Christopher Ames, MD


Dr. Christopher Ames is director of spinal tumor and spinal deformity surgery at UCSF Medical Center. He also is co-director of the Neurospinal Disorders Program and the UCSF Spine Center. Ames, who is board certified by the American Board of Neurological Surgery, is a specialist in spinal reconstructive surgery for trauma, tumors and degenerative disease, particularly en bloc tumor resection for chordoma, chondrosarcoma, soft tissue sarcoma, sacral tumors and other primary and metastatic tumors. He developed and published the transpedicular approach to previously unresectable cervical and cervical thoracic tumors.

Ames directs the Neurosurgical Spinal Deformity service that treats more than 200 patients a year for correction of scoliosis, kyphosis, flat back, chin on chest deformity in ankylosing spondylitis, basilar invagination in rheumatoid arthritis, spondylolisthesis and postoperative deformity. He also performs state-of-the-art percutaneous fusion procedures and has published extensively in spinal biomechanics and the use of resorbable polymers for spinal reconstruction. 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 and is a principal investigator in five randomized prospective clinical trials evaluating novel mechanisms of spinal reconstruction in tumor surgery and spinal deformity. Ames is a professor in neurological surgery.


Brain Tumor Center
400 Parnassus Ave., Eighth Floor
San Francisco, CA 94143
Phone: (415) 353-2966
Fax: (415) 353-2167

Hours: Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Neurosurgery Clinic
400 Parnassus Ave., Eighth Floor
San Francisco, CA 94143
Phone: (415) 353-7500
Fax: (415) 353-2889

Hours: Monday to Friday
8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Spine Center
400 Parnassus Ave., Third Floor
San Francisco, CA 94143-0332
Phone: (866) 81-SPINE or (866) 817-7463
Neuro-spine Fax: (415) 353-2176

Hours: Monday to Friday
8 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Conditions & Treatments

Board Certification

Neurological Surgery, American Board of Neurological Surgery

Academic Title


More about Christopher Ames


UCLA School of Medicine 1991


UCSD Medical Center 2001


Barrow Neurological Institute, Neurosurgery 2002

Selected Research and Publications

  1. Hart RA, Rastegar F, Contag A, Kane M, Daniels A, Klineberg E, Eastlack R, Smith JS, Hostin R, Hamilton DK, Gum JL, Burton DC, Sheer JK, Ames C, Schwab F, Lafage V, Bess S, Shaffrey C, Kebaish K. Inter- and Intra-rater Reliability of the Hart-ISSG Proximal Junctional Failure Severity Scale. Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2018 Apr 15; 43(8):E461-E467.
  2. Lau D, Osorio JA, Deviren V, Ames CP. The relationship of older age and perioperative outcomes following thoracolumbar three-column osteotomy for adult spinal deformity: an analysis of 300 consecutive cases. J Neurosurg Spine. 2018 Apr 06; 1-14.
  3. Gupta S, Eksi MS, Ames CP, Deviren V, Durbin-Johnson B, Smith JS, Gupta MC. A Novel 4-Rod Technique Offers Potential to Reduce Rod Breakage and Pseudarthrosis in Pedicle Subtraction Osteotomies for Adult Spinal Deformity Correction. Oper Neurosurg (Hagerstown). 2018 Apr 01; 14(4):449-456.
  4. Miller EK, Vila-Casademunt A, Neuman BJ, Sciubba DM, Kebaish KM, Smith JS, Alanay A, Acaroglu ER, Kleinstück F, Obeid I, Sánchez Pérez-Grueso FJ, Carreon LY, Schwab FJ, Bess S, Scheer JK, Lafage V, Shaffrey CI, Pellisé F, Ames CP. External validation of the adult spinal deformity (ASD) frailty index (ASD-FI). Eur Spine J. 2018 Mar 30.
  5. Yeramaneni S, Ames CP, Bess S, Burton D, Smith JS, Glassman S, Gum JL, Carreon L, Jain A, Zygourakis C, Avramis I, Hostin R. Center variation in episode-of-care costs for adult spinal deformity surgery: results from a prospective, multicenter database. Spine J. 2018 Mar 22.
  6. Scheer JK, Lafage R, Schwab FJ, Liabaud B, Smith JS, Mundis GM, Hostin R, Shaffrey CI, Burton DC, Hart RA, Kim HJ, Bess S, Gupta M, Lafage V, Ames CP. Under Correction of Sagittal Deformities Based on Age-adjusted Alignment Thresholds Leads to Worse Health-related Quality of Life Whereas Over Correction Provides No Additional Benefit. Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2018 Mar 15; 43(6):388-393.
  7. Raad M, Jain A, Neuman BJ, Hassanzadeh H, Gupta MC, Burton DC, Mundis GM, Lafage V, Klineberg EO, Hostin RA, Ames CP, Bess S, Sciubba DM, Kebaish KM. Association of Patient-reported Narcotic Use with Short- and Long-term Outcomes After Adult Spinal Deformity Surgery: Multicenter Study of 425 Patients With 2-year Follow-up. Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2018 Mar 13.
  8. Dalle Ore CL, Lau D, Davis JL, Safaee MM, Ames CP. Rare case of a recurrent juvenile ossifying fibroma of the lumbosacral spine. J Neurosurg Spine. 2018 Mar 09; 1-7.
  9. Zygourakis CC, Liu CY, Keefe M, Moriates C, Ratliff J, Dudley RA, Gonzales R, Mummaneni PV, Ames CP. Analysis of National Rates, Cost, and Sources of Cost Variation in Adult Spinal Deformity. Neurosurgery. 2018 Mar 01; 82(3):378-387.
  10. Scheer JK, Hostin R, Robinson C, Schwab F, Lafage V, Burton DC, Hart RA, Kelly MP, Keefe M, Polly D, Bess S, Shaffrey CI, Smith JS, Ames CP. Operative Management of Adult Spinal Deformity Results in Significant Increases in QALYs Gained Compared to Nonoperative Management: Analysis of 479 Patients With Minimum 2-Year Follow-Up. Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2018 Mar 01; 43(5):339-347.
  11. Poorman GW, Passias PG, Qureshi R, Hassanzadeh H, Horn S, Bortz C, Segreto F, Jain A, Kelly M, Hostin R, Ames C, Smith J, LaFage V, Burton D, Bess S, Shaffrey C, Schwab F, Gupta M. Cost-utility analysis of cervical deformity surgeries using one-year outcome. Spine J. 2018 Feb 27.
  12. Safaee MM, Deviren V, Dalle Ore C, Scheer JK, Lau D, Osorio JA, Nicholls F, Ames CP. Ligament augmentation for prevention of proximal junctional kyphosis and proximal junctional failure in adult spinal deformity. J Neurosurg Spine. 2018 Feb 23; 1-8.
  13. Passias PG, Horn SR, Bortz CA, Ramachandran S, Burton DC, Protopsaltis T, Lafage R, Lafage V, Diebo BG, Poorman GW, Segreto FA, Smith JS, Ames C, Shaffrey CI, Kim HJ, Neuman B, Daniels AH, Soroceanu A, Klineberg E. The Relationship between Improvements in Myelopathy and Sagittal Realignment in Cervical Deformity Surgery Outcomes. Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2018 Feb 16.
  14. Fehlings MG, Kato S, Lenke LG, Nakashima H, Nagoshi N, Shaffrey CI, Cheung KMC, Carreon L, Dekutoski MB, Schwab FJ, Boachie-Adjei O, Kebaish KM, Ames CP, Qiu Y, Matsuyama Y, Dahl BT, Mehdian H, Pellisé-Urquiza F, Lewis SJ, Berven SH. Incidence and risk factors of post-operative neurological decline after complex adult spinal deformity surgery: results of the scoli-risk-1 study. Spine J. 2018 Feb 13.
  15. Passias PG, Jalai CM, Smith JS, Lafage V, Diebo BG, Protopsaltis T, Poorman G, Ramchandran S, Bess S, Shaffrey CI, Ames CP, Schwab F. Characterizing Adult Cervical Deformity and Disability Based on Existing Cervical and Adult Deformity Classification Schemes at Presentation and Following Correction. Neurosurgery. 2018 Feb 01; 82(2):192-201.
  16. Goldschmidt E, Angriman F, Ferreyro B, Agarwal N, Zhou J, Chen K, Tempel ZJ, Gerszten PC, Kanter AS, Okonkwo DO, Passias P, Scheer J, Protopsaltis T, Lafage V, Lafage R, Schwab F, Bess S, Ames C, Smith JS, Burton D, Hamilton DK. Design and Testing of 2 Novel Scores That Predict Global Sagittal Alignment Utilizing Cervical or Lumbar Plain Radiographs. Neurosurgery. 2018 Feb 01; 82(2):163-171.
  17. Reid DBC, Daniels AH, Ailon T, Miller E, Sciubba DM, Smith JS, Shaffrey CI, Schwab F, Burton D, Hart RA, Hostin R, Line B, Bess S, Ames CP. Frailty and Health-Related Quality of Life Improvement Following Adult Spinal Deformity Surgery. World Neurosurg. 2018 Apr; 112:e548-e554.
  18. Safaee MM, Ames CP, Deviren V, Clark AJ. Minimally Invasive Lateral Retroperitoneal Approach for Resection of Extraforaminal Lumbar Plexus Schwannomas: Operative Techniques and Literature Review. Oper Neurosurg (Hagerstown). 2018 Jan 17.
  19. Smith JS, Shaffrey CI, Kim HJ, Passias P, Protopsaltis T, Lafage R, Mundis GM, Klineberg E, Lafage V, Schwab FJ, Scheer JK, Miller E, Kelly M, Hamilton DK, Gupta M, Deviren V, Hostin R, Albert T, Riew KD, Hart R, Burton D, Bess S, Ames CP. Prospective Multicenter Assessment of All-Cause Mortality Following Surgery for Adult Cervical Deformity. Neurosurgery. 2018 Jan 17.
  20. Langella F, Villafañe JH, Lafage V, Smith JS, Shaffrey C, Kim HJ, Burton D, Hostin R, Bess S, Ames C, Mundis G, Klineberg E, Schwab F, Lafage R, Berjano P. Xipho-pubic angle (XPA) correlates with patient's reported outcomes in a population of adult spinal deformity: results from a multi-center cohort study. Eur Spine J. 2018 Mar; 27(3):670-677.

Publications are derived from MEDLINE/PubMed and provided by UCSF Profiles, a service of the Clinical & Translational Science Institute (CTSI) at UCSF. Researchers can make corrections and additions to their publications by logging on to UCSF Profiles.