Christopher I. Shaffrey, MD's portrait
Christopher I. Shaffrey, MD
Chief, Spine Division
Duke University School of Medicine
Durham, NC

About Christopher I. Shaffrey, MD

Dr. Christopher Shaffrey is Chief of the Duke Spine Division, combining the departments of Neurosurgery and Orthopaedic Surgery. Dr. Shaffrey is board certified in both neurological surgery and orthopaedic surgery in practice at the Duke Spine Center in Durham, NC.

Dr. Shaffrey received his medical degree from the University of Virginia in Charlottesville and completed his surgical internship at the Naval Hospital of San Diego, CA. His residencies in neurosurgery and orthopaedic surgery were at the University of Virginia Medical Center, where he completed a spine fellowship in pediatric and adult reconstructive spine surgery.

Known worldwide, Dr. Shaffrey has contributed to scientific scholarship by presenting research at national and international meetings, publishing chapters in medical books, and consistently contributing scientific papers to premier medical journals. He has an active interest in spinal surgery, pediatric and adult scoliosis, spinal cord injury, spinal trauma, and spinal tumors.

An active member of many prestigious neurosurgical and spinal societies, he currently serves as the Chair of the International Meeting of Advanced Spine Techniques (IMAST), President-Elect of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS), and Director of the American Board of Neurological Surgery (ABNS).

Articles Written by Christopher I. Shaffrey, MD

Ankylosing Spondylitis: Description and Diagnosis

Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS) is a chronic inflammatory arthritis condition that can affect the spine. Spine expert-written article on ankylosing spondylitis and how it's diagnosed.

Ankylosing Spondylitis: Treatment and Recovery

Treatment for ankylosing spondylitis (AS) is aimed at relieving the patient's symptoms and preventing spinal deformity.

Surgery for Ankylosing Spondylitis

Seldom is surgery needed to treat ankylosing spondylitis, however, here are 4 indications your surgeon may consider before recommending spine surgery.

Exams and Tests for Ankylosing Spondylitis

The diagnosis of ankylosing spondylitis (AS) requires an in-depth review of your medical and family history, physical and neurological examinations, blood tests, and imaging studies, such as x-ray or MRI.

Common Ankylosing Spondylitis Questions

Ankylosing Spondylitis. What is it? What causes it? What can you do for the pain and other symptoms?

Anatomy of Ankylosing Spondylitis

A solid understanding of your spinal anatomy will help you understand how ankylosing spondylitis (AS) affects your spine. Learn about the different spinal regions where AS can cause inflammation and fused bones.

Osteoarthritis: Treatment Options

People with osteoarthritis can enjoy good health despite having this disease. Although there is no 'cure' for osteoarthritis, the symptoms can be treated.

Osteoarthritis: Commonly Affected Joints

Osteoarthritis can occur in any joint but most often occurs in the spine, hips, knees, or hands.

Osteoarthritis: Degenerative Spinal Joint Disease

Spinal osteoarthritis, also called spondylosis, affects your spinal joints and can cause back pain or neck pain. Learn the causes and symptoms of spondylosis.

Causes of Ankylosing Spondylitis

Ankylosing Spondylitis possibly has a connection to certain bacteria.

Non-Surgical Treatments for Ankylosing Spondylitis

Ankylosing spondylitis seldom requires spine surgery. Many nonoperative treatments include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications, aquatic therapy, stretching, exercise, and posture training.

Symptoms of Ankylosing Spondylitis

Ankylosing spondylitis (AS) is a chronic disease that develops slowly.

Scoliosis in Children

Scoliosis is a medical term taken from a Greek word meaning curvature. This disease often develops during childhood, and it causes the spine to curve laterally (to the side) to the left or right.

What is Ankylosing Spondylitis?

Ankylosing spondylitis (AS) is a chronic inflammatory disease characterized by pain and progressive stiffness. It mainly affects the spine, but it can affect other areas of the body, too. Get an overview of this spinal condition here.

Case Studies Presented by Christopher I. Shaffrey, MD

Post-surgical Discitis

Antibiotics, Debridement, or Fusion?
Presented by: C. Shaffrey MD

Following an MIS discectomy, a 36-year-old male develops “horrible” back pain and during repeat MRI, discitis is seen. How best to treat this patient? Course of antibiotics? Debridement? Debridement and fusion? Read how one spine surgeon treated this post-operative infection patient.

Grade II Isthmic Spondylolisthesis Revision

Presented by: C. Shaffrey MD

A 27-year-old female, with a grade 2 isthmic spondylolisthesis, presents with low back pain and extremity pain related to a lifting injury.

Cervical Tumor in a 14-year-old Female

Presented by: C. Shaffrey MD

This 14-year-old patient presents with neck pain and headaches for five months. She recently experienced upper and lower extremity weakness.

Grade IV Ismthic Spondylolisthesis

Presented by: C. Shaffrey MD

The patient is a 32-year-old who underwent in situ fusion for grade II spondylolisthesis at age 16. She now presents with increasing low back pain with radiculopathy.

Cervical Trauma in a Young Football Player

Presented by: C. Shaffrey MD

This 16-year-old football player presents with severe neck pain and transient quadriparesis following a tackle.

Adult Scoliosis: Progressive Lower Extremity Radicular Pain

Presented by: C. Shaffrey MD

The patient is a 44-year-old female diagnosed with adjacent segment degeneration after prior Harrington rod treatment.

S1 Failure in an Elderly Female

Presented by: C. Shaffrey MD

This elderly female previously underwent a T10-S1 fusion at another institution and presents with postural change and increased back pain.

Cervical Trauma Resulting in Quadriplegia

Presented by: C. Shaffrey MD

In this case, a young male sustains a cervicothoracic fracture dislocation and profound spinal cord injury.

Sacral Fracture and Dislocation

Presented by: C. Shaffrey MD

After a minor fall, the patient presents with severe sacral area pain and urinary incontinence.

Neurofibromatosis (NF-1) in a 15-Year-old

Presented by: C. Shaffrey MD

The patient is a 15-year-old boy with neurofibromatosis who fell while skateboarding and suffered temporary quadriplegia.

Articles Reviewed by Christopher I. Shaffrey, MD

Pre-Operative Planning Reduces Complication Risk in Adult Spinal Deformity Surgery

Approximately 70% of patients undergoing adult spinal deformity surgery will develop perioperative or related complications. What is the best way to assess frailty in patients undergoing spine surgery?

Kyphosis: Description and Diagnosis

Read about possible causes of kyphosis and tests that doctors use to diagnose kyphosis.

Kyphosis: Treatment and Recovery

Early treatment of kyphosis is especially important to the adolescent patient. Left untreated, the curve progression can lead to significant problems later during adulthood.

Artificial Discs and Degenerative Disc Disease

Artificial Discs and Degenerative Disc Disease, an interview with Kevin Foley, M.D.

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, or an immediate family member, have a financial interest(s) or affiliation(s) with the following 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.

Disclosed Relationships

Research Support
AO Foundation, Department of Defense, DePuy Spine (through International Spine Study Group, ISSG), NATCN, National Institutes of Health (NIH)
Consultant/Independent Contractor
Medtronic, NuVasive, Zimmer Biomet
Stock Options/Shareholder
NuVasive
Other Relationships/Disclosures
Royalties: Medtronic, NuVasive, Zimmer Biomet; Patents: Medtronic, NuVasive, Zimmer Biomet; Fellowship Support: AO Foundation, Neurosurgery Research & Education Foundation (NREF)
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