Rafael F. Cardona, MD
Puerto Rico Neurological Spine Surgery
San Juan

About Rafael F. Cardona, MD

Dr. Cardona specializes in general neurosurgery, with a focus on cervical, thoracic, and lumbar spine pathology. He received his MD from the University of Puerto Rico.

Dr. Cardona completed a complex and minimally invasive spine surgery fellowship at the University of South Florida's Department of Neurosurgery before joining the Puerto Rico Neurological Spine Surgery group in San Juan.

Dr. Cardona belongs to the Congress of Neurological Surgeons, the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, and the Society of Lateral Access Surgery.



  1. Dakwar E, Cardona RF, Smith DA, Uribe JS. Early outcomes and safety of the minimally invasive, lateral retroperitoneal transpsoas approach for adult degenerative scoliosis. Neurosurg Focus. 2010;28(3):E8.
  2. Cardona RF, Tormos LM, de Jesus O. Giant Spinal Cord Ependymoma: Case Report and Review of Literature. In press.


  1. Cardona RF, Uribe JS. Bone graft properties. In: Greenberg MS. Handbook of Neurosurgery. 7th ed. New York, NY. Thieme; 2010.
  2. Cardona RF. Spinal biologic. In: Baaj A. Handbook of Spine Surgery. 1st ed. In press.


  1. Cardona RF, Dakwar E, Uribe JS. Clinical series of occipital condyle screw placement for occipital cervical fixation. 26th Annual Meeting of the AANS/CNS Section on Disorders of the Spine and Peripheral Nerves, February 17-20, 2010.
  2. Dakwar E, Cardona RF, Uribe JS. Minimally invasive lateral retropleural thoracolumbar approach: cadaveric feasibility and report of 4 clinical cases. 26th Annual Meeting of the AANS/CNS Section on Disorders of the Spine and Peripheral Nerves, February 17-20, 2010.
  3. Cardona RF, Dakwar E, Ramos E, Vale F, Uribe JS. Occipital condyle screws as fixation points for craniocervical instrumentation. Cadaveric feasibility, biomechanical analysis, and clinical series. University of South Florida Neuroscience Research Day, March 5, 2010.

Instructional Courses and Invited Lectures

  1. Cardona RF. Safety of the minimally invasive lateral retroperitoneal tranpsosas interbody fusion and the use of intervertebral rhBMP–2 at L4/5. In: 3rd Annual SOLAS Meeting; April 2010; San Diego, Calif.
  2. Cardona RF. Lateral approach cadaveric dissection, instructor. In: 3rd Annual SOLAS Meeting; April 2010; San Diego, Calif.
  3. Cardona RF. Lumbar spine surgical approaches, MIS and deformity correction, instructor. In: 2nd Annual Cadaveric Simulation Course in Spine Surgery; March 2010; University of South Florida, Tampa, Fla.

Case Studies Presented by Rafael F. Cardona, MD

L3 Pathological Fracture During Softball Game

Presented by: R. Cardona MD, I. Cardona Campos MD
A 76-year-old man suddenly developed severe low back pain while batting at a softball game. He was found to have an L3 compression fracture.

Lumbar Construct Failure

Presented by: J. Uribe MD, FAANS, E. Dakwar MD, R. Cardona MD
This 57-year-old male, with a history of cirrhosis of the liver, presents with lumbar construct failure.

Progressive Mid-back Pain and Difficulty Walking

Presented by: J. Uribe MD, FAANS, R. Cardona MD, E. Dakwar MD
Juan Uribe, MD and his co-authors present progressively intensifying moderate to severe mid-back pain in a male. The patient reports his pain radiates anteriorly on his left side and makes walking difficult.

Traumatic C1 Fracture

Presented by: J. Uribe MD, FAANS, R. Cardona MD
A 30-year-old male was involved in a motor vehicle accident, where he sustained a C1 fracture. The patient was neurologically intact, but complaining of neck pain.

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