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. Lau D, Chan AK, Deverin V, Ames CP. Does prior spine surgery or instrumentation affect surgical outcomes following 3-column osteotomy for correction of thoracolumbar deformities? Neurosurg Focus. 2017 Dec; 43(6):E8.
  2. Bae J, Theologis AA, Strom R, Tay B, Burch S, Berven S, Mummaneni PV, Chou D, Ames CP, Deviren V. Comparative analysis of 3 surgical strategies for adult spinal deformity with mild to moderate sagittal imbalance. J Neurosurg Spine. 2017 Nov 03; 1-10.
  3. Lafage R, Bess S, Glassman S, Ames C, Burton D, Hart R, Kim HJ, Klineberg E, Henry J, Line B, Scheer J, Protopsaltis T, Schwab F, Lafage V. Virtual Modeling of Postoperative Alignment After Adult Spinal Deformity Surgery Helps Predict Associations Between Compensatory Spinopelvic Alignment Changes, Overcorrection, and Proximal Junctional Kyphosis. Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2017 Oct 01; 42(19):E1119-E1125.
  4. Leung JM, Sands LP, Chen N, Ames C, Berven S, Bozic K, Burch S, Chou D, Covinsky K, Deviren V, Kinjo S, Kramer JH, Ries M, Tay B, Vail T, Weinstein P, Chang S, Meckler G, Newman S, Tsai T, Voss V, Youngblom E. Perioperative Gabapentin Does Not Reduce Postoperative Delirium in Older Surgical Patients: A Randomized Clinical Trial. Anesthesiology. 2017 Oct; 127(4):633-644.
  5. Safaee MM, Osorio JA, Verma K, Bess S, Shaffrey CI, Smith JS, Hart R, Deviren V, Ames CP. Proximal Junctional Kyphosis Prevention Strategies: A Video Technique Guide. Oper Neurosurg (Hagerstown). 2017 Oct 01; 13(5):581-585.
  6. Lafage R, Schwab F, Glassman S, Bess S, Harris B, Sheer J, Hart R, Line B, Henry J, Burton D, Kim H, Klineberg E, Ames C, Lafage V. Age-Adjusted Alignment Goals Have the Potential to Reduce PJK. Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2017 Sep 01; 42(17):1275-1282.
  7. Yagi M, Ames CP, Keefe M, Hosogane N, Smith JS, Shaffrey CI, Schwab F, Lafage V, Shay Bess R, Matsumoto M, Watanabe K. A cost-effectiveness comparisons of adult spinal deformity surgery in the United States and Japan. Eur Spine J. 2017 Aug 23.
  8. Zygourakis CC, Liu CY, Wakam G, Moriates C, Boscardin C, Ames CP, Mummaneni PV, Ratliff J, Dudley RA, Gonzales R. Geographic and Hospital Variation in Cost of Lumbar Laminectomy and Lumbar Fusion for Degenerative Conditions. Neurosurgery. 2017 Aug 01; 81(2):331-340.
  9. Jahangiri A, Chin AT, Wagner JR, Kunwar S, Ames C, Chou D, Barani I, Parsa AT, McDermott MW, Benet A, El-Sayed IH, Aghi MK. In Reply: Factors Predicting Recurrence After Resection of Clival Chordoma Using Variable Surgical Approaches and Radiation Modalities. Neurosurgery. 2017 Aug 01; 81(2):E32.
  10. Protopsaltis TS, Lafage R, Vira S, Sciubba D, Soroceanu A, Hamilton K, Smith J, Passias PG, Mundis G, Hart R, Schwab F, Klineberg E, Shaffrey C, Lafage V, Ames C. Novel Angular Measures of Cervical Deformity Account for Upper Cervical Compensation and Sagittal Alignment. Clin Spine Surg. 2017 Aug; 30(7):E959-E967.
  11. Theologis AA, Safaee M, Scheer JK, Lafage V, Hostin R, Hart RA, Klineberg EO, Protopsaltis TS, Deviren V, Burton DC, Sciubba DM, Kebaish K, Bess S, Shaffrey CI, Schwab F, Smith JS, Ames CP. Magnitude, Location, and Factors Related to Regional and Global Sagittal Alignment Change in Long Adult Deformity Constructs: Report of 183 Patients With 2-Year Follow-up. Clin Spine Surg. 2017 Aug; 30(7):E948-E953.
  12. Hamilton DK, Buza JA, Passias P, Jalai C, Kim HJ, Ailon T, Gupta M, Sciubba D, Jain A, Ames CP, Deviren V, Daniels A, Lafage V, Bess S, Klineberg E, Shaffrey CI, Smith JS, Hart R. The Fate of Patients with Adult Spinal Deformity Incurring Rod Fracture After Thoracolumbar Fusion. World Neurosurg. 2017 Jul 20.
  13. Baker JF, McClelland S, Line BG, Smith JS, Hart RA, Ames CP, Shaffrey C, Bess S. In-hospital Complications Following Lumbar Spine Surgery in Patients with Parkinson's Disease: Evaluation of the National Inpatient Sample Database. World Neurosurg. 2017 Jul 12.
  14. PellisÚ F, Vila-Casademunt A, N˙˝ez-Pereira S, Domingo-SÓbat M, Bagˇ J, Vidal X, Alanay A, Acaroglu E, KleinstŘck F, Obeid I, PÚrez-Grueso FJS, Lafage V, Bess S, Ames C, Mannion AF. The Adult Deformity Surgery Complexity Index (ADSCI): a valid tool to quantify the complexity of posterior adult spinal deformity surgery and predict postoperative complications. Spine J. 2017 Jul 04.
  15. Gomez JA, Lafage V, Scuibba DM, Bess S, Mundis GM, Liabaud B, Hanstein R, Shaffrey C, Kelly M, Ames C, Smith JS, Passias PG, Errico T, Schwab F. Adult Scoliosis Deformity Surgery: Comparison of Outcomes Between One Versus Two Attending Surgeons. Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2017 Jul 01; 42(13):992-998.
  16. Gum JL, Carreon LY, Kelly MP, Hostin R, Robinson C, Burton DC, Polly DW, Shaffrey CI, LaFage V, Schwab FJ, Ames CP, Kim HJ, Smith JS, Bess RS. Cell Saver for Adult Spinal Deformity Surgery Reduces Cost. Spine Deform. 2017 Jul; 5(4):272-276.
  17. Vasudevan HN, Raleigh DR, Johnson J, Garsa AA, Theodosopoulos PV, Aghi MK, Ames C, McDermott MW, Barani IJ, Braunstein SE. Management of Chordoma and Chondrosarcoma with Fractionated Stereotactic Radiotherapy. Front Surg. 2017; 4:35.
  18. Scheer JK, Sethi RK, Hey LA, LaGrone MO, Keefe M, Aryan HE, Errico TJ, Deviren V, Hart RA, Lafage V, Schwab F, Daubs MD, Ames CP. Results of the 2015 Scoliosis Research Society Survey on Single Versus Dual Attending Surgeon Approach for Adult Spinal Deformity Surgery. Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2017 Jun 15; 42(12):932-942.
  19. Mizutani J, Verma K, Endo K, Ishii K, Abumi K, Yagi M, Hosogane N, Yang J, Tay B, Deviren V, Ames C. Global Spinal Alignment in Cervical Kyphotic Deformity: The Importance of Head Position and Thoracolumbar Alignment in the Compensatory Mechanism. Neurosurgery. 2017 Jun 07.
  20. Neuman BJ, Ailon T, Scheer JK, Klineberg E, Sciubba DM, Jain A, Zebala LP, Passias PG, Daniels AH, Burton DC, Protopsaltis TS, Hamilton DK, Ames CP. Development and Validation of a Novel Adult Spinal Deformity Surgical Invasiveness Score: Analysis of 464 Patients. Neurosurgery. 2017 Jun 06.

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.