Michael G. Fehlings, MD, PhD, FRCSC, FACS's portrait
Michael G. Fehlings, MD, PhD, FRCSC, FACS
Professor of Neurosurgery
Vice Chair Research, Department of Surgery
University of Toronto
Toronto, ON
Dr. Fehlings is a member of the SpineUniverse Editorial Board.

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

Dr. Michael Fehlings is the Vice Chair Research for the Department of Surgery at the University of Toronto and heads the Spinal Program at Toronto Western Hospital. Dr. Fehlings is a Professor of Neurosurgery at the University of Toronto, holds the Gerry and Tootsie 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 to the Fellowship 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 800 peer-reviewed articles chiefly in the area of spinal cord injury and complex spinal surgery. Dr. Fehlings leads a multi-disciplinary team of researchers examining the application of stem cells, nanotechnology and tissue engineering for central nervous system repair and regeneration. He is also a principal investigator in the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation North American Clinical Trials Network, Chair of the internationally renowned AOSpine Spinal Cord Injury Knowledge Forum, and leads several international clinical research trials.

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 his work on spinal cord injury. In 2013, he was 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 with the H. Richard Winn Award from the Society of Neurological Surgeons, which is the highest honor for academic neurosurgeons in North America, and the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal presented by the Honourable Stephen Harper.

Dr. Fehlings is active in many medical societies and journal editorial boards, including Journal of Neurosurgery (Past-Chairman Editorial Board) 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.

Dr. Fehlings is a member of the following associations:

  • AANS-CSN Section on Disorders of the Spine
  • American Academy for the Advancement of Science
  • American Academy of Neurological Surgery
  • American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS)
  • American College of Surgeons
  • Canadian Association for Neuroscience
  • Canadian Medical Association
  • Canadian Neurosurgical Society
  • Cervical Spine Research Society
  • Congress of Neurological Surgeons (CNS)
  • International Neurotrauma Society
  • International Society for Stem Cell Research
  • National Neurotrauma Society
  • North American Spine Society
  • Scoliosis Research Society
  • Society of Neurological Surgeons
  • Society for Neuroscience

Publications

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

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

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

Dr. Michael Fehlings takes SpineUniverse inside his research lab and talks about his lab's areas of focus in spinal cord injury.

Regaining Your Quality of Life After Spinal Cord Injury

How doctors measure quality of life after spinal cord injury, and factors that may improve or harm QOL.

Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation: What to Expect

Rehab after a spinal cord injury can be challenging, but you are not alone as several specialists will help reduce your pain and improve your function.

Traumatic Spinal Cord Injury Prognosis: What You Need to Know

The first 48 hours following traumatic spinal cord injury are critical to a patient’s prognosis; their sensory and functional outcomes.

Spine Surgery After Spinal Cord Injury: Why Timing Matters

Decompression spine surgery soon after a spinal cord injury can be beneficial and improve long-term functional and sensory outcomes.

Complications After Traumatic Spinal Cord Injury

Common spinal cord injury-related complications include local and systemic types of disorders. While people with SCI are living longer, complications can hurt quality of life.

Diagnosis of Traumatic Spinal Cord Injury

Diagnosing traumatic spinal cord injury may begin at the scene by first responders and emergency medical technicians.

Traumatic Spinal Cord Injury's Secondary Injury Cascade

Within a few hours after spinal cord injury, a series of changes called the secondary injury cascade begins and may continue months past the initial SCI.

Traumatic Spinal Cord Injury Facts and Figures

The facts and figures about spinal cord injury include the top five causes of traumatic SCI and lifetime costs.

Spinal Cord Injury Center

Spinal cord injury involves much more than damage to the spinal cord. After the primary injury, a cascade of secondary events can occur.

Spinal Cord Injury Classification and Syndromes

Spinal cord injury is classified by type and severity. The American Spinal Injury Association or ASIA impairment grading system is a diagnostic tool doctors utilize to classify SCI.

Spinal Cord Injury: Nerve Regeneration and Stem Cells

Learn about the research being conducted at the Fehlings' Lab for neural repair and regeneration.

A Promising Future: Spinal Cord Injury Clinical Trials and Drug Therapy Update

Spinal cord injury clinical trials and information about innovations in medication therapies, cellular transplantation, spinal cord stimulation, and robotic devices.

The Role and Timing of Decompression in Acute Spinal Cord Injury

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

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

Spinal Cord Injury Glossary

Terms, words and phrases related to spinal cord injury are defined and explained.

Cervical Excitatory Neurons Rescue Breathing After Spinal Cord Injury

Researchers discovered a novel neuronal circuit involving cervical excitatory interneurons that, when activated, rescue breathing after severe spinal cord injury.

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.

Quantitative MRI Shows High Sensitivity in Detecting Progression in Degenerative Cervical Myelopathy

Study compares methods to monitor for myelopathic progression in cases of degenerative cervical myelopathy, and provides a decision-making algorithm.

Spinal Cord Injury (SCI): Aftermath and Diagnosis

The spinal cord does not have to be severed for function or sensation to be lost. Cord injuries usually fall into one of the following categories...

Is Surgery for Degenerative Cervical Myelopathy Cost Effective?

Data gathered may help guide clinical decision making and policy decisions regarding healthcare resource allocations used for treatment of degenerative cervical myelopathy.

Laminectomy Plus Fusion and Laminoplasty Show Equivalent Efficacy in the Treatment of Degenerative Cervical Myelopathy

When deciding between laminectomy and fusion versus laminoplasty for an individual case, certain patient factors should be considered.

Measures May Prevent Common Complications of Spinal Cord Injury

Researchers highlighted early measures that may prevent acute complications of spinal cord injury.

Metastatic Epidural Spinal Cord Compression and Decompression Surgery Multicenter Study Results

Symptomatic metastatic epidural spinal cord compression (MESCC) is among the most debilitating complications of metastatic spine cancer.

Whiplash: A Common Neck Injury

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

Spinal Cord Injury (SCI): Damage Control and Treatment

Treatment begins with the emergency medical personnel who make an initial evaluation and immobilize the patient for transport.

Spinal Tumors: Descriptive Overview

Spinal tumors are rare. However, when they develop the foremost symptom usually is back pain.

Whiplash: Treatment and Recovery

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

Spinal Tumors: Surgery and Recovery

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

Financial Disclosures

SpineUniverse, a Vertical Health, LLC website, is committed to ensuring that the medical information it presents is accurate, balanced, objective, and trustworthy. 

To help achieve this goal, SpineUniverse requires all authors, editors, and reviewers to disclose any financial relationships or affiliations they have with companies whose products or services may be mentioned in the content they author, edit, or review.

The intent of this policy is to identify any perceived, potential, or real conflicts of interest so that readers can make their own judgments about the value of information being presented.

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.
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