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Lee A. Tan


Complex spinal deformity surgeon

Dr. Lee Tan is a neurosurgeon with expertise in both minimally invasive and traditional open surgical techniques for patients with various spinal disorders. The conditions he treats include scoliosis, kyphosis, flat back syndrome, chin-on-chest deformity, cervical disc herniation, cervical stenosis, ossification of the posterior longitudinal ligament, lumbar disc herniation, spinal stenosis and spondylolisthesis. Trained in neurological and orthopedic spine surgery, he can assess patients from an interdisciplinary perspective.

Tan's research interests include spinal biomechanics, motion-preservation surgical techniques and improving surgical outcomes for patients with spinal deformities.

Tan received his medical degree from the Indiana University School of Medicine. He then completed a residency in neurological surgery at Rush University Medical Center, followed by a fellowship in complex spine surgery at Columbia University Irving Medical Center.

Tan is a member of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, Congress of Neurological Surgeons and North American Spine Society.

  • Education

    Indiana University School of Medicine, 2010

  • Fellowships

    Columbia University Medical Center, Adult and Pediatric Comprehensive Spine, 2017

  • Board Certifications

    Neurological Surgery, American Board of Neurological Surgery

  • Academic Title

    Assistant Professor

  • Languages


My training in both neurosurgery and orthopedic spine surgery allows me to evaluate spinal disorders from an interdisciplinary perspective.

Where I see patients (2)

    My reviews


    Overall Experience
    469 Ratings
    About our process
    Jul 01, 2023
    Being treated by UCSF instead of being treated up here in Santa Rosa was much better and to care the procedures my surgery everything much better thank you
    Jun 28, 2023
    Dr Tan really took time to explain the severity of my situation and he showed concern that reassures me this is what I have to do to live a quality life
    Jun 24, 2023
    Great great great. Once again I could not be happier
    Jun 22, 2023
    Jun 03, 2023
    I was channeled to DR Tan. I did not select which physician specialty I needed nor asked which If there was a specific one I needed to see. My disappointment stems from after months of waiting for this appointment and significant travel time being told that DR Tan's specialty is surgery which is not what we were searching for . To improve the intake process It should have acknowledged what type of mds are available rather than just assigning me one. In this case it was a complete waste of our and his time. Added to the pain was his inability to offer a local practitioner In South Bay who we could search for.
    Jun 02, 2023
    Dr. Lee Tan is a wonderful doctor he listens to his patients and really cares about their well being !
    May 25, 2023
    After 13 years finally someome listened and observed. Thank you.
    May 01, 2023
    I routinely recommend Dr. Tan to people with spine injuries.
    Apr 29, 2023
    Dr Tan has a terrific staff that always responds to my emails or calls promptly. Dr Tan is an amazing surgeon. The surgery he did to stabilize C2/3 litterally saved my life. I was in so much pain before the surgery. I can't thank Dr Tan and his staff enough.
    Apr 27, 2023
    Dr Tan and his surgical team is amazing!!
    Apr 26, 2023
    Dr. Tan has been by far the most knowledgeable and compassionate surgeon we have encountered on this long and difficult journey. We couldn't be more grateful for the confidence and hope he has given us.
    Apr 16, 2023
    Dr. Tan is a very good surgeon. My outcome thus far from the procedure is very disappointing. I am hopeful things will improve.
    Apr 14, 2023
    Dr. Tan seems very intelligent and he doesn't seem to posses the necessary empathy skills to be a good listener.
    Apr 05, 2023
    All were amazing and friendly professinalism
    Mar 30, 2023
    This Docter is excellent but always seems rushed. The Fellow spent more time but some questions were not answered. Some neurological problems I have are were not explained. I didn't feel that my concerns were fully addressed.
    Mar 29, 2023
    The Dr. Was very patient with us answered our questions and did not rush us.
    Mar 10, 2023
    So grateful I was referred to Dr. Tan. Excellent practitioner!!!!!!!!!!
    Mar 01, 2023
    Dr Tan approached my care decisions by first asking about my desired range of activities and movements which I really appreciated.
    Feb 23, 2023
    Possibly my best overall hospital experience
    Feb 22, 2023
    Experience w Dr Tan was excellent! I'm completely confident in him as well as feel like he cares very much about his patients
    Feb 22, 2023
    Dr. Tan was communicative answered all questions and explained options.
    Feb 15, 2023
    Dr. Lee Tan was very professional. Very polite. Listen to me and I believe has a plan to help me get my back fixed and back to recovery for me. I would recommend him to family and friends excellent provider. Very thankful I found him.
    Feb 09, 2023
    Dr Lee Tan was knowledgeable informative and collaborative. Excellent experience. Thank you.
    Feb 03, 2023
    Dr. Tan is an excellent communicator. He doesn't interrupt and listens intently.
    Jan 29, 2023
    I'm so impressed thank you so much!
    Jan 29, 2023
    I've blessed to have this chance to continue my life with minimize pain.
    Jan 28, 2023
    Dr Tan was kind and patient during our visit
    Jan 27, 2023
    I was very pleased with my appointment process. Although it took several weeks for my appointment to be scheduled I understood the need for each "behind the scenes" step and felt that my situation was dealt with thoroughly and thoughtfully.
    Jan 18, 2023
    Amazing . Very lucky to be Uber Dr Tan's care
    Jan 13, 2023
    Dr. Tan is the best! You are very lucky to have such a knowledgeable surgeon. I have pure confidence in him and travel a distance for his care
    Jan 11, 2023
    I was very impressed with Dr Tan's explanation of my problem and his treatment plan. I had been told by other practitioners that my problem would require a much more extensive surgery so I am quite relieved by Dr Tan's diagnosis and I am looking forward to getting my back surgery behind me (no pun intended).
    Jan 11, 2023
    My experience was very good positive and helpful. The visit left me feeling much better about my 'problem' and better about my overall health.
    Dec 22, 2022
    Dec 15, 2022
    Dr. Tan is an excellent doctor & skilled surgeon. I highly recommend him!
    Dec 07, 2022
    I felt the appointment was a bit rushed and was hesitant to keep asking about the pros and cons of the revision surgery or any possible side effects. While the experience overall was positive I felt that my information about the procedure is still incomplete and I'd appreciate more time/more thorough walkthrough of the pros and cons.
    Dec 01, 2022
    Dr Tan was asking specific questions and listening well. I feel that he was doing a good job of assessing the situation.
    Nov 30, 2022
    He was around 25 minutes late for the conference. I know Drs are busy people but my time is important too.
    Nov 30, 2022
    In my opinion my doctor is more concerned with his statistics then he is at helping me get better.
    Nov 24, 2022
    I had to ask questions about recovery time
    Nov 18, 2022
    Very Pleased
    Nov 16, 2022
    I was very pleased that Dr. Lee Tan spent time with me explaining what is happening inside my spine and lower back. I am very pleased he didn't automatically say surgery. He took the time to look further
    Nov 09, 2022
    Dr. Tan always explains answers my questions and includes me in visit.
    Nov 03, 2022
    Dr.Lee was very pleasing
    Nov 03, 2022
    Every aspect of my experience has been stellar from early notices of apt.access to friendly reply for any questions; Dr Tan is a listener caring thorough & expansive in his discussion of my surgery & recovery. A rare treat in these hectic times.
    Nov 02, 2022
    I continue to refer people to Dr Tan. He is a great surgeon and a lovely person
    Oct 26, 2022
    Absolutely wonderful experience
    Oct 21, 2022
    Very good communicator. Excellent clarity.
    Oct 19, 2022
    Oct 12, 2022
    Dr Tan listened to me and answered all my questions
    Oct 08, 2022
    Dr. Tan is a brilliant surgeon. The results of his lumbar fusion procedure on my spine were miraculous. In addition he is a compassionate physician who brings consideration and warmth to his patients on every visit. It was gratifying to learn at my 2 year checkup that he hopes to continue to follow my progress at 5 and 10 years. He is truly a master healer.
    Oct 07, 2022
    I need MRI of Cervical and have not heard anything yet. Well call to see what is going on?
    Sep 30, 2022
    I am a retired surgeon. Dr. Tan is as good a physician as I have ever encountered.
    Sep 30, 2022
    Dr Tan is caring and compassion person who is a great spine surgeon as well.
    Sep 29, 2022
    I am fortunate to be a patient of Dr Tan. He is a rock star in my book. It's not often surgeons of his caliber have such good bedside.
    Sep 29, 2022
    Dr. Tan and his staff
    Sep 28, 2022
    Used technical terminology for treatment and needed to ask to explain it also requested information on procedure. Dr listens and explains though.
    Sep 28, 2022
    Outstanding communications. You all do what you say you are going to do. Very refreshing.
    Sep 16, 2022
    I am grateful to have Dr Tan do my surgery
    Sep 01, 2022
    Aug 27, 2022
    Aug 18, 2022
    Professional and explained to me the results of my MRI procedures and followup.
    Aug 11, 2022
    He talked too fast. I felt sometimes I wasnt able to ask all my questions.
    Aug 03, 2022
    Dr Tan is an amazing surgeon. He saved my life.
    Jul 25, 2022
    Very kind
    Jul 24, 2022
    The PA and MD were in a rush and didn't even have the courtesy to sit down and speak with me. They stood over me and were out the door in minutes.
    Jul 20, 2022
    Dr Tan is amazing. He listens to all your conversations and is very patient with all my questions. Which makes such a stressful situation much easier .
    Jul 10, 2022
    Dr Tan appeared to not care about my condition and was in a hurry to dismiss me.
    Jun 16, 2022
    I believe you are discussing Dr Tan. The China Basin Interventional Radiology was okay. Dr Tan was much more astute reading my X-ray Meylogram and plethora of information.
    Jun 04, 2022
    Good experience.
    Jun 03, 2022
    Showed exemplary professionalism.
    May 25, 2022
    I'm able to call with more questions if I need to talk.
    May 20, 2022
    Dr's PA actually replies to questions immediately. Rare in my experience.
    May 20, 2022
    He was lovely
    May 04, 2022
    Intelligent and personable surgeon.
    Apr 05, 2022
    Mar 24, 2022
    An excellent experience.
    Mar 16, 2022
    Dr. Tan was very thorough in explaining my X-rays in detail. That made it easy for me and my husband to make the correct decision in my future care.
    Mar 11, 2022
    Best doctor/patient experience I have experienced.
    Mar 10, 2022
    Dr. Tan and team explained all in layman's terms.My entire experience was very good the best I have witnessed and recently retired from a valley hospital.
    Mar 09, 2022
    My bad; I forgot to ask. Dr likely did not feel It needed to be covered In this visit. I suspect It will be provided on pre-op visit.
    Mar 04, 2022
    As per prior note Dr Tan is both technically superb as a surgeon but is also a kind & caring physician in general.
    Feb 17, 2022
    Dr. Tan was both informative about my options both pro and con. Unlike some Drs. I have dealt with in the past he actually listened to my concerns and didn't hesitate to give in depth answers.
    Feb 10, 2022
    One of the more thorough and understandable discussions regarding my condition I have had over the last two (2) years. Thank you Dr. Tan
    Feb 08, 2022
    I am a retired orthopaedic surgeon and Dr. Tan and I have much in common. I am not his typical patient but my wife is and she thinks he is the best possible! I think he is a superb physician in addition to being a highly experienced surgeon.
    Feb 01, 2022
    Dr Tan was very helpful through this entire process. Answered all of my questions and was very patient never rushed our conversations . Wonderful doctor
    Jan 13, 2022
    Very attentive and caring or else I wouldn't have chosen him to be my surgeon for a very tricky operation...I have the utmost faith he'll do the best job he can
    Jan 12, 2022
    Dr. Tan is an excellent practitioner. I have been a nurse for 45 years and he is among the top doctors for clear thorough easy to understand communicationsI have ever met.
    Jan 12, 2022
    Thought he was terrific! 10 stars!
    Jan 07, 2022
    Everything about UCSF is terrific I have nothing but praise for Dr. Tan and all the staff I have dealt with even both of my stays in the hospital for neck surgery were fantastic I have nothing but praise for everyone. I am so grateful for my friend who referred me to UCSF!
    Dec 23, 2021
    Batting Ave is 1000.
    Nov 10, 2021
    Provider was ver kind and understanding and very generous with his time toward my concerns.
    Nov 03, 2021
    This was my fifth surgical consult. I wish it had been my first because it would have saved me a lot of time and energy. Dr. Lee Tan addressed everything I needed to know concerning my condition procedure of treatments the "why" about how treatment would proceed and what recovery would entail. Quit frankly I thought I had a really good understanding of my condition and available treatments Dr. Tan Illustrated options that I had not been made aware of from my previous surgical consults. I am deeply grateful.
    Oct 03, 2021
    Dr Tan is the the most well prepared thorough Surgeon I have ever met. He pinpointed my problem explaining it in detail and how he could help me. Surgery was total success!!
    Sep 23, 2021
    Dr. Tan is excellent.
    Sep 13, 2021
    Sep 13, 2021
    Impeccable care
    Decorative Caduceus

    Prospective, Multicenter, Case-Control Analysis of the VersaTie Posterior Fixation System to Pr...

    Scoliosis specific patient reported outcome


    Decorative Caduceus

    Retro Comparison of Subsidence Following Interbody Devices in Lumbar Spine

    Radiographic subsidence immediately postoperatively (first erect), at 12 months, and at 24 months as evaluated by an independent reviewer. Where subsidence is defined as ≥ 2mm cage penetration of the cephalad, caudal end plate, or...