UTHSCSA Faculty Profiles v1.0

Chaput, Christopher Dennis

School of Medicine

Dr. Christopher D. Chaput is a second generation Texas spine surgeon. He was born in San Antonio when his father was in a military residency for neurosurgery. His father eventually went into private practice in Victoria, and Dr. Chaput grew up on a small ranch in the country near there.

Dr. Chaput graduated from Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas, then attended Baylor College of Medicine in Houston (it was at this time that he met his wife, another San Antonio native). He did residency in orthopedic surgery at Scott & White Hospital/Texas A&M HSC. After completing a fellowship in spinal reconstructive surgery in Baltimore, he was recruited back to Scott & White to help grow the spine division and create a center for orthopedic research that would introduce orthopedic residents to the research process and help to create advances in implant fixation, bone healing, and clinical outcomes.

During his time there he participated in trials that examined the effectiveness of cervical disk replacement, bone morphogenetic proteins and the use of native stem cells to improve fusion. He worked extensively with the stem cell researchers at Texas A&M to develop carriers that help stem cells heal bone in the spine faster and more reliably. He has also helped to design implants in the cervical spine that make fixation stronger and easier to achieve. In the lumbar spine, minimally invasive techniques have allowed surgeons to decrease the soft tissue destruction inherent to traditional open spine surgery. However, these techniques often have a long learning curve and require more radiation exposure from a high dependency on intraoperative imaging. Dr. Chaput recently designed a system that enables surgeons to use minimally invasive techniques that is much less subject to those limitations and could help more surgeons safely incorporate less invasive techniques into their practice.

Since 2004, Dr. Chaput has been very involved in advances in treating a rare but devastating spine injury known as internal decapitation (atlanto-occipital dislocation). While at Scott & White, he was one of the first to document a high survival rate in these injuries if they are caught early and neurologic function is preserved. Because these ligamentous injuries can be hard to detect, he helped researchers at Baylor University develop methods that use machine learning (popularly referred to as artificial intelligence or AI) to automatically detect this spinal injury.

Dr. Chaput has extensive experience in minimally invasive and complex reconstructive techniques for the entire spine. He has a special emphasis on cervical spine (neck) issues including myelopathy, trauma and cervical deformity. His treatment goals for his patients are to avoid surgery if possible, do the smallest surgery that will reliably improve a person?s quality of life, and to treat every patient in the same manner he would want a family member treated.

1/2018 - Present Associate Professor / Clinical The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, Orthopaedics, San Antonio, TX