Research Summary

Professor of Clinical Neurological Surgery and Orthopaedic Surgery
Director of Spinal Deformity & Spine Tumor Surgery
Co-director, Spinal Surgery and UCSF Spine Center
Director, California Deformity Institute
Director, Spinal Biomechanics Laboratory

Dr. Ames is the director of spinal deformity and spine tumor surgery and co-director of the combined high risk spine service, the Neurospinal Disorders Program, and the UCSF Spine Center. He is board certified in neurosurgery. He was named to the 2015-2019 Top Doctors lists in San Francisco Magazine, and among America’s Top Doctors for both neurosurgery and cancer from 2010 to 2019. His tumor practice focuses on en bloc tumor resection for chordoma, chondrosarcoma, giant cell tumor, soft tissue sarcoma, sacral tumors, and other primary and metastatic tumors. While at UCSF, Dr. Ames developed and published the transpedicular approach to previously unresectable cervical and cervical thoracic tumors. He serves as Spine Section Lead editor for Operative Neurosurgery.

Dr. Ames serves as the UCSF site director for the International Spinal Deformity Study Group and the AO Scoli-Risk Study. He also directs the neurosurgical spinal deformity service, which performs over 200 cases per year for correction of scoliosis, kyphosis, flat back, and chin-on-chest deformity in ankylosing spondylitis. His research work in spinal deformity has won the prestigious Hibbs award, as well as the Moe award, the Goldstein award, and Whitecloud awards from the Scoliosis Research Society. Dr Ames developed and published the first ever classification for cervical spine deformity and cervical osteotomy with the international spine study group. He is known for developing many innovative concepts to allow safer treatment planning and risk characterization for complex spine surgery such as the adult deformity frailty index, the adult deformity invasiveness index and co-founding and directing the non profit research group Global Spine Analytics which has pioneered the use of Artificial Intelligence Decision Support Tools for Adult Scoliosis and Deformity Surgery. In 2019 Dr Ames published the first Machine Learning based Adult Scoliosis Classification.

He is internationally recognized for his work in spine tumor, deformity, scoliosis and cervical kyphosis and has published over 400 peer-reviewed publications. He has been the honored international guest lecturer of the Australian Spine Society, the Argentine Spine Society, Berlin Spine Society, Brazilian Spine Society, the Japanese Orthopedic Association and the Japanese Neurosurgical Society, the Korean Spine Society, and the Asian Pacific Spine Society. He has served as chairman for over 100 national and international courses to teach advanced tumor and deformity techniques to neurosurgeons and orthopedic surgeons around the world and has been visiting professor at Hospital for Special Surgery, UCLA, and Massachusetts General Hospital.

Research Funding

  • January 21, 2021 - January 21, 2021 - ROSE Study, Co-Investigator. Sponsor: , Sponsor Award ID:
  • January 21, 2021 - January 21, 2021 - Telomere Study, Co-Investigator. Sponsor: , Sponsor Award ID:
  • January 21, 2021 - January 21, 2021 - PON Study, Co-Investigator. Sponsor: , Sponsor Award ID:
  • January 21, 2021 - January 21, 2021 - Myers Briggs Study, Co-Investigator. Sponsor: , Sponsor Award ID:

Education

Dartmouth College, BA, 1989
University of California, Los Angeles, MD, 1994
University of California, San Diego, 1994-1995, Surgical Internship
University of California, San Diego, 1995-2000, Resident, Neurological Surgery
Barrow Neurological Institute, Phoenix, Arizona, 2001-2002, Spine Fellow

Honors & Awards

  • 2017
    Scoliosis Research Society GOLDSTEIN Award
  • 2015 - 2017
    Top Doctors in Neurosurgery - San Francisco Magazine
  • 2015
    North American Spine Society Value Award
  • 2010 -2016
    Americaʻs Top Surgeons, Castle Connolly
  • 2010 -2016
    Americaʻs Top Doctors for Cancer, Castle Connolly
  • 2011 -2012
    US News and World Report Top 1% Neurosurgeons in Country
  • 2001
    University of California, San Diego, Chairmanʻs Prize
  • 1994
    University of California, Los Angeles, CAAlpha Omega Alpha Medical Honor Society
  • 1989
    Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH, Cum Laude

Selected Publications

  1. Le HV, Wick JB, Lafage R, Mundis GM, Eastlack RK, Bess S, Burton DC, Ames CP, Smith JS, Passias PG, Gupta MC, Lafage V, Klineberg EO, International Spine Study Group . Association of findings on preoperative extension lateral cervical radiography with osteotomy type, approach, and postoperative cervical alignment after cervical deformity surgery. J Neurosurg Spine. 2021 Sep 03; 1-6.  View on PubMed
  2. Gum JL, Line B, Carreon LY, Hostin RA, Yeramaneni S, Glassman SD, Burton DL, Smith JS, Shaffrey CI, Passias PG, Lafage V, Ames CP, Shay Bess R, International Spine Study Group . Reaching the medicare allowable threshold in adult spinal deformity surgery: multicenter cost analysis comparing actual direct hospital costs versus what the government will pay. Spine Deform. 2021 Sep 01.  View on PubMed
  3. Lafage R, Smith JS, Elysee J, Passias P, Bess S, Klineberg E, Kim HJ, Shaffrey C, Burton D, Hostin R, Mundis G, Ames C, Schwab F, Lafage V, International Spine Study Group (ISSG) . Sagittal age-adjusted score (SAAS) for adult spinal deformity (ASD) more effectively predicts surgical outcomes and proximal junctional kyphosis than previous classifications. Spine Deform. 2021 Aug 30.  View on PubMed
  4. Lenke LG, Zuckerman SL, Cerpa M, Shaffrey CI, Carreon LY, Cheung KMC, Kelly MP, Fehlings MG, Ames CP, Boachie-Adjei O, Dekutoski MB, Kebaish KM, Lewis SJ, Matsuyama Y, Pellisé F, Qiu Y, Schwab FJ, Smith JS, AO Spine Knowledge Forum Deformity and SRS Scoli-RISK-1 Study Group . The Scoli-RISK 1 results of lower extremity motor function 5 years after complex adult spinal deformity surgery. Eur Spine J. 2021 Aug 30.  View on PubMed
  5. Buell TJ, Shaffrey CI, Kim HJ, Klineberg EO, Lafage V, Lafage R, Protopsaltis TS, Passias PG, Mundis GM, Eastlack RK, Deviren V, Kelly MP, Daniels AH, Gum JL, Soroceanu A, Hamilton DK, Gupta MC, Burton DC, Hostin RA, Kebaish KM, Hart RA, Schwab FJ, Bess S, Ames CP, Smith JS, International Spine Study Group (ISSG) . Global coronal decompensation and adult spinal deformity surgery: comparison of upper-thoracic versus lower-thoracic proximal fixation for long fusions. J Neurosurg Spine. 2021 Aug 27; 1-13.  View on PubMed
  6. Scheer JK, Haddad AF, Chan AK, Eichler CM, Tay B, Burch S, Chou D, Ames CP, Mummaneni PV. Lymphocele after anterior lumbar interbody fusion: a review of 1322 patients. J Neurosurg Spine. 2021 Aug 20; 1-7.  View on PubMed
  7. Buell TJ, Shaffrey CI, Bess S, Kim HJ, Klineberg EO, Lafage V, Lafage R, Protopsaltis TS, Passias PG, Mundis GM, Eastlack RK, Deviren V, Kelly MP, Daniels AH, Gum JL, Soroceanu A, Hamilton DK, Gupta MC, Burton DC, Hostin RA, Kebaish KM, Hart RA, Schwab FJ, Ames CP, Smith JS, International Spine Study Group . Multicenter assessment of outcomes and complications associated with transforaminal versus anterior lumbar interbody fusion for fractional curve correction. J Neurosurg Spine. 2021 Aug 20; 1-14.  View on PubMed
  8. Smith JS, Shaffrey CI, Baldus CR, Kelly MP, Yanik EL, Lurie JD, Ames CP, Bess S, Schwab FJ, Bridwell KH. Orthopedic disease burden in adult patients with symptomatic lumbar scoliosis: results from a prospective multicenter study. J Neurosurg Spine. 2021 Aug 20; 1-9.  View on PubMed
  9. Safaee MM, Haddad AF, Fury M, Maloney PR, Scheer JK, Lau D, Deviren V, Ames CP. Reduced proximal junctional failure with ligament augmentation in adult spinal deformity: a series of 242 cases with a minimum 1-year follow-up. J Neurosurg Spine. 2021 Aug 20; 1-9.  View on PubMed
  10. Passias PG, Brown AE, Bortz C, Pierce K, Alas H, Ahmad W, Passfall L, Kummer N, Krol O, Lafage R, Lafage V, Burton D, Hart R, Anand N, Mundis G, Neuman B, Line B, Shaffrey C, Klineberg E, Smith J, Ames C, Schwab FJ, Bess S, International Spine Study Group . A Risk-Benefit Analysis of Increasing Surgical Invasiveness Relative to Frailty Status in Adult Spinal Deformity Surgery. Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2021 Aug 15; 46(16):1087-1096.  View on PubMed
  11. Sheikh Alshabab B, Gupta MC, Lafage R, Bess S, Shaffrey C, Kim HJ, Ames CP, Burton DC, Smith JS, Eastlack RK, Klineberg EO, Mundis GM, Schwab FJ, Lafage V, International Spine Study Group (ISSG) . Does Achieving Global Spinal Alignment Lead to Higher Patient Satisfaction and Lower Disability in Adult Spinal Deformity? Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2021 Aug 15; 46(16):1105-1110.  View on PubMed
  12. Passias PG, Brown AE, Bortz C, Alas H, Pierce K, Ahmad W, Naessig S, Lafage R, Lafage V, Hassanzadeh H, Labaran LA, Ames C, Burton DC, Gum J, Hart R, Hostin R, Kebaish KM, Neuman BJ, Bess S, Line B, Shaffrey C, Smith J, Schwab F, Klineberg E, International Spine Study Group . Increasing Cost Efficiency in Adult Spinal Deformity Surgery: Identifying Predictors of Lower Total Costs. Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2021 Aug 13.  View on PubMed
  13. Daniels AH, Durand WM, Steinbaum AJ, Lafage R, Hamilton DK, Passias PG, Kim HJ, Protopsaltis T, Lafage V, Smith JS, Shaffrey C, Gupta M, Klineberg EO, Schwab F, Gum JL, Mundis G, Eastlack R, Kebaish K, Soroceanu A, Hostin RA, Burton D, Bess S, Ames C, Hart RA, ISSG . Examination of Adult Spinal Deformity Patients Undergoing Surgery with Implanted Spinal Cord Stimulators and Intrathecal Pumps. Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2021 Jul 23.  View on PubMed
  14. Neuman BJ, Harris AB, Klineberg EO, Hostin RA, Protopsaltis TS, Passias PG, Gum JL, Hart RA, Kelly MP, Daniels AH, Ames CP, Shaffrey CI, Kebaish KM, and the International Spine Study Group . Defining a Surgical Invasiveness Threshold for Increased Risk of a Major Complication Following Adult Spinal Deformity Surgery. Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2021 Jul 15; 46(14):931-938.  View on PubMed
  15. Gum JL, Shasti M, Yeramaneni S, Carreon LY, Hostin RA, Kelly MP, Lafage V, Smith JS, Passias PG, Kebaish K, Shaffrey CI, Burton DL, Ames CP, Schwab FJ, Protopsaltis T, Bess RS, ISSG . Improvement in SRS-22R Self-Image Correlate Most with Patient Satisfaction after 3-Column Osteotomy. Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2021 Jun 15; 46(12):822-827.  View on PubMed
  16. Scheer JK, Lenke LG, Smith JS, Lau D, Passias PG, Kim HJ, Bess S, Protopsaltis TS, Burton DC, Klineberg EO, Lafage V, Schwab F, Shaffrey CI, Ames CP. Outcomes of Surgical Treatment for One Hundred Thirty-Eight Patients With Severe Sagittal Deformity at a Minimum 2-Year Follow-up: A Case Series. Oper Neurosurg (Hagerstown). 2021 Jun 10.  View on PubMed
  17. Passias PG, Pierce KE, Brown AE, Bortz CA, Alas H, Lafage R, Lafage V, Line B, Klineberg EO, Burton DC, Hart R, Daniels AH, Bess S, Diebo B, Protopsaltis T, Eastlack R, Shaffrey CI, Schwab FJ, Smith JS, Ames C, On Behalf Of The International Spine Study Group . Redefining cervical spine deformity classification through novel cutoffs: An assessment of the relationship between radiographic parameters and functional neurological outcomes. J Craniovertebr Junction Spine. 2021 Apr-Jun; 12(2):157-164.  View on PubMed
  18. Bannwarth M, Smith JS, Bess S, Klineberg EO, Ames CP, Mundis GM, Kim HJ, Lafage R, Gupta MC, Burton DC, Shaffrey CI, Schwab FJ, Lafage V, International Spine Study Group (ISSG) . Use of rhBMP-2 for adult spinal deformity surgery: patterns of usage and changes over the past decade. Neurosurg Focus. 2021 06; 50(6):E4.  View on PubMed
  19. Horn SR, Passias PG, Passfall L, Lafage R, Smith JS, Poorman GW, Steinmetz LM, Bortz CA, Segreto FA, Diebo B, Hart R, Burton D, Shaffrey CI, Sciubba DM, Klineberg EO, Protopsaltis TS, Schwab FJ, Bess S, Lafage V, Ames C, International Spine Study Group (ISSG) . Improvement in some Ames-ISSG cervical deformity classification modifier grades may correlate with clinical improvement. J Clin Neurosci. 2021 Jul; 89:297-304.  View on PubMed
  20. Kim HJ, Yao YC, Bannwarth M, Smith JS, Klineberg EO, Mundis GM, Protopsaltis TS, Charles-Elysee J, Bess S, Shaffrey CI, Passias PG, Schwab FJ, Ames CP, Lafage V, International Spine Study Group (ISSG) . Cervicothoracic Versus Proximal Thoracic Lower Instrumented Vertebra Have Comparable Radiographic and Clinical Outcomes in Adult Cervical Deformity. Global Spine J. 2021 May 20; 21925682211017478.  View on PubMed

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