popularization of this technique was only possible upon improvement of imaging techniques, which allowed proper targeting of the trigeminal pathway. Radiosurgery is a very attractive surgical modality, especially to the elderly. Radiosurgery centers offering Functional Radiosurgery need to be aware of extra scrutiny during protocol implementation and treatment execution. This webinar will place radiosurgery in the context of other surgical modalities options for TN, discuss indications, results, complications and nuances of different radiosurgery protocols, including frameless.

International Stereotactic Radiosurgery Society –


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