I currently serve as the Executive Vice Chair of the Department of Orthopedic Surgery. As an academic spine surgeon, it is my responsibility to stay involved in the latest spine care research findings, techniques, and technologies. As a clinician, I must also use the latest diagnostic technologies to first find the source of discomfort and disability in my patients. I then look to my training and experience to educate my patients on treatment options and together judge which might be the best treatment for each individual patient without increasing the risk of complications. We can thus choose the best technology together based on their condition and expectation from surgical treatment. Surgery, however, is a last resort to be chosen only if conservative measures fail to provide sufficient relief.
I earned my Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering and worked as an engineer before earning both a Master’s of Arts and a Doctor of Medicine degree at Washington University in St. Louis. My orthopedic spine surgery training took place at the University of California (San Francisco), and my specialized fellowship training was at St. John’s Hospital in Santa Monica.
Minimally invasive spine surgery of the cervical, thoracic and lumbar spine. I also treat complex spine problems including failed back and neck surgery as well as conditions which patients may have been told can’t be treated.
Qualifications and experience
- Bones, Joints and Muscles, Bones, Joints and Muscles - Back Pain, Bones, Joints and Muscles - Fractures, Bones, Joints and Muscles - Neck Disorders and Injuries, Bones, Joints and Muscles - Scoliosis, Bones, Joints and Muscles - Spine Injuries, Brain and Nervous System, Brain and Nervous System - Spine Diseases and Conditions, Failed Prior Surgery, Infections, Orthopedic Surgery of the Spine, Spinal Deformity, Spine, Spine - Cervical disc herniation, Spine - Cervical spinal stenosis, Spine - Degenerative Disc Disease, Spine - Degenerative Scoliosis, Spine - Lumbar disc herniation, Spine - Lumbar spinal stenosis, Spine - Myelopathy, Spine - Radiculopathy, Spine - Sacroiliac Joint, Spine - Sciatica, Spine - Scoliosis, Spine - Slipped Disc, Spine - Spondylolisthesis, Spine - Spondylolysis, Symptoms and Manifestations, Symptoms and Manifestations - Pain
- Languages spoken
St. John's Hospital Spine Fellowship (Cedars Sinai Program) (2003)
University of California (San Francisco) Program (1998)
Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine (1997)
University of California (San Francisco) Program (2003)
University of Illinois–Urbana-Champaign (IL) (1991)
- Clinical interest for patients
Minimally invasive spine surgery of the cervical, thoracic and lumbar spine with a conservative-first approach and motion preservation whenever possible. I also treat complex spine problems including failed back and neck surgery and conditions which patients may have been told can't be treated.
- Research interest for patients
Currently, my research focus entails spinal non-fusion technologies, cervical and lumbar disc replacement, dynamic stabilization, alternative bone graft materials for fusion, minimally invasive surgical techniques and computer-assisted surgery. My basic science research includes the study of stem cell therapies, spinal biologics, spinal biomechanics, and the evaluation of pain. Additional research includes assessing the efficacy of marijuana based pain treatment.