When I was a resident at Bellevue Hospital, a 16-year-old boy came in with a spine fracture and paralysis of his feet. The attending physician and I performed surgery, placing rods in his back to straighten his collapsed spine. In the recovery room, the boy moved his feet. In that moment, I knew what a privilege it would be to perform procedures that could help people the way we had just helped this boy.
I am now the chief of the Division of Spine Surgery here at NYU Langone. I lead a team that is adept at handling a wide range of spinal problems, including degenerative issues and spinal deformity, in patients of all ages, from babies to 90-year-olds.
The spine does not belong to a specialty. It belongs to the patient. Our job is to use teamwork and collaboration to offer patients the best results from treatment for spine conditions. Therefore, our team brings together many different specialists, including radiologists, physiatrists, plastic surgeons, neurosurgeons, orthopaedic surgeons, pediatricians, internists, and adult and pediatric hospitalists.
There is a long history of caring for people with spine problems at NYU Langone. There have been tremendous pioneers and leaders in international spine surgery that have worked and studied here, and our experts bring an enormous amount of skill and compassion to the field. What is perhaps most striking about our division is its collaborative environment. Our doctors turn to their colleagues for advice and opinions. This teamwork approach renders the best treatment plan for each patient.
We are involved in pediatric spine surgery research as part of the Harms Study Group, which is supported by the Setting Scoliosis Straight Foundation, and adult spine surgery research as part of the International Spine Study Group. Collaborating with other surgeons in these groups allows us to produce literature aimed at improving the surgical outcomes for the patients we care for.
Being a surgeon is gratifying, but simply being a physician is a privilege. It allows me to use my life’s work to improve people’s lives. Therefore, my foremost goal in treatment, even as a surgeon, is to help people get better without the need for a surgical procedure. I achieve as much joy and satisfaction from finding ways to solve people’s spine problems without surgery as I do from creating a cure with a procedure.
Conditions and Treatments
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- Professor, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery
- Professor, Department of Neurosurgery
- Chief Division Spine Surgery TH
- American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery - Orthopaedic Surgery, 1986
Education and Training
- Fellowship, Toronto General Hospital, Spine Surgery, 1984
- Residency, NYU Medical Center, Orthopedics, 1983
- MD from Rutgers State University, 1978
Locations and Appointments
- Aetna HMO
- Aetna Indemnity
- Aetna Medicare
- Aetna POS
- Aetna PPO/EPO
- Cigna EPO/POS
- Cigna PPO
- Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield EPO
- Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield HMO
- Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield Indemnity
- Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield MediBlue
- Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield POS
- Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield PPO
- Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield Pathways, Enhanced
- GHI CBP
- HIP Essential
- HIP Medicaid
- HealthSmart (WTC)
- Healthfirst Essential
- Humana Medicare
- Independent Care System New York
- MagnaCare PPO
- MultiPlan/PHCS PPO
- NJ Medicaid
- NYS Empire Plan
- Oxford Freedom
- Oxford Liberty
- Oxford Medicare
- UnitedHealthcare Core and Charter
- Village Caremax
- Visiting Nurse Service (VNS) Medicare
- Workers Comp
Clinical and Radiographic Evaluation of Adult Spinal Deformity
Bess, Shay; Protopsaltis, Themistocles S; Lafage, Virginie; Lafage, Renaud; Ames, Christopher P; Errico, Thomas; Smith, Justin S
Journal of spinal disorders & techniques. 2016 Feb . 29 (1): 6-16
When is compensation for lumbar spinal stenosis a clinical sagittal plane deformity?
Buckland, Aaron J; Vira, Shaleen; Oren, Jonathan H; Lafage, Renaud; Harris, Bradley Y; Spiegel, Matthew A; Diebo, Bassel G; Liabaud, Barthelemy; Protopsaltis, Themistocles S; Schwab, Frank J; Lafage, Virginie; Errico, Thomas J; Bendo, John A
Spine journal. 2016 Apr 5. ?-?
Use of Recombinant Bone Morphogenetic Protein Is Associated With Reduced Risk of Reoperation After Spine Fusion for Adult Spinal Deformity
Paul, Justin C; Lonner, Baron S; Vira, Shaleen; Kaye, Ian David; Errico, Thomas J
Spine. 2016 Jan . 41 (1): E15-E21