50 spine surgeons to know


From leaders to surgical tech pioneers, here are 50 spine surgeons to know:

Editor's Note: This is not a list of top surgeons, rather a list highlighting professional accomplishments. Becker's does not endorse any surgeons featured on this list. To nominate a surgeon for future lists, please contact Carly Behm at cbehm@beckershealthcare.com. 

Hamid Abbassi, MD. Inspired Spine (Burnsville, Minn.). Dr. Abbassi is chief medical officer at Inspired Spine. He performed a spinal fusion with the oblique lateral lumbar interbody fusion technique for a 500-pound patient in June.

Jessica Aidlen, MD. Newton Wellesley Hospital (Boston). Dr. Aidlen has worked at Newton Wellesley Hospital since 2013. She is a recognized leader and role model for women in medicine, and she teaches orthopedic and spine surgeon residents, according to a 2018 profile by Raising Nerd.

Dheera Ananthakrishnan, MD. Emory Orthopaedics & Spine Center (Atlanta). Dr. Ananthakrishnan joined Emory Healthcare in 2007 and specializes in complex spinal deformity surgery. She co-founded Orthopaedic Link, a nonprofit dedicated to improving orthopedic care in developing countries.

Carmina Angeles, MD, PhD. Neurosurgeon in Eugene, Ore. Dr. Angeles specializes in minimally invasive spine surgery and complex spinal decompression. She is also trained in cervical disc arthroplasty.

Kaku Barkoh, MD. Orthopaedic Associates (Kingwood, Texas). Dr. Barokh is a minimally invasive spine specialist. He was featured on the "20 Under 40" list by the North American Spine Society for 2021.

Douglas Blaty, DO. Northwest Specialty Hospital (Post Falls, Idaho). Dr. Blaty became interested in spine surgery and anatomy as a youth athlete. During his residency at Twin Cities Spine Center in Minneapolis, he led research on lateral-access lumbar spine fusions. 

Greg Bonnen, MD. Houston Physicians' Hospital. Dr. Bonnen is a spinal neurosurgeon and state senator. He wrote a bill that allows some physicians to bypass prior authorization work.

Arianne Boylan, MD. Hartford (Conn.) Healthcare. Dr. Boylan became the first female neurosurgeon to join Hartford Healthcare when she joined the system's Spine Wellness Center in Westport, Conn. She also works as the director of neurotrauma at St. Vincent's Medical Center in Bridgeport, Conn. 

Evalina Burger-Van der Walt, MD. University of Colorado Medicine (Aurora). Dr. Burger-Van der Walt treats adult patients and has a special interest in complex spine surgery, deformity and scoliosis. She also spends time as a mentor for orthopedic residents and spine fellows. 

Frank Cammisa Jr., MD. Hospital for Special Surgery (New York City). Dr. Cammisa is an attending surgeon at HSS and an orthopedic professor at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City. He received multiple research grants, including $21 million to study surgical versus nonsurgical approaches to herniated discs, spinal stenosis and degenerative spondylolisthesis.

Gurvinder Deol, MD. Wake Orthopaedics (Raleigh, N.C.). Dr. Deol received his medical degree from the University of North Carolina Medical School in Chapel Hill and completed his residency at Penn State College of Medicine in Hershey. He often trains surgeons in advanced spine surgery techniques.

Sonia Eden, MD. Detroit Medical Center. Dr. Eden was appointed head of adult neurosurgery at Detroit Medical Center in April. She's the first Black woman to hold the role and the second to lead a U.S. hospital neurosurgery program.

Jesse Even, MD. TMI Sports Medicine & Orthopedic Surgery (Arlington, Texas). Dr. Even specializes in degenerative, traumatic, sports-related and oncologic spine disorders. He's a prolific researcher and was inducted into the Cervical Spine Research Society in 2016.

Scott Falci, MD. Falci Institute for Spinal Cord Injuries (Englewood, Colo.). Dr. Falci has more than 29 years of experience treating spinal cord injuries. He launched the Falci Institute for Spinal Cord Injuries in October.

Elvis Francois, MD. Resurgens Orthopaedics (Atlanta). Dr. Francois' areas of expertise are in adult reconstructive spine surgery, minimally invasive surgery and total disc arthroplasty. He was featured on The Masked Singer in 2020.

Michael Groff, MD. Brigham and Women's Hospital (Boston). Dr. Groff leads the spinal neurosurgery department as vice chair and director. His research interests include spinal biomechanics and health services research.

Saqib Hasan, MD. Webster Orthopedics (Oakland, Calif.). Dr. Hasan is the first fellowship-trained full-endoscopic spine surgeon in the U.S. He has written more than 50 peer-reviewed publications, abstracts and textbooks.

Christine Hammer, MD. Virginia Mason Franciscan Health (Tacoma, Wash.). Dr. Hammer specializes in adult spinal neurosurgery. She's a member of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, Congress of Neurological Surgeons and Council of State Neurological Societies.

Daniel Hanson, MD. Minnesota Spine Institute (Roseville). Dr. Hanson is the only surgeon in Minnesota who specializes in endoscopic spine surgery, a spokesperson said in an email to Becker's. He's a member of the Norwegian American Orthopedic Society.

Peter Hollis, MD. Northwell Health (Great Neck, N.Y.). Dr. Hollis' areas of expertise include traumatic spine injuries, brain neoplasms and spinal cord diseases. He is the division chief of neurosurgery at Northwell Health's Long Island Jewish Valley Stream (N.Y.).  

Jocelyn Idema, DO. Steel City Spine and Orthopedic Center (Pittsburgh). Dr. Idema founded Steel City Spine and Orthopedic Center and has expertise in minimally invasive spine surgery. Her practice spans Pittsburgh, McKees Rocks and Washington, Pa.

Paul Jeffords, MD. Resurgens Orthopaedics (Atlanta). Dr. Jeffords was the co-medical director of the Resurgens Spine Center. He joined Resurgens in 2005.

Michael Kachmann, MD. Mayfield Brain & Spine (Cincinnati). Dr. Kachmann is a spinal neurosurgeon and joined Mayfield Brain & Spine in 2014. He was one of the first surgeons to use Medtronic's Pulse platform in a commercial case.

Jay Khanna, MD. MedStar Health (Columbia, Md.). Dr. Khanna was named to three leadership positions in April: MedStar Orthopaedic Institute's Washington, D.C., center; chief of orthopedic surgery at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital in Washington, D.C.; and academic chair of the department of orthopedic surgery at Georgetown University School of Medicine. He received his undergraduate and medical degrees from Georgetown.

Taro Kaibara, MD. Barrow Neurological Institute (Phoenix). Dr. Kaibara received his medical degree from University of Toronto in Canada. At his residency at the University of Calgary Cumming School of Medicine in Canada, he mastered techniques with surgical robots and intraoperative MRIs.

Mark Kerner, MD. Hampton Roads Orthopaedics Spine & Sports Medicine (Newport News, Va.). Dr. Kerner received his medical degree from New York City-based Albert Einstein College of Medicine and completed his residency at Montefiore Medical Center, where he was chief resident. He specializes in minimally invasive spine surgery, motion-preserving surgery and disc replacement.

Thomas Kuivila, MD. Cleveland Clinic. Dr. Kuivila is a pediatric surgeon whose areas of focus include congenital and developmental spinal disorders. He's also the residency program director for orthopedic surgery at Cleveland Clinic.

Jason Lowenstein, MD. The Advanced Spine Center (Morristown, N.J.). Dr. Lowenstein is director of scoliosis and spine deformity at Morristown Medical Center. He debuted Zimmer Biomet's vertebral body tethering system for scoliosis in September. 

Thomas McNally, MD. Weiss Memorial Hospital (Chicago). Dr. McNally specializes in minimally invasive and robotic spine surgery. He was named medical director of Weiss Memorial Hospital's Spine Center in August.

Max Medary, MD. Greater Orlando (Fla.) Neurosurgery & Spine. Dr. Medary is the president and CEO of Greater Orlando Neurosurgery & Spine, and he specializes in complex spine disease and skull base tumor surgery. He also founded the Orlando Neurosurgical Foundation.

Sam Murrell, MD. OrthoSouth (Memphis, Tenn.). Dr. Murrell serves as the governor’s appointed medical representative to the Tennessee Workers' Compensation Advisory Council. He's involved with the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgery Board of Councilors and is a past president of the Tennessee Orthopaedic Society.

Daniel Nehls, MD. Franciscan Neurosurgery Associates at St. Joseph (Tacoma, Wash.). Dr. Nehls specializes in minimally invasive spine and neurosurgery. In 2007, he debuted the Prestige artificial cervical disc in the region and teaches other surgeons how to use it.

Eric Nottmeier, MD. Mayo Clinic (Jacksonville, Fla.). Dr. Nottmeier specializes in complex and image-guided spine surgery. He's co-chair of the North American Spine Society's section on robotics and navigation.

Kenneth Nwosu, MD. a 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.

Joseph Orchowski, MD. OrthoVirginia (Lynchburg). Dr. Orchowski served in the U.S. Army for 20 years and was an associate professor during that time. He's published several research papers on topics including acute back pain and outcomes after pedicle screw placement.

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 started using Spineology's OptiLIF procedure to treat lower back and leg pain in July.

Frank Phillips, MD. Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush (Chicago). Dr. Phillips is one of the first spine surgeons to use minimally invasive techniques in Chicago. The North American Spine Society awarded him the 2021 Leon Wiltse Award.

Chad Prusmack, MD. Rocky Mountain Spine Clinic (Denver). Dr. Prusmack received his medical degree from New York City-based Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. He operated on Jack Eichel of the NHL's Vegas Golden Knights in November.

Gregory Przybylski, MD. JFK NJ Neuroscience Institute (Edison). Dr. Przybylski earned his medical degree from Jefferson Medical College in Woodbury, N.J., and completed his residency at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. He's a member of the North American Spine Society and received its 2021 Past President Award.

Sohrab Pahlavan, MD. Ventura (Calif.) Orthopedics. Dr. Pahlavan grew up in Stockholm and attended the University of California San Diego School of Medicine. Before starting medical school, he worked as a science teacher in Sweden.

Sheeraz Qureshi, MD. Hospital for Special Surgery (New York City). Dr. Qureshi is research director of spine service at HSS, and his interests include outcomes of minimally invasive spine surgery and cost-effectiveness of spine procedures. He operated on television host Whoopi Goldberg in September.

Eiman Shafa, MD. Twin Cities Spine Center (Minneapolis). Dr. Shafa was listed on the North American Spine Society's 2021 "20 Under 40" list. He's also a member of NASS' section on robotics and navigation.

John Shin, MD. Massachusetts General Hospital (Boston). Dr. Shin specializes in complex spinal reconstruction surgery. He's spearheading the hospital's augmented reality spine surgery program.

Lawrence Shuer, MD. Stanford (Calif.) Health Care. Dr. Shuer is a spinal neurosurgeon and a professor. He's been an associate chair in the neurosurgery department at Stanford University School of Medicine since 2004.

Hal Silcox III, MD. Peachtree Orthopedics (Atlanta). Dr. Silcox joined Peachtree Orthopedics in 2001 after nine years at Emory Spine Center in Atlanta. He was secretary and treasurer of the Georgia Orthopaedic Society from 2009-12 and president from 2013-14.

Matthew Smuck, MD. Stanford (Calif.) University. Dr. Smuck's research has focused on improving outcomes for patients with lower back pain. He received the North American Spine Society's Henry Farfan Award in 2021 for his contributions in spine-related research.

Brian Subach, MD. National Spine & Pain Centers (Rockville, Md.). Dr. Subach joined National Spine and Pain Centers in March and has more than 20 years of experience. His practice includes minimally invasive cervical and lumbar surgery, robotic surgery and artificial disc surgery.

Shaleen Vira, MD. University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center (Dallas). Dr. Vira was admitted to medical school when he was 17 and attended NYU Grossman School of Medicine. He is director of spine surgery research at UT Southwestern Medical Center.

Gerard Werries, MD. Tri-State Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine (North Hills, Pa.). Dr. Werries joined Tri-State Orthopaedics in 2003. He specializes in back and neck injuries.

Jobyna Whiting, MD. Baptist Health South Florida (Coral Gables). Dr. Whiting is the director of degenerative spine surgery at Miami Neuroscience Institute. She previously worked in a private practice in Orlando, Fla.

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