Kirk M. Thompson, M.D.

Kirk M. Thompson, M.D.

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Spine Surgery


Joined Staff

June 2020


Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, 2010, Magna Cum Laude

Med School: Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, 2014, AOA Honors

Residency: UT-Campbell Clinic, Chief Resident 2018-2019

Other Information


Spine Fellow, OrthoCarolina – Department of Orthopedic Spine Surgery,

Board of Certification: American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery

Orthopaedic Surgery Board Certified



Dr. Kirk M. Thompson is a fellowship-trained spine surgeon with clinical experience in the comprehensive treatment of spinal disorders. He has clinical interests in minimally-invasive techniques, motion-preserving (non-fusion) surgery, adult deformity, and revision surgery.


Dr. Thompson is engaged in teaching and actively involved in research on spinal disorders, patient outcomes, and complication avoidance. He has authored numerous publications and presented research at national symposiums. He believes that a commitment to research and life-long learning leads to improved patient care and outcomes.


Dr. Thompson uses shared decision-making to create patient-specific treatment plans to achieve the best result for each individual patient. Many patients with spinal disorders do not need surgery and a combination of injections, medications, and lifestyle modifications can often be used to effectively manage these conditions. If spinal surgery is needed, Dr. Thompson uses a personalized approach to create a surgical plan tailored to the needs and preferences of each individual patient.


Professional Societies and Academic Interests:

  • University of Tennessee – Instructor
  • Global Spine Journal – Reviewer
  • North American Spine Society
  • American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
  • Tennessee Medical Association

Clinical Interests:

  • Adult degenerative scoliosis and deformity surgery
  • Anterior lumbar interbody fusion
  • Cervical disc arthroplasty and motion preserving techniques
  • Cervical laminoplasty
  • Cervical myelopathy
  • Compression fractures
  • Disc degeneration
  • Kyphoplasty
  • Kyphosis
  • Lumbar decompression
  • Lateral approaches to the lumbar spine
  • Lumbar disorders
  • Microdiscectomy
  • Minimally-invasive spine surgery
  • Motion-sparing surgery
  • Neck pain
  • Non-fusion surgeries
  • Osteomyelitis
  • Radiculopathy
  • Sciatica
  • Spinal implants and biomechanics
  • Spinal stenosis
  • Spinal surgery
  • Spinal trauma
  • Spinal tumors
  • Spondylolisthesis
  • Thoracic disc herniation
  • Thoracic fusion
  • Vertebral fractures


Spine Homework

I encourage my patients to play an active role in their spine care. Linked below are educational articles about spine anatomy, conditions, and treatments from the North American Spine Society (NASS), Scoliosis Research Society (SRS), and the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS). Increased understanding of one’s own health can lead to better outcomes! 


Anatomy of the Spine & Spine Health

Spine Basics

Low Back Basics 

Disc Herniation

Keeping Your Back Healthy


Osteoporosis & Spine Fractures


Neck Problems

Pinched Nerve (Cervical Radiculopathy)

Neck Arthritis (Cervical Spondylosis)

Spinal Cord Compression (Myelopathy)


Back Problems

Slipped Vertebrae (Spondylolisthesis)

Back Pain in Children

Cauda Equina

Lumbar Herniated Disc (Disc Bulge)

Lumbar Herniated Disc Video

Lumbar Stenosis (Pressure on Nerves)

Pars Fracture (Spondylolysis)


Treatments & Surgeries

Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion (ALIF)

Bone Grafts in Spine Surgery

Cervical Radiculopathy Treatment Options

Cervical Myelopathy Treatment Options

Lateral Lumbar Interbody Fusion (XLIF)

Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery

Transforaminal Interbody Fusion (TLIF)

Posterolateral Lumbar Fusion

Preparing for Back Surgery

Spinal Fusion

Words Used During Spine Surgery

Spine Conditioning Program


Lumbar Laminectomy



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