Michael G. Fehlings, MD, PhD, FRCSC, FACS's portrait
Michael G. Fehlings, MD, PhD, FRCSC, FACS
Professor of Neurosurgery, University of Toronto
Head Spinal Program, Toronto Western Hospital
Toronto, ON
Dr. Fehlings is a member of the SpineUniverse Editorial Board.

About Michael G. Fehlings, MD, PhD, FRCSC, FACS

Dr. Fehlings is the Medical Director of the Krembil Neuroscience Center and heads the Spinal Program at the Toronto Western Hospital. Dr. Fehlings is a Professor of Neurosurgery at the University of Toronto, holds the Halbert Chair in Neural Repair and Regeneration, a Scientist at the McEwen Centre for Regenerative Medicine, and a McLaughlin Scholar in Molecular Medicine. In the fall of 2008, Dr. Fehlings was appointed the inaugural Director of the University of Toronto Neuroscience Program and Co-Director of the newly formed University of Toronto Spinal Program. In 2014, he was elected as a Fellow of both the Royal Society of Canada and the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences.

Dr. Fehlings combines an active clinical practice in complex spinal surgery with a translationally oriented research program focused on discovering novel treatments for spinal cord injury. This is reflected by the publication of over 300 peer-reviewed articles chiefly in the area of spinal cord injury and complex spinal surgery. Dr. Fehlings leads a multi-disciplinary team of researchers, which is examining the application of stem cells, nanotechnology and tissue engineering for spinal cord repair and regeneration. He is also a principal investigator in the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation North American Clinical Trials Network, is co-chair of the internationally renowned Spine Trauma Study Group and leads several international clinical research efforts through AOSpine.

Dr. Michael Fehlings has received numerous prestigious awards including the Gold Medal in Surgery from the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons (1996), nomination to the Who's Who list of the 1000 most influential scientists of the 21st century (2001), the Lister Award in Surgical Research (2006), the Leon Wiltse Award from the North American Spine Society for excellence in leadership and/or clinical research in spine care (2009), and the Olivecrona Award (2009) from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden (known as the "Nobel Prize of Neuroscience") for his important contributions in spinal cord injury.

In 2012, he received the Reeve-Irvine research medal for spinal cord injury. In 2013, he was again honored by the North American Spine Society with the Henry Farfan Award for outstanding contributions in spine related basic science research. He was also honored, in 2013, to receive the H. Richard Winn Award from the Society of Neurological Surgeons, which is the highest honor for academic neurosurgeons in North America.

Dr. Fehlings is active in many medical societies and journal editorial boards, including Journal of Neurosurgery (Past-Chairman Editorial Board) and Journal of Neurotrauma and Spine where he holds the position of Deputy Editor. His commitment to patients with neurotrauma is further reflected in his volunteer work for ThinkFirst, a charitable organization that is focused on preventing brain and spinal cord injuries in children.

  • Professor of Neurosurgery, University of Toronto
  • Halbert Chair in Neural Repair and Regeneration
  • McLaughlin Scholar in Molecular Medicine
  • Director, University of Toronto Neuroscience Program
  • Co-Director, University of Toronto Spinal Program
  • Medical Director, Krembil Neuroscience Center
  • Head, Spine and Spinal Cord Injury Program
  • Toronto Western Hospital, University Health Network


To see a full list of Dr. Fehlings' publications, please visit his PubMed listing.

Articles Written by Michael G. Fehlings, MD, PhD, FRCSC, FACS

The Role and Timing of Decompression in Acute Spinal Cord Injury

Abstract concerning conservative care and preventive measures of acute spinal cord injury.

Spinal Cord Injury: Inside the Fehlings Laboratory for Neural Repair and Regeneration

One of the most prominent areas of research deals with stem cells. Dr. Michael Fehlings takes SpineUniverse inside his research lab and talks about his lab's areas of focus in spinal cord injury.

Spinal Cord Injury: Nerve Regeneration and Stem Cells

Learn about the research being conducted at the Fehlings' Lab for neural repair and regeneration. This article summaries the research into nerve regeneration and stem cells to treat spinal cord injury.

Posterior Occipitocervical Instrumentation and Fusion for Ventral Compression in Rheumatoid Arthritis: Case Report

Case Report for posterior occipitocervical instrumentation and fusion for ventral compression in rheumatoid arthritis.

Case Studies Presented by Michael G. Fehlings, MD, PhD, FRCSC, FACS

Traumatic Sacral Fracture with Neurological Impairment

Presented by: M. Fehlings MD, PhD, FRCSC, FACS, A. Ibrahim MBBS, PhD, FRCS
The patient is a 55-year-old woman with a history of osteoporosis, schizophrenia, and Hepatitis C. She presents with ongoing buttock pain that is severe, and indicates increased incontinence (over 2/52).

Unsteady Gait and Pain in Upper Limbs: Which Approach Is Best?

Presented by: M. Fehlings MD, PhD, FRCSC, FACS
Spine case presented by Michael G. Fehlings, MD: a 61-year-old male autoworker has progressively worsening gait, motor dysfunction, and pain in upper limbs. How would you treat this?

C6-C7 Unilateral Facet Dislocation with Right C7 Radiculopathy

20-year-old Male PMVA
Presented by: M. Fehlings MD, PhD, FRCSC, FACS

The patient is a 20-year-old male who present after a rollover MVA. He struck his head on the car roof in rotation. He complains of right arm pain, numbness, and mild weakness. Should he be reduced right away?

Articles Reviewed by Michael G. Fehlings, MD, PhD, FRCSC, FACS

Whiplash: Treatment and Recovery

Conservative treatment includes use of pain, anti-inflammatory, and muscle relaxant medications; and physical therapy.

Whiplash: A Common Neck Injury

The symptoms of whiplash may include neck pain, headache, dizziness, nausea, and in rare cases difficulty swallowing.

Spinal Tumors: Descriptive Overview

Spinal tumors are rare. However, when they develop the foremost symptom usually is back pain. It is a good idea to seek medical attention if back pain does not resolve or if other symptoms such as extremity weakness accompany pain.

Spinal Tumors: Surgery and Recovery

Spine surgery may be necessary to remove a tumor to reduce pain and alleviate neurologic dysfunction.

Spinal Cord Injury: Glossary

Glossary defining terms related to spinal cord injury.

Spinal Cord Injury (SCI): Damage Control and Treatment

Each patient's inury is unique. Treatment begins with the emergency medical personnel who make an initial evaluation and immobilize the patient for transport.

Spinal Cord Injury (SCI): Aftermath and Diagnosis

The spinal cord does not have to be severed to cause paraylsis. Even bruising the spinal cord can cause symptoms.

Spinal Tumors: Diagnosis and Non-Surgical Treatment

The patient's medical status is evaluated with particular attention given to back pain and neurologic deficit. Although back pain is often the primary symptom, some patients present with paraparesis (slight paralysis), spinal deformity, and malaise.

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Author's Statement

I, the undersigned, declare that neither I nor members of my immediate family have a financial interests or affiliation with commercial companies whose products and / or services may be mentioned in the materials I have authored, edited or reviewed for presentation on Vertical Health, LLC’s websites.