Todd Albert, MD, Surgeon-in-Chief at Hospital for Special Surgery, New York City
Dr. Albert assumed the role of surgeon-in-chief at Hospital for Special Surgery in July 2014; previously he spent the bulk of his career at Philadelphia-based Rothman Institute where he was president of the practice. Dr. Albert was also chairman of the department of orthopedics at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia and co-director of the Reconstructive Spine Surgery and the Spine Fellowship Program at Thomas Jefferson University.
Throughout his career, Dr. Albert has been involved in several prestigious organizations, serving as president for the Cervical Spine Research Society and Scoliosis Research Society. He is also a past-chair of the International Meeting of Advanced Spinal Techniques and was interviewed by Forbes last year at their annual meeting about his entrepreneurial prowess.
In addition to his clinical practice, Dr. Albert sits on the boards for several scholarly journals and has published numerous book chapters and articles. He has been involved with the National Orthopedic & Spine Alliance, which includes Rothman Institute and a few other large orthopedic groups, created to collect data and provide lower-cost healthcare to large employers.
Dr. Albert earned his medical degree at the University of Virginia School of Medicine and completed his orthopedic surgery residency at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital. His additional training includes a spine surgery fellowship at Minnesota Spine Center.
Gunnar Andersson, MD, Chairman Emeritus of the Department of Orthopedic Surgery at Rush University Medical Center, Chicago
Dr. Andersson is a distinguished leader at Rush University Medical Center and Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush. He recently received the Trustee Medal from Rush University Medical Center and the Stryker Spine Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Society for the Study of the Lumbar Spine.
Several orthopedic and spine societies elected Dr. Andersson president throughout the years; he is past president of the Orthopaedic Research Society, International Society for the Advancement of Spine Surgery, International Society for the Study of the Lumbar Spine and American Academy of Disability Evaluating Physicians. He also served as a council member of the National Institutes of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases at the National Institutes of Health.
In addition to his clinical practice, Dr. Andersson serves on 17 editorial boards for several professional journals and published numerous articles based on his research. He just completed an NIH-funded project on disc degeneration and his other research interests include epidemiology and occupational biomechanics.
Dr. Andersson earned his medical degree at the University of Goteborg in Sweden and completed his residency at Sahlgren Hospital. His additional training includes a fellowship in orthopedics at The London Hospital in the United Kingdom.
Scott Blumenthal, MD, Co-Director of the Artificial Disc Center at Texas Back Institute, Plano
Dr. Blumenthal is one of the senior members of Texas Back Institute. He serves as co-director of the artificial disc center at TBI and is also a clinical assistant professor of orthopedic surgery at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas and on staff at the Presbyterian Hospital of Plano. He is a member of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and North American Spine Society and serves on the executive committee for the International Society for the Study of the Lumbar Spine.
He is also a spine consultant for the Dallas Mavericks and has served as a principal investigator for artificial disc clinical trials, including the SB III Charité Artificial Disc clinical trial. His clinical interests also include back injuries, spinal fusions and spinal disorders. His work is widely published in peer-reviewed journals, including Spine and Journal of Neurosurgery: Spine.
In his clinical practice, Dr. Blumenthal and his partners have developed a boutique-style medical practice.
Dr. Blumenthal earned his medical degree at Chicago-based Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and completed his orthopedic surgery residency at University of Texas Health Science Center in Dallas. He has also completed a fellowship in spinal trauma at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago.
Bruce V. Darden II, MD, OrthoCarolina
Dr. Darden is a spine surgeon at OrthoCarolina and president of the Cervical Spine Research Society. In 2013, he was recognized as a Physician of the Year by Charlotte Orthopedic Hospital, Novant Health. He also serves as the director of the spine surgery fellowship at OrthoCarolina, which includes several practice locations and an ambulatory surgery center.
In addition to his clinical practice, Dr. Darden has participated in research, including a prospective, randomized controlled investigational device exemption study comparing cervical disc replacement with ProDisc-C to anterior cervical discectomy and fusion. The study received the Best Clinical Paper Award at the International Society for the Advancement of Spine Surgery annual meeting.
He is also a member of the North American Spine Society, Lumbar Spine Research Society and Scoliosis Research Society.
Dr. Darden earned his medical degree from the University of North Carolina School of Medicine and completed his orthopedic residency at Carolinas Medical Center. His additional training includes a fellowship in spine surgery at Baylor College of Medicine.
Fred Geisler, MD, Founder of Chicago Back Institute, Swedish Covenant Hospital
Dr. Geisler founded the Chicago Back Institute at Swedish Covenant Hospital. He is also a founding member of the CINN Institute for Spine Care and developed the Shock Trauma Center in Maryland. He is among the nation's leading authorities on spinal cord injuries and was one of the early adopters of several new neurological, spinal and orthopedic technologies.
In addition to his medical practice, Dr. Geisler co-founded medical device company Rhausler, which focuses on spinal implants and instrumentation in 2008. He has published several research articles during his career on acute spinal cord injury and spent 15 years spearheading clinical trials for artificial disc replacement and cervical plates.
Dr. Geisler has more than 25 years of experience as a neurosurgeon focusing on spine. His areas of interest also include sacroiliac joint treatment and degenerative spinal diseases. He is recognized internationally as an inventor, lecturer and author.
Dr. Geisler earned his medical degree at State University of New York at Buffalo, where he also completed his residency in neurosurgery.
A. Jay Khanna, MD, Division Chief of Johns Hopkins Orthopaedic Surgery — National Capital Region, Bethesda, Maryland
Dr. Khanna is division chief of Johns Hopkins Orthopaedic Surgery in the National Capital Region and Vice Chairman of Professional Development in the Department of Orthopedic Surgery at Johns Hopkins University. He is also a professor of Orthopedic Surgery and Biomedical Engineering at the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland.
He has research interests in minimally invasive spine surgery and techniques, clinical and functional outcomes after spine surgery, spinal MRI and spine biomechanics. He holds three patents for spine devices and is active in multiple research projects. He has published numerous research articles in professional journals as well as book chapters related to spine surgery and has edited two well regarded textbooks on the topic of MRI for spine specialists and orthopaedic surgeons.
Throughout his career, Dr. Khanna has served in several leadership positions, including on the steering committee for the Value-Driven Engineering and U.S. Global Competitiveness Study Group. He is also a graduate of the 2013-2014 American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons Leadership Development Program, is an associate editor of The Spine Journal and serves on the editorial board for SpineLine. Dr. Khanna also sits on the Suburban Hospital Foundation Board of Trustees.
Dr. Khanna earned his medical degree at the Georgetown University School of Medicine in Washington, D.C., and completed his orthopedic surgery residency at the Johns Hopkins University Hospital and School of Medicine. His additional training includes a spine surgery fellowship in the Departments of Orthopaedic Surgery and Neurosurgery at the Cleveland Clinic.
Choll Kim, MD, Director of the Minimally Invasive Spine Center at Alvarado Hospital, San Diego
In addition to his role as spine center director at Alvarado Hospital in San Diego, Dr. Kim is an orthopedic spine surgeon at the Spine Institute of San Diego, an associate clinical professor at University of California San Diego and the founder of the Society for Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery. He is a member of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and chair of the MIS Committee for the International Society for the Advancement of Spine Surgery.
Dr. Kim is a past voting member of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration Orthopedic Device Panel and a qualified medical examiner. His clinical interests include minimally invasive techniques for herniated discs, spinal stenosis, adult scoliosis and spondylolisthesis. He has published more than 200 articles.
Dr. Kim earned his medical degree at Harvard Medical School in Boston and completed a fellowship in spine surgery at Rochester, Minn.-based Mayo Clinic.
Robert Masson, MD, Founder of NeuroSpine Institute Orlando
Dr. Masson began his practice in 1995 with a focus on microsurgery techniques in the spine. Through his development, he ultimately invented the iMAS surgical symphony for interpedicular minimal access surgery used in lumbosacral spinal reconstruction. He has been responsible for the education, product development and research for DePuy Synthes Spine products and techniques.
He is one of the chairman of surgeon training in the use of DePuy Synthes Spine's artificial disc — ProDisc — and has trained several hundred surgeons on minimally invasive surgical techniques. He has performed more than 11,000 microsurgical spine procedures and more than 4,000 minimally invasive lumbar spinal reconstructions and revisions during his career. Additionally, he has treated more than 700 patients with cervical disc arthroplasty and now devotes 100 percent of his practice to minimally invasive procedures.
Beyond his interest in less invasive surgery, Dr. Masson is an international consultant for stem cell use in spinal injury and advocates for prehabilitation in the spine patient. As an artificial disc patient himself, Dr. Masson passionately advocates for a comprehensive fitness strategy for spine patients, even for spinal injury patients. He treats professional athletes spanning nearly all pro sports and was featured on the Discovery Health television program as an expert in neurological surgery.
Dr. Masson earned his medical degree at the University of Florida in Gainesville and completed his neurological surgery residency at the University of Florida and Shands Hospital. His additional training includes a skull base surgery and neurotology fellowship at the House Ear Clinic in Los Angeles.
Daniel Murrey, MD, CEO of OrthoCarolina
Dr. Murrey has been the CEO of OrthoCarolina since July 2008. The practice includes 27 locations with orthopedic, spine and sports medicine care. Seven of the locations also include urgent care services. More than 120 OrthoCarolina physicians see around 1 million patients each year.
As a board-certified spine surgeon, Dr. Murrey has had a successful clinical practice. But his leadership extends beyond the operating room; he has served as the Mecklenburg County commissioner and the headed the committee for the 2012 Democratic National Convention, held in Charlotte, N.C.
In March, OrthoCarolina partnered with Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina on a bundled payment initiative for total knee replacement surgeries. The partnership is expected to save 10 percent to 30 percent on the total cost of knee replacement.
Dr. Murrey earned his medical degree at Harvard Medical School in Boston and completed his residency at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tenn. He also completed a spine surgery fellowship at Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte.
Mick Perez-Cruet, MD, Chief of Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery at Beaumont Hospitals, Royal Oak, Mich.
Dr. Perez-Cruet is chief of minimally invasive spine surgery at Beaumont Hospitals and vice chairman, director and professor of minimally invasive surgery and the spine program at Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine. He practices with Michigan Head & Spine Institute. Formerly, he was director of minimally invasive spine surgery at Rush-Presbyterian, St. Luke's Medical Center in Chicago.
Currently, Dr. Perez-Cruet is the leader of the Minimally Invasive Neurological Society and is heading the society's annual meeting this summer. He is the principle investigator in several clinical trials and contributed to 16 textbook chapters. He has a national medical educational program found on the Neurological Surgeons website called "Gray Matter, A Neurosurgical Overview."
Dr. Perez-Cruet authored the recently published textbook "Minimally Invasive Spine Fusion: Techniques and Operative Nuances" and has also written about outpatient spine surgery. During his early career, Dr. Perez-Cruet was vice chairman of the department of neurosurgery at Wilford Hall Medical Center on Lackland Air Force Base.
Dr. Perez-Cruet earned his medical degree at Tufts University in Boston and completed his neurological surgery residency at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. His additional training includes a fellowship in minimally invasive spine surgery at Rush University in Chicago.
Rick Sasso, MD, President of Indiana Spine Group, Indianapolis
In addition to serving as president of the Indiana Spine Group, Dr. Sasso is co-medical director of St. Vincent Spine Center as well as clinical associate professor and chief of spine surgery at Indiana University School of Medicine in the orthopedic surgery department.
Dr. Sasso has a professional interest in treatment and surgery of spinal disorders and abnormalities as well as in research involving spinal implants and techniques of minimally invasive spine surgery. He is a member of American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, North American Spine Society, Scoliosis Research Society and Cervical Spine Research Society.
Dr. Sasso earned his medical degree from Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis and completed his orthopedic surgery residency at the University of Texas Medical School in Houston. He has completed spine fellowships at Northwestern University in Chicago, Baylor College of Medicine in Houston and in St. Gallen, Switzerland.
Nick Shamie, MD, Director of Spine Surgery at the University of California Los Angeles Health
Dr. Shamie is chief of orthopedic spine surgery as well as an associate professor of orthopedic surgery and neurosurgery at University of California Los Angeles School of Medicine. He also serves as director of quality and compliance at UCLA's department of orthopedic surgery. He is a past president of the American College of Spine Surgeons and currently serves on its board of directors.
Dr. Shamie is involved in educating fellows and he is a reviewer for the Medical Board of California. He has a professional interest in ankylosing spondylitis, artificial disc, spinal cord injury, spinal infections, sciatica, scoliosis, kyphoplasty and disc herniation. He serves on the editorial boards of The International Journal of Spine Surgery and Spine.
Dr. Shamie is active in research and has served as the principal investigator for the X-Stop Interspinous Spacer FDA five-year outcome study from 2007 to 2012. He is currently the medical director of the Superion FDA clinical trial. He has won numerous awards over the course of his career, including Scoliosis Research Society Dawson Traveling Fellowship.
Dr. Shamie earned his medical degree at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago and completed his residency in orthopedic surgery at St. Mary's Hospital and Medical Center in San Francisco. He has also completed fellowships in spine surgery and bone research at UCLA School of Medicine.
Paul Slosar, MD, President of SpineCare Medical Group, Daly City, Calif.
Dr. Slosar leads SpineCare Medical Group and serves as co-director and medical director of the Spine Care Institute of San Francisco. He also serves as an oral board examiner for the American Board of Orthopedic Surgery and American Board of Spine Surgery.
Within his practice, Dr. Slosar is interested in motion-preservation and implant surface technologies. He has collaborated with device companies to develop and improve spine surgery technology. His interest also extends to emerging healthcare delivery models and he has been working on bundled payments for spine care within his group.
In addition to his clinical practice, Dr. Slosar serves on the board of directors for the American Board of Spine Surgery and The Spinal Research Foundation. He is a frequent instructor of new technologies and techniques and was selected by the Medical Board of California as an expert reviewer in spine surgery. He also serves on the editorial board for Spine, along with other medical journals.
Dr. Slosar earned his medical degree at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago and completed his orthopedic surgery residency at Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood, Ill. His additional training includes a spine fellowship at The San Francisco Spine Institute and SpineCare Medical Group.
William Tobler, MD, Director of Neurosurgery at The Christ Hospital Health Network, Cincinnati
Dr. Tobler also serves as chairman of the board of managers at The Christ Hospital Spine Surgery Center in Cincinnati. In addition, he practices with Mayfield Clinic, Cincinnati. He is a member of numerous professional societies, including American Association of Neurological Surgeons, Society of Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery and North American Spine Society.
Dr. Tobler's clinical interests include discectomy, spinal fusions, decompressions, artificial disc replacements, outpatient minimally invasive lumbar spine fusions, minimally invasive deformity corrections and chiari malformations.
Dr. Tobler's work has been published in peer-reviewed journals, such as Journal of Neurosurgery: Spine and Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery. He also serves as a consultant for Integra LifeSciences and Zimmer Spine.
Dr. Tobler earned his medical degree at University of Cincinnati College of Medicine and completed residencies at University of Cincinnati Medical Center, Christ Hospital, Children's Hospital Medical Center and Good Samaritan Hospital, located in Cincinnati.
Alexander Vaccaro, MD, President of Rothman Institute, Philadelphia
Dr. Vaccaro was elected president of Rothman Institute in August 2014. He also became Chairman of Orthopaedics at Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University. In these combined roles, Dr. Vaccaro oversees the clinical, educational and research enterprises for Rothman and Jefferson.
As a spine surgeon with special knowledge of spinal cord injury, Dr. Vaccaro has treated several professional athletes and serves as assistant team physician for the Philadelphia Eagles. He is a past president of the American Spinal Injury Association. He also received a PhD in 2007 in the field of spinal trauma.
Throughout his career, Dr. Vaccaro has published more than 560 peer-reviewed, 300 book chapters and co-edited 47 textbooks. He was ranked as one of the top-three cited authors in SPINE Journal and received the Leon Wiltse Award for excellence in leadership and/or clinical research in spine care from the North American Spine Society. He is president of the Association of Collaborative Spine Research and was elected president of the American Spinal Injury Association. He is also the first full-time orthopedic surgeon elected to co-chair the Editorial Board of the Journal of Neurosurgery: Spine.
Dr. Vaccaro earned his medical degree from Georgetown University School of Medicine in Washington, D.C., and completed his orthopedic surgery residency at Thomas Jefferson University. His additional training includes a spine fellowship at the University of California, San Diego.
William Watters III, MD, Bone and Joint Clinic of Houston
Dr. Watters is president of the North American Spine Society as well as clinical associate professor for the departments of orthopedic surgery at both the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston and Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. He previously serves as chairman of the orthopedic surgery department at Kelsey-Seybold Clinic in Houston.
Dr. Watters serves on the board of directors of the North American Spine Society. He also serves as treasurer of the American Board of Spinal Surgery and as chairman of the Guidelines Oversight Committee for the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. He sits on the advisory board of The Bone and Joint Decade and serves as representative to the National Quality Forum for AAOS.
Dr. Watters is board-certified and is an attending surgeon at Foundation Surgical Hospital and St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital in Houston. He serves on the editorial advisory board of The Spine Journal.
Dr. Watters earned his medical degree at Harvard Medical School in Boston and completed his orthopedic surgery residency at University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.
Douglas Won, MD, Director and Founder of SpineCARE, Irving, Texas
Dr. Won was among the first surgeons in Texas to perform endoscopic laser spine surgery with a 3mm incision. He is the founder of SpineCARE, which includes 12 locations in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and is affiliated with Star Medical Center, a surgical hospital in Plano. The practice has treated more than 20,000 patients successfully.
In addition to his clinical practice, Dr. Won focused on research and the development of innovative spine care. He has published articles in several scientific journals and lectured internationally on spinal disorders. He also developed new minimally invasive techniques and serves as an expert for CBS Radio. He is currently exploring new options for expanding his group.
Dr. Won earned his medical degree at the University of Texas, Galveston and completed his residency at Washington University in St. Louis. His additional training includes a fellowship in orthopedic spine and neurospine surgery at William Beaumont Spine Center in Royal Oak, Mich., and additional training in spinal deformities at Washington University.
See who received the "Spine Surgeon Leadership Award" in 2013: click here.