Ali A. Baaj, MD's portrait
Ali A. Baaj, MD
Assistant Professor of Neurological Surgery
Weill Cornell Medical College, Cornell University
New York, NY
Dr. Baaj is a member of the SpineUniverse Editorial Board.

About Ali A. Baaj, MD

Dr. Baaj is a Neurosurgeon and Assistant Professor of Neurological Surgery at Weill Cornell Medical College, Cornell University in New York. He specializes in spinal surgery and has advanced training and expertise in spinal oncology and complex reconstructive surgery for spinal deformity.

Dr. Baaj received his medical degree from Boston University College of Medicine. He completed a general surgical internship at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore followed by a neurosurgical residency at the University of South Florida in Tampa. Dr. Baaj advanced his training as a Research Fellow at the Spinal Biomechanics Laboratory at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix and as a Complex Spine Fellow at Johns Hopkins, with an emphasis on advanced techniques in spinal tumor resection and spinal reconstruction. Furthermore, Dr. Baaj completed a two-month traveling fellowship in Paris studying advanced techniques for pediatric deformity and scoliosis, with an emphasis on neuromuscular and idiopathic scoliosis.

Dr. Baaj is a prolific author of more than 100 abstracts and manuscripts. He is the author of many book chapters with emphasis on spinal anatomy, minimally invasive spine surgery, and advanced surgical techniques. He serves on the editorial boards of Clinical Neurology and Neurosurgery and the Journal of Spinal Disorders and Techniques. He is a peer reviewer for these journals as well as for the European Spine Journal and the International Journal of Spine Surgery. Dr. Baaj is also the lead editor of the Handbook of Spine Surgery, now in its 2nd edition.

Articles Written by Ali A. Baaj, MD

Chronic Back and Neck Pain in America—Snapshot of Survey Results

Whether you participated in the SpineUniverse Chronic Back Pain in America survey in 2015 or not you may find the results quite interesting.

Decompression Surgery Indirectly Improves Glycemic Control in Patients with Diabetes and Lumbar Spinal Stenosis

This is the first study to show the effects of lumbar stenosis surgery on Diabetes Mellitus.

Multiple Myeloma of the Spine

Multiple myeloma is the third most common blood cancer in the US, according to the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation. It typically occurs in people older than age 50, and is more common in men and African Americans.

Symptoms of Multiple Myeloma in the Spine

Multiple myeloma is a complex disease with no known cause. This blood cancer affects each person differently—some people have a variety of symptoms, while others experience none.

How Multiple Myeloma of the Spine Is Diagnosed

Multiple myeloma is a blood cancer that can weaken and damage the bones of your spine. Learn more about the multi-faceted steps leading to diagnosis.

Case Studies Presented by Ali A. Baaj, MD

Thoracic Spinal Cord Tumor

Presented by: A. Baaj MD
The patient is a 76-year-old female with progressive lower extremity numbness and subjective weakness. Imaging revealed a thoracic pial-intramedullary lesion.

Thoracolumbar Junction Osteomyelitis with Kyphotic Deformity

Presented by: A. Baaj MD, J. Uribe MD, D. Smith MD
The patient is a 54-year-old woman with a prior history of IV drug abuse. She was hospitalized in 2007 with spinal osteomyelitis at T11-T12. This was treated with IV antibiotics. She was admitted multiple times in the last several months for chronic refractory osteomyelitis (MRSA on biopsy) at T11-L1 despite prolonged courses of antiobiotics.

Severe L5 Burst Fracture

Presented by: A. Baaj MD
This young adult presented with severe lower back pain, bowel and bladder incontinence, and no movement in his right foot following a motor vehicle accident.

Minimally Invasive Treatment of Adjacent Segment Disease

Presented by: A. Baaj MD
An elderly female presents two years after an open L4-S1 surgery at an outside institution with progressive mechanical back pain and neurogenic claudication. She had attempted non-operative measures with minimal relief.

Metastatic Tumor to the Spine: Compression and Instability

Presented by: A. Baaj MD
The patient is a 44-year-old woman with a prior history of left-sided nephrectomy for renal cell carcinoma. She presented 6 months later with acute mechanical back pain and intermittent urinary incontinence.

C1-C2 Fracture with Atlantoaxial Subluxation

Halo, Anterior Approach, Posterior Approach?
Presented by: A. Baaj MD

Spine case: an 87-year-old man presents after being struck by a car. Work-up reveal C1-C2 fracture: how would you treat him?

Articles Reviewed by Ali A. Baaj, MD

Number of Cervical Spine Surgeries Increased in the Last Decade

“I think the overall trends regarding the number of cervical spine procedures is increasing due to a multitude of factors".

Epidural Steroid Injection Before Spine Surgery May Boost Infection Risk

While lumbar epidural steroid injections (LESIs) are considered a safe treatment and diagnostic tool, they come with risks.

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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