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My primary areas of research interest parallel my primary areas of patient care interest.  Most prominent among my research interests is Spinal Oncology.  I find primary and metastatic spine tumors to be a challenging clinical problem with complex and varied clinical solutions that require a mastery of multiple different treatment modalities.  These can range from the simplest percutaneous outpatient procedures such as radiofrequency ablation or kyphoplasty to incredibly complex, several stage, multiple day en-bloc resections of primary tumors with spine reconstruction.  In addition to this primary research focus, I have tremendous interest in brain tumor surgery and the care of patients with brain tumors.  These interests in complex brain and spine tumor care result in the need to innovate and develop novel surgical techniques to tackle the challenging problems that my patients present with.  I love to share the details of these novel surgical techniques with my colleagues through scholarly publications, in case they may be of benefit to another patient somewhere else in the world. 


Following these three main areas of research interest, a large part of my practice involves minimally invasive spine surgery.  I am a true believer in the benefits of minimally invasive spine surgery because of the superior outcomes I have seen in my patients with the use of these techniques.  Therefore, I pursue research in this area of neurosurgery.  One of my passions is improving patient safety, and this is also an area of interest for me.


No one becomes a neurosurgeon if they are not drawn by the desire to care for trauma patients, and the opportunity to intervene in these critical life and death situations.  Although not a primary area of research interest for me, I have published in the area of brain and spine trauma when a particular topic has piqued my interest or I believe I have developed a new and better way to treat a problem.


Although I prefer clinical research to laboratory research, I am very fortunate to have had the opportunity to participate in all three major categories of laboratory research within the realm of neurosurgery.  I have participated in biomechanical research, animal research, and cadaveric dissection-based anatomic research.  Currently I am beginning a bench research project with a neurosurgical colleague in partnership with one of our microbiologists at OUWB-SOM.

In the following pages I highlight my scholarship achievements in each of these categories.  I also briefly discuss any on-going research in these areas.  Some of the articles may appear in more than one category if they apply to more than one category.



I have been honored over the hears to have had four of my publications featured on the cover of our highest impact journal in the field of neurosurgery, which is called Journal of Neurosurgery.  I was either the first author or the senior author on all four of these research publications.  The four articles that have been featured on the cover are as follows:


Fahim DK, Relyea K, Nayar VV, Fox BD, Whitehead WE, Curry DJ, Luerssen TG, Jea A. Transtubular microendoscopic approach for resection of a choroidal arteriovenous malformation. Journal of neurosurgery. Pediatrics. 02/2009; 3(2): 101-4. 19278307


Fahim DK, Kim SD, Cho D, Lee S, Kim DH. Avoiding abdominal flank bulge after anterolateral approaches to the thoracolumbar spine: cadaveric study and electrophysiological investigation. Journal of neurosurgery. Spine. 11/2011; 15(5): 532-40. 21819186


Fahim DK, Tatsui CE, Suki D, Gumin J, Lang FF, Rhines LD. Orthotopic murine model of a primary malignant bone tumor in the spine: functional, bioluminescence, and histological correlations. Journal of neurosurgery. Spine. 09/2014; 21(3): 378-85. 24971476


Sandquist L, Paris A, Fahim DK. Definitive single-stage posterior surgical correction of complete traumatic spondyloptosis at the thoracolumbar junction. Journal of neurosurgery. Spine. 06/2015; 22(6): 653-7. 25793470




I have thoroughly enjoyed the fifty research projects that I have participated in over the past quarter of a century.  Research allows us to ask a question, challenge the status quo, advance our knowledge, and improve the care and outcomes of our patients. I particularly enjoying collaborating with colleagues on research projects as we always bring different perspectives to the question at hand.