10 power players in spine surgery


Several spine surgeon leaders have advanced the specialty through their leadership and innovation.

Here are 10 power players in spine surgery:

Editor's note: Leaders are listed in alphabetical order by last name.

Robert Bray Jr. MD. Dr. Bray is founder and CEO of DISC Sports and Spine Center in Newport Beach, Calif. He is an early pioneer of minimally invasive spine surgery. His practice recently landed private equity investment, and he plans to grow its reach.

Edward Dohring, MD. Dr. Dohring is the 2021-2022 president of the North American Spine Society. He has practiced in Arizona since 1993 and works at the Spine Institute of Arizona in Scottsdale.

Brian Gantwerker, MD. Dr. Gantwerker is an active member of the North American Spine Society. In 2021, he earned NASS' Advocacy Award for his involvement on the advocacy council, legislative committee and political engagement committee. He's also moderated and served as a representative at several NASS advocacy events. He works at Craniospinal Center of Los Angeles in Santa Monica, Calif.

Todd Lanman, MD. Dr. Lanman is known for his work with artificial disc replacement at his practice in Beverly Hills, Calif. He has been a principal medical investigator for motion preserving and artificial disc clinical trials. In 2021, he expanded his practice to Florida.

Lawrence Lenke, MD. Dr. Lenke is a leader in spinal deformity surgery, and his practice is exclusively focused on it. He developed the classification system for adolescent idiopathic scoliosis. Dr. Lenke is also surgeon-in-chief at NewYork-Presbyterian Och Spine Hospital in New York City.

Isador Lieberman, MD. Dr. Lieberman established the scoliosis and spine tumor program at the Texas Back Institute in Plano. He is president of the medical staff at Texas Health Plano Hospital and Texas Back Institute. Along with his clinical work, he has helped develop multiple spine implants.

Alok Sharan, MD. Dr. Sharan, of NJ Spine and Wellness in East Brunswick, is an early adopter of awake spine surgery. He has taught awake techniques to multiple surgeons, including a neurosurgeon in the United Kingdom.

Alex Vaccaro, MD, PhD. Dr. Vaccaro, president of Philadelphia-based Rothman Orthopaedic Institute, was named the top-rated spine expert by Expertscape. He has more than 900 peer-reviewed publications and 200 non-peer-reviewed publications. He has plans to expand Rothman into its fifth state in 2022.

Jeffrey Wang, MD. Dr. Wang is a past president of the North American Spine Society and Cervical Spine Research Society. He's co-director of the spine center at Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California in Los Angeles

Vijay Yanamadala, MD. Dr. Yanamadala was the first surgeon to perform an awake spinal fusion in New England. He also was the second surgeon in the world to use Carlsmed's patient-specific spine implant. 

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