Joseph Williams, M.D.

head shot of Dr. Joseph Williams
Head shot of Dr. Joseph Williams

Joseph Williams, M.D.



Dr. Joseph Williams is a Board Certified Orthopedic Surgeon that has completed a Spine Fellowship. Currently he is practicing in Reno, Nevada at Sierra Regional Spine Institute. He joined the Sierra Regional Spine Institute in August of 2021. Prior to this he was a partner at Orthopedic Center of Illinois from August of 2006 until July of 2021.

Dr. Williams specializes in Orthopedic Spine Surgery with a strong focus on minimally invasive surgical techniques.

He also performs a significant amount of general Orthopedic Surgery. This includes open reduction with internal fixation as well as elective general orthopedic surgeries of the hip, knee and upper extremities.

Dr. Williams has provided General Orthopedic Trauma coverage at the two Level I Trauma Centers in Springfield, Illinois area. These trauma centers cover the Central Illinois area. He provided this level of call coverage from August of 2006 until July of 2021.

Dr. Williams also provide Spine Trauma Coverage at these same two Level I Trauma Centers in Springfield, Illinois for the same dates.

He was a committee member of the Green Belt Project, Opiod Prescribing at Memorial Medical Center. Dr. Williams maintains a strong interest in working with the hospitals to limit use and need of opiod medications by means of patient education and improved surgical techniques.

For the last 14 years Dr. Williams has been a member of the Community Faculty for the Southern Illinois University Orthopedic Residency Program. His duties include training Residents both in and out of the operating room along with medical students and students from a variety of PA and NP programs.

Medical Licensure

Professional Memberships

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Bachelors of Science, Microbiology

1992 – 1996
University of Nevada, Reno

Doctor of Medicine

1996 – 2000
University of Nevada School of Medicine
Served as Vice President of the class of 2000

Orthopedic Residency

2000 – 2005
Southern Illinois University Orthopedic Department

Spine Surgery Fellowship

2005 – 2006
Ortho Indy Spine Fellowship

Honors & Awards


Sierra Regional Spine Institute

Orthopedic Spine Surgeon
2021 – Present

Orthopedic Center of Illinois

Orthopedic Surgeon and Partner August 2006 to 2021


Complex Surgical Patient Care Conference
Optimizing Elective Orthopedic Patients
Minimally Invasive Spine Surgical Techniques


Toth JM, Schwartz DG, Mobasser JP, Williams JL:
Instrumented Lumbar Corpectomy and Spinal Reconstruction Comparing rhBMP-2/Compression Resistant Matrix, rhBMP-2/Absorbable Collagen Sponge/Ceramic Granules Mixture, and Autograft in Two Different Devices: A Study in Sheep.
Spine 41; 6: E313 – E322, 2016
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Artificial Disc Replacement

At Sierra Regional Spine Institute, we believe that the future is restoration of anatomy and function through motion. The artificial disc replacement is the answer to that problem. Sierra Regional Spine Institute continues to be a leader in Nevada when disc replacement surgery is needed.
It is a surgical procedure in which degenerated intervertebral discs in the spinal column are replaced with artificial disc implants in the lumbar or cervical spine.

The procedure is used to treat chronic, severe low back pain and cervical pain resulting from degenerative disc disease.

Artificial disc replacement has been developed as an alternative to spinal fusion, with the goal of pain reduction or elimination, while still allowing motion throughout the spine. Another possible benefit is the prevention of premature breakdown in adjacent levels of the spine, a potential risk in fusion surgeries.

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Revision Spine Surgery

Revision spine surgery is a surgery procedure performed in certain patients to correct the problems of earlier spine surgery. Revision surgery is only when working with patients who experience chronic pain or any worsening symptoms even after the initial surgery.
Other factors that can indicate the need for revision spine surgery include:

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At Sierra Regional Spine Institute we use Decompression in a few ways to treat and make the process of recovery smoother for people with fractures: Microdiscectomy, Microendoscopic Laminectomy, Minimally Invasive Cervical Foraminotomy (MICF), Vertebroplasty and Kyphoplasty.


Microdiscectomy, also called microlumbar discectomy (MLD), is a very common MIS decompression procedure performed in patients with a symptomatic lumbar herniated disc. The operation consists of removing the portion of the intervertebral disc that is herniated and compressing a spinal nerve root.

Minimally Invasive Cervical Foraminotomy

This is a MIS cervical foraminotomy decompression procedure that enlarges the space in which a spinal nerve root exits the cervical spinal canal (intervertebral foramen). This narrowing can be caused by a herniated disc, bone spurs, thickened ligaments or joints, which may result in pinched nerves.


Vertebroplasty for the treatment of vertebral compression fractures (VCFs) was introduced in the United States in the early 1990s. The procedure is usually done on an outpatient basis, although some patients stay in the hospital overnight. The procedure may be performed with a local anesthetic and intravenous sedation or general anesthesia.

Using x-ray guidance, a small needle containing specially formulated acrylic bone cement is injected into the collapsed vertebra. The cement hardens within minutes, strengthening and stabilizing the fractured vertebra. Most experts believe that pain relief is achieved through mechanical support and stability provided by the bone cement.
Kyphoplasty involves an added procedure performed before the cement is injected into the vertebra. First, two small incisions are made and a probe is placed into the vertebral space where the fracture is located.

The bone is drilled and one balloon (called a bone tamp) is inserted on each side. The two balloons are then inflated with contrast medium (which are visualized using image guidance x-rays) until they expand to the desired height and removed. The spaces created by the balloons are then filled with the cement. Kyphoplasty has the added benefit of restoring height to the spine.

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Cervical Fusion

Cervical Fusion is an operation that creates a solid union between two or more vertebrae in the upper spine (neck) area. This procedure may assist in strengthening and stabilizing the spine and may thereby help to alleviate severe and chronic back pain.
The best clinical results are generally achieved in single-level fusion, although fusion at two levels may be performed in properly selected patients.

Bone grafts may be taken from the hip or from another bone in the same patient (autograft) or from a bone bank (allograft). Bone graft extenders and bone morphogenetic proteins (hormones that cause bone to grow inside the body) can also be used to reduce or eliminate the need for bone grafts.

Fusion sometimes involves the use of supplemental hardware (instrumentation) such as plates, screws, and cages. This fusing of the bone graft with the bones of the spine will provide a permanent union between those bones. Once that occurs, the hardware is no longer needed, but most patients prefer to leave the hardware in place rather than go through another surgery to remove it.

Fusion can sometimes be performed via smaller incisions through MIS techniques. The use of advanced fluoroscopy and endoscopy has improved the accuracy of incisions and hardware placement, minimizing tissue trauma while enabling an MIS approach.

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Lumbar Fusion

This is a MIS technique that is performed in patients with refractory mechanical low back and radicular pain associated with spondylolisthesis, degenerative disc disease, and recurrent disc herniation. The procedure is performed from the back (posterior) with the patient on his or her stomach.

Using x-ray guidance, two 2.5-cm incisions are made on either side of the lower back. The muscles are gradually dilated and tubular retractors inserted to allow access to the affected area of the lumbar spine.

The lamina is removed to allow visualization of the nerve roots. The disc material is removed from the spine and replaced with a bone graft and structural support from a cage made of bone, titanium, carbon-fiber, or a polymer, followed by rod and screw placement.

The tubular retractors are removed, allowing the dilated muscles to come back together, and the incisions are closed. This procedure typically takes about 3 to 3 1/2 hours to perform.

Outcome & Benefits

Pioneers of both surgical and non-surgical techniques


Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery

MIS was first performed in the 80s but has recently seen rapid advances. Technological advances have enabled surgeons to expand patient selection and treat an array of spinal disorders, such as degenerative disc disease, herniated disc, fractures, tumors, infections, instability, and deformity.
This can result in quicker recovery, decreased operative blood loss, and speedier patient return to normal function. In some MIS approaches, also called, “keyhole surgeries,” surgeons use a tiny endoscope with a camera on the end, which is inserted through a small incision in the skin. The camera provides surgeons with an inside view, enabling surgical access to the affected area of the spine.

Benefits of Minimally Invasive Surgery

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