50+ spine surgeons to know in 2023

Spine

Here are more than 50 spine surgeons to know going into 2023:

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

Todd Alamin, MD. Stanford (Calif.) University School of Medicine. Dr. Alamin is a professor of orthopedic surgery and specializes in minimally invasive spine surgery. He is co-founder and medical director of Empirical Spine, and he is the original inventor of the LimiFlex device.

Ilyas Aleem, MD. University of Michigan School of Medicine (Ann Arbor). Dr. Aleem is an associate professor of orthopedic surgery and neurosurgery. His clinical interests include cervical deformity, spinal trauma and myelopathy.

John Attenello, MD. Concierge Healthcare Partners (Los Angeles). Dr. Attenello was one of the first spine surgeons on the West Coast to use augmented reality technology with 3D navigation in spine surgery. He joined Select Orthopedic Specialists in 2021 and moved to Concierge Healthcare Partners in 2022.

Rahul Basho, MD. Midwest Orthopedic Specialists (Hannibal, Mo.). Dr. Basho is an abstract reviewer for the Northern American Spine Society. In August, he began offeringa monthly clinic at Memorial Medical Building in Carthage, Ill.

Kara Beasley, DO. Boulder (Colo.) Neurosurgical & Spine Associates. Dr. Beasley is the only dual-credentialed neurosurgeon bioethicist in the world. Her clinical practice includes minimally invasive spine surgery, brain disorders and deep brain stimulation.

Christopher Bergin, MD. Illinois Bone and Joint Institute (Des Plaines). Dr. Bergin has been a practicing surgeon since 1999 and is active in Global Spine Outreach, which provides spine treatment for children in Colombia. He joined IBJI in January.

Mario Brkaric, MD. Indiana Spine Group (Lafayette). Dr. Brkaric's areas of expertise include spinal deformity, degenerative conditions and spinal trauma. He debutedSurgalign's artificial intelligence and augmented reality surgical guidance system, Holo Portal.

David Chang, MD. Watkins Spine (Marina del Rey, Calif.). Dr. Chang specializes in minimally invasive spine surgery, artificial disc replacement and degenerative spinal disorders. He has work experience on the East and West coasts and completed an advanced fellowship with Robert Watkins, MD, and Lytton Williams, MD.

Hoon Choi, MD, PhD, Cleveland Clinic (Weston, Fla.). Dr. Choi joined Cleveland Clinic Florida in May. He specializes in minimally invasive robotic spine surgery, artificial disc replacement and restorative spine surgery.

Michael Collins, MD. Pontchartrain Orthopedics & Sports Medicine (Metairie, La.). Dr. Collins is trained and certified to use the MazorXStealth and Globus Medical ExcelsiusGPS robots. He earned his medical degree at Louisiana State University School of Medicine in New Orleans and completed his residency at Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn, N.Y.

William Dasher III, MD. OrthoGeorgia (Macon). Dr. Dasheris trained in minimally invasive robot-assisted techniques for nerve decompression. He has written multiple journal articles and textbook chapters. 

Donald deGrange, MD. Mercy Hospital (St. Louis). Dr. deGrange served in the Marine Corps and was a major in the Army Reserve. He treats conditions including disc herniation, spinal stenosis, fractures and spondylolisthesis.

James Dunlap, MD. Kettering (Ohio) Health Brain & Spine. Dr. Dunlap served in the military and was recognized as the most productive orthopedic surgeon in the Air Force. His expertise is in degenerative spine disorders.

Nancy Epstein, MD. NYU Langone Health (New York City).Dr. Epstein is chief of  neurosurgical spine and education at NYU Langone Hospital-Long Island. She is a past president of the Cervical Spine Research Society and publishes about 20 peer-reviewed papers each year.

Steven Falowski, MD. Advanced Surgery Center of Lancaster. Dr. Falowski specializes in complex spine procedures, pain management and spinal cord stimulation. He was named as an adviser to SynerFuse, a company focused on treating chronic lower back pain.

Paul Gause, MD. Spine Institute of Arizona (Scottsdale).Dr. Gause is an active researcher and has worked on laboratory and clinical projects. He is trained in microsurgery, minimally invasive techniques and motion preservation.

Alexander Ghanayem, MD. Loyola Medical Group (Maywood, Ill.). Dr. Ghanayem joined Loyola Medical Group in 1995 and is chair of Loyola Medicine's department of orthopedic surgery and rehabilitation. He was named chief medical officer of Loyola Medical.

Carl Graf, MD. Illinois Spine Institute (Schaumburg). Dr. Graf was chief resident at Cook County Hospital in Chicago. He has worked on multiple research papers and book chapters covering topics including spine trauma and spinal fusion rates.

Betsy Grunch, MD. The Longstreet Clinic. (Gainesville, Ga.). Dr. Grunch specializes in minimally invasive surgery and artificial disc replacement. She joined the practice in 2013. 

Ahmer Ghori, MD. SpineONE (Fort Wayne, Ind.). Dr. Ghorijoined SpineONE in 2016, and his clinical interests are in the cervical spine and minimally invasive surgery. He was inspired by his father, also a physician, to pursue a career in medicine.

Jeffrey A. Goldstein, MD. NYU Langone Health (New York City). Dr. Goldstein is director of NYU Langone Health's spine surgery fellowship and is a clinical professor at NYU Grossman School of Medicine. He debuted Globus Medical's Excelsius3D spine system.

Colin Haines, MD. Virginia Spine Institute (Reston). Dr. Haines is director of research at Virginia Spine Institute. He performed the world's first combined endoscopic and robot-guided spine surgery.

Arun Hariharan, MD. Paley Orthopedic & Spine Institute (West Palm Beach, Fla.). Dr. Hariharan won the Russell A. Hibbs Best Clinical Research Paper award and the Louis A. Goldstein Best Clinical Research Poster Paper award. He has expertise in pediatric spine surgery.

Sarah Jernigan, MD. Carolina NeuroSurgery & Spine Associates (Charlotte, N.C.). Dr. Jernigan joined CNSA in 2017 as the practice's first female neurosurgeon. She has fellowship training in pediatric neurosurgery from Boston Children's Hospital.

Eldin Karaikovic, MD, PhD. Weiss Memorial Hospital (Chicago). Dr. Karaikovic has been a practicing spine surgeon since 2002. He has co-written more than 30 papers and book chapters and given more than 90 presentations.

Michael Kelly, MD. Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego. Dr. Kelly is Rady Children's new director of scoliosis and spinal deformities. He previously worked at Washington University in St. Louis, where he was an associate professor of orthopedics, director of the spine fellowship program and director of spine research.

Richard Kube, MD. Prairie Spine & Pain Institute (Peoria, Ill.). Dr. Kube founded Prairie Spine & Pain Institute. He is on the board of the American Board of Spine Surgery as treasurer. 

Richard Kim, MD. DISC Sports and Spine Center (Newport Beach, Calif.). Dr. Kim has pioneered a minimally invasive endoscopic approach to the resection of pituitary tumors. He serves on committees with the American Epilepsy Society, the Epilepsy Foundation of America and the American Association of Neurological Surgeons.

Youjeong Kim, MD. Golden Gate Spine (San Francisco).Dr. Kim is a member of the North American Spine Society and a fellow of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Her specialties include minimally invasive spine surgery and total disc replacement.

Tien Le, MD. Total Spine & Brain Institute (Brandon, Fla.).Dr. Le is a minimally invasive spine specialist and has been certified to use robot-assisted technology since 2013. He completed the first case integrating Accelus' Remi robotic navigation system, Linesider pedicle screw system and FlareHawk expandable interbody fusion device.

Alvin Marcovici, MD. Southcoast Physicians Group Neurosurgery (Dartmouth, Mass.). Dr. Marcovici is a member of the Congress of Neurological Surgeons as well as the American Association of Neurological Surgeons. His clinical work focuses on complex spine surgery.

Hooman Melamed, MD. The Spine Pro (Marina Del Rey, Calif.). Dr. Melamed founded The Spine Pro in 2005. He is director of scoliosis at Cedars Sinai Marina Del Rey Hospital.

Daniel Michael, MD, PhD. Michigan Head & Spine Institute (Southfield). Dr. Michael's recent research has focused on the molecular mechanisms of injuries to the central nervous system. He is active in medical ethics and is on the Cardinal's Medical Morals Committee of the Archdiocese of Detroit.

Zachary NaPier, MD. Sierra Spine Institute (Roseville, Calif.). Dr. NaPier specializes in minimally invasive and motion-preserving surgery. He has served on multiple projects funded by the Cervical Spine Research Society and Scoliosis Research Society.

Todd Nida, MD. Michigan Head and Spine Institute (Pontiac). Dr. Nida specializes in complex spine conditions. His research interests include traumatic brain injury, and he is involved with teaching medical students and residents.

Alen Nourian, MD. Solo practitioner spine surgeon in California. Dr. Nourian has lectured nationally and internationally about his research on spinal disorders and treatments for anterior and lateral spinal fusion. He left Ventura (Calif.) Orthopedics to launch his solo practice in Southern California in March 2021.

Emeka Nwodim, MD. The Centers for Advanced Orthopaedics (Bethesda, Md.). Dr. Nwodim is a clinical assistant professor of orthopedics at University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore. He has published multiple research articles.

James Odor, MD. Spine Surgery Associates (Oklahoma City). Dr. Odor began practicing medicine in 1989. He treats complex spine conditions.

John Peloza, MD. Steadman Clinic (Vail, Colo.). Dr. Peloza's practice focuses on complex surgery, minimally invasive surgery and artificial disc replacement. He rejoinedthe Steadman Clinic in 2021 after working in Dallas.

Stephen Ritter, MD. Forté Sports Medicine and Orthopedics (Carmel, Ind.). Dr. Ritter is an expert and educator in modern spine surgery and helps train fellow and industry professionals. He has served as a spine surgery consultant for the Indianapolis Colts and the NFL Combine for more than a decade.

Faheem Sandhu, MD, PhD. MedStar Health (Columbia, Md.). Dr. Sandhu has performed more than 6,000 procedures and is director of spine surgery at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital in Washington, D.C. He has written more than 50 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters.

Thomas Schuler, MD. Virginia Spine Institute (Reston). Dr. Schuler founded the Virginia Spine Institute in 1992. He pioneered multiple surgical procedures in the region, including a three-level cervical disc replacement, robotic spine surgery and minimally invasive techniques.

Neil Shah, MD. Texas Spine Associates (Flower Mound).Dr. Shah has worked in the Dallas-Fort Worth area since 2012 and has performed more than 3,000 surgeries. He completed both undergraduate and medical school in six years.

Grant Shifflett, MD. DISC Sports and Spine Center (Newport Beach, Calif.). Dr. Shifflett specializes in minimally invasive and microsurgical techniques. During his residency with New York City-based Hospital for Special Surgery, he traveled to Japan to study complex and reconstructive surgery. 

Stephen Tolhurst, MD. Texas Back Institute (Flower Mound and Denton). Dr. Tolhurst has served as chair of surgery at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Flower Mound. He joined Texas Back Institute in 2012 and has a special interest in cervical spine conditions.

Marjorie Wang, MD. Medical College of Wisconsin (Menomonee). Dr. Wang is director of the spine fellowship program and treats conditions including herniated discs and degenerative diseases. She is one of 50 spine experts on the National Spine Health Foundation's medical and scientific board.

Marc Weinstein, MD. Florida Orthopaedic Institute (Tampa). Dr. Weinstein is an assistant professor at the University of South Florida in Tampa. He is a cervical spine specialist and has dual fellowship training.

Steven Vanni, DO. HCA Florida University Hospital (Davie).Dr. Vanni has practiced medicine for more than 26 years. He was named chief of medical staff at the hospital.

Jon Yoon, MD. Pennsylvania Hospital (Philadelphia). Dr. Yoon treats spine conditions in adult and elderly patients. He operated on Philadelphia Flyers center Sean Couturier in February.

Lloyd Zucker, MD. Brain and Spine Center of South Florida (West Palm Beach, Fla.). Dr. Zucker has established a pre-med mentorship program at American Heritage School in Delray Beach, Fla., and contributes to the teaching of medical students. He also works as chief of neurosurgery at Delray Medical Center in Delray Beach.

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