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10 Surgeon Leaders of Spinal Tumor Programs

Written by  Laura Dyrda | Wednesday, 07 December 2011 18:12
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Here are 10 spine surgeons and specialists leading spinal tumor and oncology programs.



Steven Abram, MD (Howell Allen Clinic, Nashville, Tenn.). Dr. Abram is the director of the Brain & Spinal Cord Tumor Center at St. Thomas Hospital as well as a physician at Howell Allen Clinic, both located in Nashville. He also serves on the BrainLab Neurosurgical Advisory Board. Dr. Abram is a member of several professional societies, including the Society for Neuro-Oncology, American Association of Neurological Surgeons and American College of Sports Medicine. During his career, Dr. Abram has also focused on research and served as an investigator in several trials to evaluate different treatments and therapies for spinal and brain tumors. He earned his medical degree at Loyola-Stritch School of Medicine in Chicago and completed residencies at the University of California at San Francisco Medical Center and Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville.

Christopher P. Ames, MD (UCSF, San Francisco).
Dr. Ames is the director of Spine Tumor & Spinal Deformity Surgery and co-director of spinal surgery at the University of California in San Francisco. He also serves as the director of the Spinal Biomechanics Laboratory at UCSF. In his clinical practice, Dr. Ames focuses on en bloc tumor resection for chordoma, soft tissue sarcoma and sacral tumors treatment, among other treatments. During his career, he developed the transpedicular approach to previously unresectable cervical and cervical thoracic tumors. He has served as an honored international guest lecturer of the Australian Spine Society, Kuwait Neurosurgical Society and Korean Spine Society. In addition to his clinical practice, Dr. Ames has published research on spinal biomechanics in tumor resection and spinal deformity treatment, which has earned him recognition from the International Society for Study of the Lumbar Spine. Dr. Ames earned his medical degree at the University of California in Los Angeles and completed his residency in neurological surgery at the University of California in San Diego. His additional training includes a spine fellowship at Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix.

John Boockvar, MD (Weill Cornell Medical College, New York City). Dr. Boockvar is the co-director of the Brain and Spinal Tumor Program and co-director of surgical neuro-oncology at Weill Cornell Medical College. He also heads the Brain Tumor and Stem Cell Research Laboratory and directs the institute's Brain Research Group at Weill Cornell. During his career, Dr. Boockvar has served as editor-in-chief of the journal Current Stem Cell Research and Therapy and remains on the board of directors of several other journals, including the Journal of Neuro-Oncology. In addition to his clinical practice, which focuses on minimally invasive treatment for brain and spinal tumors, Dr. Boockvar has been the principle investigator on several new clinical trials. These trials include using super selective intra-arterial infusion techniques for delivering therapies for brain cancer. He also recently published the largest series to date on minimally invasive microdiscectomy for lumbar disc herniations. Dr. Boockvar earned his medical degree from SUNY Brooklyn (N.Y.)-Downstate Medical Center and completed his neurosurgical residency at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. His additional training includes a National Institute of Health/National Cancer Institute-supported fellowship in neuro-oncology at the University of Pennsylvania Cancer Center.

Lawrence F. Borges, MD (Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston).
Dr. Borges is the surgical director of the Spine Tumor Clinic and director of the Neurosurgical Spine Center at Massachusetts General Hospital. He has a professional interest in treating patients with Arnold-Chiari and Spinal Tumors. His research interests include stereoscopic imaging in training and education. Throughout his career, Dr. Borges has published articles in professional journals on topics such as central neurocytomas of the cervical spinal cord and intraneuronal accumulation of myeloma proteins. In addition to his medical practice, Dr. Borgess serves as an associate professor of neurosurgery at Harvard Medical School in Boston. Dr. Borges earned his medical degree at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore and completed his residency at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Jacob Buchowski, MD (Washington University Orthopedics, St. Louis).
Dr. Buchowski is the director of the Center for Spinal Tumors and an associate professor of orthopedic surgery and neurological surgery at Washington University. He has a professional interest in treating patients with spinal tumors, metastatic spine disease and spinal trauma, among other conditions. In addition to his clinical work, Dr. Buchowski has research interests that include the outcomes following spinal tumor surgery and complex reconstruction surgery, as well as the role of biologics in spine surgery. During his career, Dr. Buchowski's research has been recognized by several organizations, including Scoliosis Research Society. Dr. Buchowski earned his medical degree at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore and completed his residency in orthopedic surgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital. His additional training includes a fellowship in sine surgery at Washington University School of Medicine.

Thomas C. Chen, MD (University of Southern California, Los Angeles). Dr. Chen is the co-director of the USC/Norris Neuro-Oncology Program and an assistant professor of neurological surgery and pathology at USC Keck School of Medicine. He has a professional interest in treating patients with spinal cord and brain tumors, which also matches his research interests. He is examining the use of neuronavigational instrumentation and frameless strategic devices to localize brain tumors prior to surgery as well as conducting translational lab research focusing on gliomas, among other research projects. He is a member of several professional organizations, including the Society of Neuro-Oncology, American Association of Cancer Research and North American Spine Society. Dr. Chen earned his medical degree at the University of California in San Francisco and completed his neurosurgical residency at USC. His additional training includes a spine fellowship at the Medical College of Wisconsin.

Stefan A. Mindea, MD (Stanford University Medical Center, Palo Alto, Calif.). Dr. Mindea is the director of spinal oncology surgery and minimally invasive spine surgery at Stanford University Medical Center. He focuses his clinical practice on neuro-oncology, spinal tumor surgery, spinal radiosurgery, spine metastasis, spinal metastases and cyberknife. In addition to his clinical practice, Dr. Mindea has a focus on research. His current interests include techniques in minimally invasive surgery and management of primary and metastatic spinal tumors, with a specific interest in developing technology for the treatment of these disorders. Dr. Mindea earned his medical degree at Northwestern University Medical School in Chicago, where he also completed his residency in neurological surgery. His additional training includes fellowships in minimally invasive and complex spinal reconstruction at Northwestern Memorial Hospital.

Daniel R. Pieper, MD (Beaumont Health System, Royal Oak, Mich.).
Dr. Pieper is the director of neuro-oncology and medical director of the Brain and Spinal Cord Tumor Clinic at Beaumont Hospital. He also serves as an associate professor at Oakland University-William Beaumont School of Medicine and a member of the Michigan Head and Spine Institute of Southeast Michigan. In his practice, Dr. Pieper focuses on Gamma Knife Treatment, pediatrics and skull base surgery. Last year, Dr. Pieper was honored as one of the top physicians in Detroit by Detroit Hour Magazine.  Dr. Pieper earned his medical degree at Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine in Richmond and completed his residency in neurosurgery at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. His additional training includes a fellowship in skull base care at the University of Arkansas College of Medicine.

Kevin Walter, MD (University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, N.Y.). Dr. Walter is the director of the Program for Brain and Spinal Tumors at the University of Rochester Medical Center. He also serves as an assistant professor of neurosurgery and oncology at URMC. Before joining the team at URMC, Dr. Walter was the director of adult neuro-oncology at the University of Pittsburgh. He has an expertise in image-guided neurosurgery, radiosurgery and complex spinal surgery for tumors. In addition to his clinical practice, Dr. Walter engages in research evaluating the experimental therapeutics for brain and spinal cancer patients. The research laboratory he runs at the University of Rochester is focused on developing new targets for tumors. Dr. Walter earned his medical degree at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, where he also completed his residency in neurological surgery. His additional training includes a National Cancer Institute-sponsored fellowship in neuro-oncology while at Johns Hopkins.

G. Alexander West, MD (Colorado Neurological Institute, Englewood, Colo.). Dr. West is the medical director of the CNI Center for Brain & Spinal Tumors and practices with the Colorado Brain & Spine Institute. He has a professional interest in minimally invasive spine surgery, spinal cord tumor treatment and epilepsy surgery, among other procedures. In addition to his clinical practice, Dr. West is a member of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, Congress of Neurological Surgeons and American Heart Association. He has extensive research experience and has received National Institute of Health funding for his work with the adenosine receptor and ion channels in cerebral vessels. Dr. West earned his medical degree at the University of Virginia School of Medicine in Charlottesville and completed his residency at the University of Washington in Seattle. His additional experience includes time as a registrar in neurological surgery for Atkinson Morley's Hospital at the University of London in England.

If you would like to recommend a spine surgeon leader or practice to highlight in future weekly lists, please e-mail Laura at laura@beckersasc.comThis e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

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