Christopher P. Ames MD
Professor of Clinical Neurological Surgery
Director of Spine Tumor & Spinal Deformity Surgery
Co-director, Spinal Surgery and UCSF Spine Center
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 and is ranked in the top 1% of all US Neurosurgeons for spinal tumor surgery and complex spinal reconstruction by US News and World Report. He was named to the 2012 San Francisco Super Doctor List by the San Francisco Chronicle and is both a Castle Connelly Top Surgeon and Top Doctor for Cancer for 2012.
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 is internationally recognized for his work in spine tumor and deformity surgery. In the two years, he has been the honored international guest lecturer of the Australian Spine Society, the Kuwait Neurosurgical Society, the Korean Spine Society and the Asian Pacific Spine Society. He has served as chairman for 12 national courses to teach advanced tumor and deformity techniques to neurosurgeons.
Dr. Ames also serves as the UCSF site director for the International Spinal Deformity Study Group and directs the Neurosurgical Spinal Deformity service which performs over 200 cases per year for correction of scoliosis, kyphosis, flat back, chin on chest deformity in ankylosing spondylitis, basilar invagination in rheumatoid arthritis, spondylolisthesis and postoperative deformity. His clinical interest focuses on the use of pedicle subtraction osteotomy and vertebral resection to achieve optimal deformity correction.
Dr. Ames has published extensively in spinal biomechanics in tumor reconstruction and spinal deformity treatment. He is the 2005 winner of the prestigious International Society for Study of the Lumbar Spine research award for his work on spinal fusion in tumor reconstructions requiring radiation therapy (http://www.issls.org/). Currently, Dr. Ames is the principal investigator in 5 randomized prospective clinical trials evaluating novel mechanisms of spinal reconstruction in tumor surgery and spinal deformity.
In December 2005, Dr. Ames was sought out by the NBC show "Three Wishes" to perform surgery for a patient with severe scoliosis. Although she had been previously told that she would remain permanently paralyzed, the operation allowed her to walk again. For more information, see the The Daily Star's report: http://www.hammondstar.com/articles/2005/12/02/top_stories/news01.txt
Recently, Dr. Ames was featured on abc 7 when he performed a ground-breaking surgery to remove a spinal cord tumor from a patient in Northern California. Watch the story here.
Education, Training, and Previous Positions
- 1989: BA, Dartmouth College
- 1994: MD, University of California, Los Angeles
- 1994-1995: Surgical Internship, University of California, San Diego
- 1995-2000: Resident in Neurological Surgery, University of California, San Diego
- 2001-2002: Spine Fellow, Barrow Neurological Institute, Phoenix, Arizona
- 2002-Present: Department of Neurological Surgery, UCSF
Selected Professional Memberships and Appointments
- The Cervical Spine Research Society
- The International Society for Study of the Lumbar Spine (ISSLS)
- Candidate, Scoliosis Research Society
Selected Honors and Awards
- 1989: Cum Laude, Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH
- 1994: Alpha Omega Alpha Medical Honor Society, University of California, Los Angeles
- 2001: Chairman's Prize, University of California, San Diego
- 2005: ISSLS Award
- 2010: 50 of the Best Spine Specialists in America
- 2010: America's Top Surgeons, Castle Connolly
2011: America's Top Doctors for Cancer, Castle Connolly
Selected Recent Publications
Williams BJ, Smith JS, Fu KM, Hamilton DK, Polly DW Jr, Ames CP, Berven SH, Perra JH, Knapp DR Jr, McCarthy RE, Shaffrey CI. Does BMP increase the incidence of perioperative complications in spinal fusion? A comparison of 55,862 cases of spinal fusion with and without BMP. Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2011 Mar 9. [Epub ahead of print]
Scheer JK, Tang JA, Deviren V, Buckley JM, Pekmezci M, McClellan RT, Ames CP. Biomechanical Analysis of Revision Strategies for Rod Fracture in Pedicle Subtraction Osteotomy. Neurosurgery. 2011 Feb 16. [Epub ahead of print]
Park J, Scheer JK, Lim TJ, Deviren V, Ames CP. Biomechanical analysis of Goel technique for C1-2 fusion. J Neurosurg Spine. 2011 Feb 18. [Epub ahead of print]
Fu KM, Smith JS, Polly DW, Ames CP, Berven SH, Perra JH, McCarthy RE, Knapp DR, Shaffrey CI; the Scoliosis Research Society Morbidity and Mortality Committee. Correlation of higher preoperative American Society of Anesthesiology grade and increased morbidity and mortality rates in patients undergoing spine surgery. J Neurosurg Spine 2011;14(4):470-4.
Scheer JK, Tang JA, Buckley JM, Deviren V, Pekmezci M, McClellan RT, Ames CP. Biomechanical analysis of osteotomy type and rod diameter for treatment of cervicothoracic kyphosis. Spine (Phila Pa 1976) 2011;36(8):E519-23.
Scheer JK, Tang JA, Deviren V, Acosta F, Buckley JM, Pekmezci M, McClellan RT, Ames CP. Biomechanical analysis of cervicothoracic junction osteotomy in cadaveric model of ankylosing spondylitis: effect of rod material and diameter. J Neurosurg Spine 2011;14(3):330-5.
Fu KM, Smith JS, Polly DW, Ames CP, Berven SH, Perra JH, Glassman SD, McCarthy RE, Knapp DR, Shaffrey CI; Scoliosis Research Society Morbidity and Mortality Committee. Morbidity and mortality associated with spinal surgery in children: a review of the Scoliosis Research Society morbidity and mortality database. J Neurosurg Pediatr 2011;7(1):37-41.
Reames DL, Smith JS, Fu KM, Polly DW Jr, Ames CP, Berven SH, Perra JH, Glassman SD, McCarthy RE, Knapp DR Jr, Heary R, Shaffrey CI; Scoliosis Research Society Morbidity and Mortality Committee. Complications in the Surgical Treatment of 19,360 cases of Pediatric Scoliosis: A Review of the Scoliosis Research Society Database. Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2011 Jan 5. [Epub ahead of print]
El-Sayed IH, Wu JC, Ames CP, Balamurali G, Mummaneni PV. Combined transnasal and transoral endoscopic approaches to the craniovertebral junction. J Craniovertebr Junction Spine 2010;1(1):44-8.
Acosta FL Jr, Sanai N, Cloyd J, Deviren V, Chou D, Ames CP. Treatment of Enneking Stage 3 Aggressive Vertebral Hemangiomas With Intralesional Spondylectomy: Report of 10 Cases and Review of the Literature. J Spinal Disord Tech. 2010 Sep 14. [Epub ahead of print]