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Ali A. Baaj, M.D.

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Ali A. Baaj, M.D.

Dr. Baaj is an award-winning, board-certified neurosurgeon who specializes in spinal surgery, with advanced training and expertise in spinal oncology and complex reconstructive surgery for spinal degenerative disease and deformity. He is accomplished in both minimally invasive spinal surgery and open complex spine surgery, having had training in both orthopedic and neurosurgical spine surgery. 

Dr. Baaj’s diverse practice brings patients from across the country and globally who seek specialized and cutting-edge treatments for their complex spinal conditions in New York City.  His team delivers unparalleled care, dedication, and commitment to excellent outcomes and patient satisfaction.

A firm believer in education and training, Dr. Baaj hosts dozens of international surgeons and trainees annually who travel to New York to observe cases and learn the latest techniques in complex and minimally invasive spine surgery.  He also is heavily engaged in international training and education in spine surgery across several countries globally. 

Dr. Baaj currently leads the annual CME courses on complex spine surgery and spine tumors at Weill Cornell Medicine.

Patient Stories:
Our Mighty Little Giant
An Emotional Marathon: Caleb's Chiari Malformation Story
A "Walking Time Bomb," Now Back on Track

Dr. Baaj earned both Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Boston University before receiving his MD from the Boston University College of Medicine in 2004. He completed a general surgery internship at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, followed by a neurosurgical residency at the University of South Florida in Tampa. Dr. Baaj received further training as a Research Fellow at the Spinal Biomechanics Laboratory at St. Joseph’s Hospital/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. He also 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 has authored more than 100 abstracts, manuscripts, and book chapters, with an emphasis on spinal anatomy, minimally invasive spine surgery, and advanced surgical techniques. His research interests include spinal biomechanics and clinical outcomes studies. 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. (See more of Dr. Baaj's publishing credits on PubMed.) His two other text are: Revision Spine Surgery and Surgery of the Thoracic Spine. Dr. Baaj is an active member of the Scoliosis Research Society, AO Spine, and the CNS/AANS Spine Section and sits on several of their committees.

Dr. Baaj is currently accepting applications for a Complex Spine Research Fellowship. Find out more about the fellowship.

Dr. Baaj is also a contributing author on, where he has written articles about spinal conditions and treatments. His latest is Cobb Angle Used to Measure Scoliosis Curves.


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Find out more about the Department of Neurosurgery, including its Neurosurgery Residency Program, Fellowship Opportunities, CME Courses, and Research.