50 spine surgeons to know

Spine Leaders

Here are 50 spine surgeons to know:

Note: This is not an exhaustive list. Surgeons are listed in alphabetical order. To nominate a surgeon for future lists, please contact Carly Behm at cbehm@beckershealthcare.com.

Michele Aizenberg, MD. University of Nebraska Medical Center (Omaha). Dr. Aizenberg has special interest in primary and metastatic spine and brain tumors. She's director of the Brain and Spine Cancer Center at the Nebraska Medical Center.

Robert Banco, MD. Boston Spine Care Group. Dr. Banco has been honored as a top doctor by Boston Magazine since 2018. He's an associate clinical professor at Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston.

Stephen Banco, MD. Keystone Spine and Pain Management Center (Wyomissing, Pa.). Dr. Banco is an orthopedic spine surgeon and is on the editorial review board for Clinical Spine Surgery. He recently authored two chapters in The Spine and published research in The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Spine and Current Opinion in Orthopaedics.

Shawn Belverud, DO. Naval Medical Center San Diego. Dr. Belverud is a neurosurgeon and U.S. Navy commander. He debuted the facility's first spine surgery with a 3D surgical microscope in December.

Erica Bisson, MD. University of Utah Health Care (Salt Lake City). Dr. Bisson specializes in complex cervical spine surgery, spine trauma and degenerative disorders. She has published more than 100 peer-reviewed articles.

Mark Burnett, MD. NeuroTexas Brain and Spinal Surgery (Austin). Dr. Burnett specializes in complex and minimally invasive spine surgery, sports medicine and peripheral nerve surgery. He's received multiple research grants for his work in neurophysiology and the development of noninvasive blood flow monitors for patients. He's authored more than 30 peer-reviewed manuscripts and several book chapters.

Thomas Cartwright, MD. KSF Orthopedic Center (Houston). Dr. Cartwright specializes in treating spine problems that come from trauma or degenerative disease. His interest in medicine was sparked when he had a job as a teenager restocking anesthesia carts at Houston Northwest Medical Center.

Samuel Cho, MD. Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai (New York City). Dr. Cho is a specialist in minimally invasive spine surgery and complex reconstruction of spinal deformities. He was recently tapped to lead Mount Sinai's upcoming spine center.

John Davis IV, MD. NewSouth NeuroSpine (Flowood, Miss.). Dr. Davis has more than 17 years of experience in neurosurgery and specializes in spinal problems. He was appointed to the Mississippi State Board of Health by Gov. Tate Reeves in May.

Steven DeLuca, DO. Orthopedic Institute of Pennsylvania (Camp Hill). Dr. DeLuca specializes in spine surgery, along with hip surgery. Patient Preferred Physicians and Practitioners, a society of highly referred providers, has named him a "patient preferred orthopedic surgeon" for the state in 2021.

Paul Detwiler, MD. Baylor Scott and White Texas Spine & Joint Hospital (Tyler). Dr. Detwiler is a neurosurgeon with a special interest in spine surgery. He received the Advocate of the Year Award from the Texas Healthcare Trustees in July.

Gregory Drake, DO. Core Orthopedics & Sports Medicine (Elk Grove Village and Hoffman Estates, Ill). Dr. Drake is dual fellowship trained in adult spine surgery and shoulder and elbow surgery. During his spine fellowship at Michigan Spine and Brain Surgeons in Southfield, he completed more than 350 procedures, and he specializes in minimally invasive treatments.

Andrew Fabiano, MD. Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center (Buffalo, N.Y.). Dr. Fabiano is the director of spinal oncology at Roswell Park. He recently completed the first surgery with Icotec’s carbon fiber thoracolumbar vertebral body replacement cage in New York.

Francis Farhadi, MD, PhD. Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center (Columbus). Dr. Farhadi specializes in minimally invasive treatments of spine and nerve conditions. His research focuses on developing and validating markers that can predict functional recovery after spinal cord injury.

James Farmer, MD. Hospital for Special Surgery (New York City). Dr. Farmer's clinical expertise includes spondylolisthesis, skeletal dysplasia, spine regeneration and spinal deformity surgery. He has an academic appointment with Bethesda, Md.-based Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences where he trains medical students who want to care for U.S. military service members.

Ben Garrido, MD. Lake Norman Medical Group (Mooresville, N.C.). Dr. Garrido is an orthopedic spine surgeon with an interest in minimally invasive and robot-assisted techniques. He's involved with the Cervical Spine Research Society, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and the North American Spine Society.

Ira Garonzik, MD. Baltimore Neurosurgery and Spine Center. Dr. Garonzik founded Baltimore Neurosurgery and Spine Center in 2005. He received his medical degree from Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta and completed his residency at The Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. 

Matt Hollenbeck, MD, Kansas Orthopaedic Center (Wichita). Dr. Hollenbeck specializes in pediatric spine surgery and scoliosis. In April, he performed Kansas' first successful vertebral body tethering procedure on a 14-year-old patient.

Patrick Hsieh, MD. Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California (Los Angeles). Dr. Hsieh directs the neurosurgery spine program at Keck. His research interests include spinal oncology, spinal deformity and minimally invasive surgery.

Russel Huang, MD. Hospital for Special Surgery (New York City). Dr. Huang is the director of HSS' spine surgery clinic. He's been named a Top Doctor by New York Magazine and Castle Connolly from 2014-20.

Heidi Hullinger, MD. New Jersey Spine Specialists (Summit). Dr. Hullinger has extensive experience in operative and nonoperative treatments of complex spine disorders. She's an active member of the North American Spine Society, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and the American Medical Association.

Deeptee Jain, MD. Barnes-Jewish Hospital (St. Louis). Dr. Jain was listed on NASS' SpineLine "20 Under 40" list. She's an assistant professor of orthopedic surgery and neurosurgery at St. Louis-based Washington University School of Medicine.

David Kaye, MD. Rothman Orthopaedic Institute (Philadelphia). Dr. Kaye's research interests include lumbar spinal fusion and neck surgery outcomes. He was named on SpineLine's "20 Under 40" list.

Nandan Lad, MD, PhD. Duke University Health (Durham, N.C.). Dr. Lad's research focuses on movement and pain disorders. He received his medical degree from Chicago Medical School-Rosalind Franklin University and completed residencies in neurosurgery and general surgery at Stanford (Calif.) University Medical Center.

Isador Lieberman, MD. Texas Back Institute (Plano). Dr. Lieberman is president of Texas Back Institute's scoliosis and spinal tumor program. He was recently named to Assure Holdings' medical advisory committee.

Elizabeth Lord, MD. University of California Los Angeles Health. Dr. Lord is an orthopedic spine surgeon, and her research interests include spinal deformities and innovation in spine surgery. She was named on the 2020 "20 Under 40" list from SpineLine, the primary publication of the North American Spine Society.

Thomas Loumeau, MD. Bone and Joint Institute of South Georgia (Jesup). Dr. Loumeau received his medical degree from Trinity College of Medicine in Ireland and completed his residency at the University of Illinois College of Medicine in Peoria. He was recently published in the European Journal of Spine Surgery and did volunteer work in Haiti.

Alan Moelleken, MD. The Spine and Orthopedic Center (Santa Barbara, Calif.). Dr. Moelleken has been the chair of Tri-County Spine and Orthopedic Conference for the past 25 years. He's also an adjunct professor at Pacific Northwest University of Health Sciences in Yakima, Wash.

Robert Molinari, MD. University of Rochester (N.Y.) Medical Center. Dr. Molinari is internationally recognized as an expert in complex spine surgery. He's authored eight book chapters and more than 60 articles in the field. He's a veteran and served in the United States Armed Forces as a regional expert for treating complex spine disorders. Dr. Molinari still has a military teaching appointment at Bethesda, Md.-based Armed Forces Medical School.

Kenneth Nwosu, MD. Surgeon in Puyallup, Wash. Dr. Nwosu became the first surgeon to use the Excelsius GPS spine robot at Francis Hospital in Federal Way, Wash., in 2020. His practice specializes in treating neck and lower back pain.

Chima Ohaegbulam, MD. New England Baptist Hospital (Boston). Dr. Ohaegbulam was appointed chief of spine surgery at New England Baptist Hospital April 1. His specialties include minimally invasive and robotic spine surgery.

Charles Park, MD, PhD. Minimally Invasive Brain and Spine Center (Baltimore). Dr. Park is director of the Minimally Invasive Brain and Spine Center, part of Mercy Medical Center. He recently started using Spineology's OptiLIF procedure to treat lower back and leg pain.

Naresh Patel, MD. Mayo Clinic (Phoenix). Dr. Patel is a spine and neurosurgeon with interests including spinal cord and nerve root decompression, spinal reconstruction and brain tumors. He has received multiple awards including the Patient's Choice Award and America's Best Physicians Award.

Emily Putney, DO. Coastal Orthopaedic & Sports Medicine Center (Port St. Lucie, Fla.). Dr. Putney received her medical degree at the New York College of Osteopathic Medicine of New York Institute of Technology and completed her residency at Broward Health Medical Center in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. She specializes in a variety of spine conditions from cervical and lumbar stenosis to scoliosis and disc herniation.

Kris Radcliff, MD. Rothman Orthopaedic Institute (Philadelphia). Dr. Radcliff has offices at three of Rothman's New Jersey locations. He's received the best paper award from the Cervical Spine Research Society for a study comparing cervical disc replacement and fusion.

John Rhee, MD. Emory Healthcare (Atlanta). Dr. Rhee specializes in cervical spine surgery, lumbar spine surgery, spinal deformity and spinal tumors. He was named among "Top 28 spine surgeons in North America" by Orthopaedics This Week in 2013.

David Rogers, MD. Dignity Health Glendale (Calif.) Memorial Hospital and Health Center. Dr. Rogers has been a staff member at Glendale Memorial Hospital since 2001 and has a private practice, The Rogers Spine Surgery Institute in Glendale. He was recently named chief of staff at Glendale Memorial Hospital and Health Center.

Chanland Roonprapunt, MD, PhD. Mount Sinai Hospital. (New York City). Dr. Roonprapunt is a board-certified neurosurgeon, and his special interests include spinal conditions and syringomyelia. His research focuses on the spine, and he works with the department of orthopedics on methods to improve the placement of spinal instrumentation while correcting deformities. Dr. Roonprapunt was recognized by the American Registry with the Patient's Choice Award and Compassionate Doctor Award from 2010 through 2013 and was named a Top Doctor of New York in Neurological Surgery by Castle and Connolly.

Robert Ryu, MD. Orthopedic One (Columbus, Ohio). Dr. Ryu served as a medical officer and F-16 flight surgeon in the United State Air Force and the Ohio Air National Guard. His training includes minimally invasive surgery, cervical and lumbar disc arthroplasty, and robotic-assisted spine surgery.

Nelson Saldua, MD. Vancouver (Wash.) Clinic. Dr. Saldua served in the Navy for 14 years, and his duties included general medical officer and orthopedic surgery department head of the NATO Multinational Medical Unit in Kandahar, Afghanistan. He completed his medical degree at Bethesda, Md.-based Uniformed Services University. 

Neel P. Shah, MD. DISC Sports and Spine Center (Newport Beach, Calif.). Dr. Shah specializes in minimally invasive and microscopic surgery. He joined DISC Sports and Spine Center with his wife, Puja Shah, MD, in November.

Andrew Shaw, MD. Lyerly Neurosurgery (Jacksonville, Fla.). Dr. Shaw is a neurosurgeon who specializes in complex spine surgery, spinal oncology and spinal tumors. He was recently appointed to the Florida State College at Jacksonville district board of trustees.

Adam Shimer, MD. University of Virginia Health System (Charlottesville). Dr. Shimer's specialties include treating complex and revision cervical spine conditions and adult spinal deformity. He's also an associate professor of orthopedic surgery at UVA and is medical director for the orthopedic surgery inpatient unit. His research areas include genetic and cellular treatment of degenerative disc disease.

Nima Salari, MD. Desert Institute for Spine Care (Phoenix). Dr. Salari was reportedly the first spine surgeon to implant Amplify Surgical's 12-degree hyperlordotic DualX interbody cage. His specialties include pathologic conditions of the spine and minimally invasive surgery.

Charles Sansur, MD. University of Maryland School of Medicine (Baltimore). Dr. Sansur has experience with spinal deformities, degenerative disease, spinal oncology and trauma. He received the Baltimore Veterans Hospital Gold Pin Award for excellence in clinical care in 2010.

John Spitalieri, DO. Arizona Neurosurgery & Spine Center (Prescott). Dr. Spitalieri is a neurosurgeon who specializes in spine procedures including decompression, minimally invasive spine surgery, artificial disc replacement and percutaneous treatments. He opened Arizona Neurosurgery & Spine Clinic after practicing at Fayetteville-based North Carolina Neurosurgery.

Peter Syre, MD. Heart of the Rockies Regional Medical Center (Salida, Colo.). Dr. Syre has a special interest in scoliosis, spinal trauma and tumors. He is leading a new spine program at Heart of the Rockies Regional Medical Center.

Ruben Torrealba, MD. Spine & Scoliosis Specialists (Greensboro, N.C.). Dr. Torrealba joined Spine & Scoliosis Specialists in November 2013, and he works closely with Spanish-speaking patients so they understand their treatments. He completed his residency at the University of Puerto Rico School of Medicine where he was the 2012 Resident of the Year.

Arya Varthi, MD. Yale School of Medicine (New Haven, Conn.). Dr. Varthi is an assistant professor who specializes in minimally invasive and open spine surgery. He directs the spine surgery fellowship at Yale and has contributed to leading spine surgery textbooks.

Joseph Weinstein, DO. Comprehensive Orthopedic & Spine Care (New York City). Dr. Weinstein is a medical director and his expertise includes minimally invasive surgery. He was chief resident during his residency at Manhasset, N.Y.-based Northwell Health System.

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