Dr. William Bookwalter – Neurosurgeon



Dr. Bookwalter has performed the most outpatient procedures of any spine surgeon in the Pittsburgh area.

Dr. William Bookwalter is the principle surgeon and founder of Pittsburgh Spines. His is board certified in Neurological Surgery from the American Board of Neurological Surgery. Based on research that began in 1990, Dr. Bookwalter published the largest series of ambulatory spine procedures in world literature in 1994. With over 30 years of experience his professional resume is distinguished and well recognized across the globe. His skills allow utilization of the absolute latest techniques and the use of cutting edge medical equipment to maximize mobility and minimize recovery time. At Pittsburgh Spines the accolades we care most about are from our patients themselves:

“Dr. Bookwalter performed a double hemi laminectomy discotomy and I had great results. No problems for 5 years but recently I was getting back pain in the same area. His staff got me in right away and ordered an MRI. After reviewing the results I was prescribed a care plan. Excellent.”

This physician was willing to listen to my questions and concerns and address them. It was obvious he had exceptional knowledge in his area, and I trusted his advice/decision-making process. I plan to stay with him for my particular health problem in the future.

Pittsburgh Spines is Dr. Bookwalter’s dream of a practice where patients can spend ample time with their doctor, have all their questions answered, and be treated with dignity and respect at every single interaction.


Sometimes Motion Cannot Be Preserved…

The mission of Pittsburgh Spines is to promote motion preservation. We specialize in outpatient procedures that maximize movement and minimize recovery time. However, there are occasions when a patient has significant instability in the lumbar spine.In these situations, I have found that minimally invasive procedures may not be optimal. While I’m often able to buy patients 6 to 18 months of leg symptom relief, the bone removal required to decompress the nerve roots may render the spine more unstable. When this is the case, fusion is almost always the most appropriate option. Over the last 15 years, I have routinely worked with a spine-trained orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Jon Levy. We have a very good working relationship and studies support that the combination of a neurosurgeon and spine trained orthopedic surgeon results in better outcomes and fewer complications. I am best able to make the decision regarding the appropriateness of fusion based on the clinical presentation of the patient and the radiographic studies. It has always been my policy over the years to make the recommendation to patients of what I feel to be the most appropriate procedure at their time of presentation.

  • Artificial Disc Replacement

    Artificial Disc Replacement

    An artificial cervical disc is a device inserted between two vertebrae in the neck to replace a damaged disc. It is best used for patients who are suffering from a herniated disc without much narrowing of the spine.

    Learn how you can begin to recover from an artificial disk replacement in less than 4 hours with Dr. Bookwalter.

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  • Cervical Fusion

    Cervical Fusion

    Though motion preservation is very important, there are times when cervical fusion is appropriate. One example is a during Laminectomy which removes a section of bone from the rear of one or more vertebrae to relieve the painful and disabling pressure of stenosis.

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  • Lumbar Microdiscectomy

    Lumbar Microdiscectomy

    A herniated disc is a common injury that can affect any part of the spine. A herniated disc can cause severe pain and other problems in the arms or legs.

    Discectomy is surgery to remove lumbar (low back) herniated disc material that is pressing on a nerve root or the spinal cord . It tends to be done as microdiscectomy, which uses a special microscope to view the disc and nerves.

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  • Minimally Invasive Lumbar Decompression

    Minimally Invasive Lumbar Decompression

    Spinal stenosis is a narrowing of the open spaces within your spine. To the right you can see a healthy spine with lots of room for the spinal cord. When that room is filled in by calcium buildup and other factors the space around the spinal cord begins to close up. The buildup begins to put pressure on your spinal cord and the nerves that travel through the spine to your arms and legs. Spinal stenosis occurs most often in the lower back and the neck. Pain, tingling, numbness, muscle weakness, and problems with normal bladder or bowel function are all signs of Spinal Stenosis.

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  • Posterior Cervical Foraminotomy

    Posterior Cervical Foraminotomy

    This surgery removes bone and/or portions of a herniated or diseased disc to relieve neck and radiating arm pain caused by parts of the disc pressing on nerve roots.

    I am unique in using the lateral position for these procedures. This allows accurate localization and diminished soft tissue dissection. Generally this helps reduce the amount of postoperative discomfort patients experience.

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