Dr. U. Kumar Kakarla

Specialty: Spinal Surgery

Subspecialties: Adult and pediatric spinal deformities, adult and pediatric scoliosis, degenerative spine disease, spinal stenosis, herniated disks, spinal tumors, spinal fractures

Medical School:
Indiana University, Indianapolis, IN

Good Samaritan Hospital, Phoenix, AZ

Barrow Neurological Institute, Phoenix, AZ

Complex Spinal Surgery - Barrow Neurological Institute, Phoenix, AZ

Spinal Trauma - Barrow Neurological Institute, Phoenix, AZ

Pediatric and Adult Spinal Deformity - Miami Children’s Hospital, Miami, FL

As a youngster in India, Dr. Kumar Kakarla thought he’d be an engineer like his father, and even entered Architecture School in pursuit of that ambition. Before his engineering education began, however, he learned that an uncle living in the US had secured visas for his family, and they moved to Las Vegas in 1991. He enrolled at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, then transferred to George Washington University, where he graduated with a Bachelors Degree in Chemistry.

Focusing on helping the family financially following his graduation, Dr. Kakarla spent a year working at the Naval Research Labs in Washington, DC, and two years at Eli Lilly and Company as a chemist. Thanks to the influence of family friends and a question posed to him by ­– of all things! – a television show he saw in childhood (“When you are 70 and look back at your life, will you feel you have done enough to help others and make something of yourself?”), he realized that the one way he could achieve both of these goals was to become a physician.

He developed a passion for human anatomy, especially neuroanatomy, because it was objective and offered him the opportunity to work with his hands. He liked the challenge of diagnosing a neurological problem, then being able to offer a solution to that problem. Neurosurgery – the most logical science in medicine – was a perfect fit.

According to Dr. Kakarla, “I am especially interested in spinal surgery and want to offer patients comprehensive spinal care. BNA’s focus on surgical and non-surgical treatments for spinal disorders is exactly the kind of multi-disciplinary approach I believe best meets the needs of patients. It’s one of the reasons I decided to join BNA.”

Over time, Dr. Kakarla wants to focus his practice on the treatment of Pediatric Spinal Deformity, particularly scoliosis. He enjoys helping children, and his goal is to establish BNA as the leading center for the treatment of scoliosis in the country.

Dr. Kakarla credits his family, and the sacrifices they made to settle in America, with his current success. “The mentors in my life set a great example for me in the way they helped others and strived for excellence in all they did. I plan to follow that example by doing all I can in my field to provide excellent care to my patients who trust me with their health. In this way, I can be confident that – when I’m 70 and look back on my life – I will feel that I have done enough to help others and made something of myself!”
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