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22 Spine Surgeon Leaders of Spinal Oncology Programs Featured

Written by  Laura Miller | Tuesday, 12 June 2012 11:57
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Khalid M. Abbed, MD (Yale Medical Group, New Haven, Conn.).
Dr. Abbed is the director of spine tumor surgery, minimally invasive spine surgery and neurosurgery chief of the Yale Spine Institute. He also serves as an assistant professor of neurosurgery at Yale School of Medicine. His clinical interests include spinal tumors, spinal deformity, artificial disc replacement, minimally invasive procedures and spinal fractures. Dr. Abbed earned his medical degree from the University of Illinois College of Medicine and completed his residency at Harvard University/Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. His additional training includes a fellowship in neurosurgical and orthopedic spine surgery at Cleveland Clinic.

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.

Daniel K. Fahim, MD (Michigan Head & Spine Institute, Southfield).
Dr. Fahim is the director of the Spine Tumor Program and co-director of brain tumor surgery at Beaumont Hospital-Royal Oak (Mich.). He also serves as the director of neurosurgery at Botford Hospital and an assistant professor of neurosurgery at Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine. He has a special interest in minimally invasive spine surgery, tumors and complex spine reconstruction. In addition to his clinical work, Dr. Fahim is a member of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, Congress of Neurological Surgeons and North American Spine Society. He earned his medical degree at the University of Michigan Medical School in Ann Arbor and completed his neurosurgical training at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. His additional experience includes neurosurgical training at Methodist Neurological Institute and Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.

Arthur L. Jenkins III, MD (Mount Sinai Hospital, New York City).
Dr. Jenkins in the co-director of the neurosurgery spine program and spinal oncology program at Mount Sinai Medical Center. He has a special interest in treating patients with minimally invasive surgery, spinal insatiability, trauma and spinal cord injury. In addition to his clinical work, Dr. Jenkins is a member of the Congress of Neurosurgery, Society for Neuro-Oncology and fellow of the American College of Surgeons. During his career, he has patented the "Implanted Spinal Radiation Shield" and "Dynamically Reactive Flexible Ridig Spinal Support System." He is a neurosurgery member of the NLF Retired Player's Spine Treatment Program and the rapid response team for the New York Jets. He earned his medical degree at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and completed his residency in neurosurgery at Mount Sinai Hospital. His additional training includes a fellowship in spine and neurosurgery at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston.

Michel Lacroix, MD (Geisinger Wyoming Valley, Wilkes Barre, Pa.).
Dr. Lacroix is director of the Brain & Spine Tumor Institute and director of neurosurgery at Geisinger Wyoming Valley. He has a special interest in neurosurgical oncology with an expertise in minimally invasive spine technologies and motion preservation. During his career, Dr. Lacroix has participated in clinical trials for neurotumors and vertebral diseases. He earned his medical degree at Laval University Faculty of Medicine in Canada and completed his residency at Hospital Notre-Dame-Pavilion Deschamps in Quebec. His additional training includes a fellowship at the University of Texas, MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.

Isador Lieberman, MD (Texas Back Institute, Plano).
Dr. Lieberman is medical director of the Scoliosis & Spine Tumor Program at Texas Health Resources Hospital in Plano and a member of Texas Back Institute. He is also chairman of the department of orthopedics at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Plano. He has a professional interest in spinal tumor and trauma reconstruction, endoscopic spine surgery and disc arthroplasty. In addition to his clinical work, Dr. Lieberman participates in spine surgery charitable mission to Uganda annually. He is a member of North American Spine Society, Scoliosis Research Society, International Society for the Advancement of Spine Surgery and American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Dr. Lieberman earned his medical degree at the University of Toronto in Canada and completed his residency in orthopedic surgery at The Toronto Hospital. His additional training includes spine surgery fellowships at The Toronto Hospital and Queen's Medical Center in the United Kingdom.

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.

John O'Toole (Rush University Medical Center, Chicago).
Dr. O'Toole is the director of the spinal oncology service at Rush University Medical Center. He also serves as an assistant professor of neurological surgery and has a professional interest in minimally invasive spine surgery, spinal oncology and complex spine reconstruction. In addition to his clinical practice, Dr. O'Toole does research on clinical outcomes for spine surgery, image-guided spine surgery and evidence-based guideline development. He earned his medical degree at Harvard Medical School in Boston and completed his residency in neurological surgery at the Neurological Institute of New York at Columbus-Presbyterian Medical Center in New York City. His additional training includes a fellowship in spine surgery at the University of Chicago.

Rod J. Oskouian Jr., MD (Swedish Neuroscience Institute, Seattle).
Dr. Oskouian is the surgical director for spinal tumors and spinal trauma at Swedish Neuroscience Institute. He has a special interest in treating complex spine disorders, deformities, revision surgery and spinal oncology. In addition to his clinical work, Dr. Oskouian's research focuses on several areas of the spine, including scoliosis and minimally invasive spine surgery. He has published articles in several professional journals, such as the Journal of Neurosurgery and Spine. Dr. Oskouian earned his medical degree at the University of California, Los Angeles School of Medicine and completed his residency at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. His additional training includes a fellowship in neurosurgery at the New Zealand national 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.

Daniel Refai, MD (Emory Orthopaedics & Spine Center, Emory University, Atlanta).
Dr. Refai is the director of spinal oncology surgery at the Emory Spine Center. Dr. Refai focuses on both intradural and extradural spinal tumors as well as metastatic and primary tumors of the spine. He performs complex spine tumor surgery and spine reconstruction surgery. He also directs the stereotatic radiosurgery division of the Emory Spine Center for spine tumor treatment. Dr. Refai's research interests include outcome analysis following surgery and radiosurgery for spine tumors. He has published extensively on the treatment of spinal disorders and has development innovative multidisciplinary approaches for treatment. He is a member of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, Congress of Neurological Surgeons and the North American Spine Society. Dr. Refai earned his medical degree from the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine and completed residency at Washington University in Saint Louis. His additional training includes a fellowship in neurosurgical and orthopaedic spine surgery at Cleveland Clinic, as well as a Howard Hughes Medical Research Fellow at the National Institutes of Health.

John H. Shin, MD (Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston). Dr. Shin is Director of the MGH Center for Spine Metastases, a multidisciplinary program providing comprehensive oncology treatment options for patients with spinal metastases. He is also Co-Director of the Stereotactic Spine Radiosurgery program. Dr. Shin is a neurosurgeon, specializing in spine tumor surgery, complex spine reconstruction and minimally invasive spine surgery. He has developed innovative minimally invasive techniques for spine tumors as well as clinical and research protocols for combination treatment strategies for spinal metastases. He has published extensively on the treatment of spinal disorders and is faculty of the Harvard Medical School. Dr. Shin completed his neurosurgery residency at the University of Illinois in Chicago and completed a combined neurosurgery and orthopedic spine surgery fellowship at the Cleveland Clinic. He also received additional fellowship training in spine radiosurgery at the Cleveland Clinic. He is a member of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, Congress of Neurological Surgeons and the North American Spine Society.

Meic Schmidt, MD (University of Utah School of Medicine, Salt Lake City). Dr. Schmidt is the director of the spinal oncology service at Huntsman Cancer Institute in Salt Lake City. He is also the chief of the spine surgery division and director of the neurosurgery spine fellowship at the University of Utah. He has a special interest in minimally invasive spine surgery, spinal cord neoplasms and complex brain tumors. Dr. Schmidt earned his medical degree at the Medical College of Wisconsin, where he also completed his residency in neurosurgery. His additional training includes a clinical fellowship in neuro-oncology and spine surgery at the University of California, San Francisco.

Richard M. Spiro, MD (University of Pittsburgh Medical Center).
Dr. Spiro is the director of the adult spine service and director of spinal oncology at the University of Pittsburgh. He also serves as an assistant professor of neurological surgery. He has a special interest in spinal reconstruction, minimally invasive treatment and spinal tumors. In addition to his clinical practice, Dr. Spiro is a member of several professional organizations, such as the North American Spine Society, American Association of Neurological Surgeons and Congress of Neurological Surgeons. He earned his medical degree at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine and completed his neurological surgery training at the University of Pittsburgh.  

Frank Vrionis, MD (Moffitt Cancer Center, Tampa, Fla.).
Dr. Vrionis is the director of complex spine surgery and skull base surgery in the department of neuro-oncology at Moffitt Cancer Center. He is the founder and director of Moffitt's Spine Oncology Fellowship Program and serves as a professor at the University of South Florida College of Medicine. Dr. Vrionis has a special interest in benign and malignant tumors of the brain and spinal cord and has served as a scientific advisor for companies such as Orthofix and Stryker. He earned his medical degree at the University of Athens School of Medicine and completed his residency in neurosurgery at Tufts University in Boston. His additional training includes a fellowship in skull base surgery at the University of Tennessee 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.


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