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Prominent Minimally Invasive Surgeon Joins Spine Team

Corey Walker, MD, an Expert in Minimally Invasive and Robotic Spine Neurosurgery, Becomes Member of the Cedars-Sinai Faculty

Spine neurosurgeon Corey Walker, MD, was recently selected to join the faculty of the Department of Neurosurgery at Cedars-Sinai. Walker comes to Cedars-Sinai from the Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix, where he distinguished himself in the surgical treatment of spinal disorders.

"Dr. Walker joins our expert team of spine faculty neurosurgeons—Drs. Tiffany Perry, Alex Tuchman and Lindsey Ross—who have collaborated with their orthopaedic colleagues to elevate the Cedars-Sinai Spine Center to international prominence," said Keith Black, MD, chair of the Department of Neurosurgery, who holds the Ruth and Lawrence Harvey Chair in Neuroscience at Cedars-Sinai. "He is a leader in the minimally invasive correction of complex spinal deformities using next-generation robotics and navigation technologies."

The spine center's team is focused on the evaluation and management of surgical and nonsurgical patients with spinal disorders and other orthopaedic conditions. Along with the surgical team, pain specialists provide diagnostic and therapeutic interventions that can be attempted prior to surgical procedures.

"Living with pain or neurological deficits can ruin someone's life," said Walker. "With corrective spine surgery, we can have a dramatic effect on someone's quality of life pretty quickly, in a way that is lasting."

Walker is skilled in the surgical correction of multiple spinal disorders, including complex spinal deformities, scoliosis, spinal cord injury and fractures, spinal tumors, sciatica, and back and neck pain. Using minimally invasive techniques, he is able to preserve muscle function, enhance recovery and reduce opioid consumption.

"I try to approach the spine in a way that uses natural tissue planes that allow me to preserve the muscles around the spine," Walker said. "Instead of making the traditional midline incision down the back and exposing all the muscle, I use tubes and small retractors that allow me to create a pathway between the muscle fibers. We literally spread the muscle fibers apart, and then at the end of the procedure, you can see them fall back together, and they're still attached to the spine. This keeps the muscles intact and reduces recovery time."

He has published more than 50 papers in peer-reviewed journals, including Neurosurgery, Operative Neurosurgery, Spine, and Journal of Neurosurgery: Spine, which has highlighted his work on its cover three times. Walker has written 10 textbook chapters and received several major awards, including the 2018 North American Spine Society Resident and Fellow Research Award.

Walker attended medical school at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and graduated with a distinction in research. At the Barrow Neurological Institute, where he completed his residency, he also completed fellowships in complex and minimally invasive spine pathologies. He completed orthopaedic spinal fellowship training at Scripps Clinic in San Diego through the San Diego Spine Foundation.

He is currently conducting a multi-institutional study looking at approaches for performing minimally invasive fusions.

Read more on the Cedars-Sinai Blog: Scars and Curves: A Scoliosis Patient Finds Healing in Art