How one orthopedic surgeon became one of the richest men in the world


At the stroke of midnight on Jan. 1, Forbes updated its annual list of the richest people in the world, which features 34 U.S. healthcare billionaires in 2024, including retired orthopedic and spinal surgeon Gary Michelson, MD. 

Dr. Michelson currently has a net worth of $1.8 billion, making him the 1,690th richest person in the world and the 18th richest U.S. healthcare billionaire. He is also the fifth richest person in the U.S. with a medical degree. 

Dr. Michelson currently holds over 340 U.S. patents for orthopedic and spinal surgery instruments. 

He first became a billionaire in 2005 when he reached a $1.35 billion settlement with medical device company Medtronic. 

Following medical school, Dr. Michelson entered private practice in California specializing in spinal surgery. He continued to practice as a surgeon for 25 years. 

Dr. Michelson'spatents, which include both surgical and nonsurgical devices, include the CD Horizon fenestrated screw set, the Divergence-L interbody fusion device and the Zevo anterior cervical plate system. 

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