Professor of Clinical Neurological Surgery and Orthopaedic Surgery
Director of Spinal Deformity & Spine Tumor Surgery
Co-director, Spinal Surgery and UCSF Spine Center
Director, California Deformity Institute
Director, Spinal Biomechanics Laboratory
Dr. Ames is the director of spinal deformity and spine tumor surgery and co-director of the combined high risk spine service, the Neurospinal Disorders Program, and the UCSF Spine Center. He is board certified in neurosurgery. He was named to the 2015-2022 Top Doctors lists in San Francisco Magazine, and among America’s Top Doctors for both neurosurgery and cancer from 2010 to 2022. His tumor practice focuses on en bloc tumor resection for chordoma, chondrosarcoma, giant cell tumor, soft tissue sarcoma, sacral tumors, and other primary and metastatic tumors. While at UCSF, Dr. Ames developed and published the transpedicular approach to previously unresectable cervical and cervical thoracic tumors. He serves as Spine Section Lead editor for Operative Neurosurgery.
Dr. Ames serves as the UCSF site director for the International Spinal Deformity Study Group and the AO Scoli-Risk Study. He also directs the neurosurgical spinal deformity service, which performs over 200 cases per year for correction of scoliosis, kyphosis, flat back, and chin-on-chest deformity in ankylosing spondylitis. His research work in spinal deformity has won the prestigious Hibbs award three times, as well as the Moe award, the Goldstein award, and Whitecloud awards from the Scoliosis Research Society. Dr Ames developed and published the first ever classification for cervical spine deformity and cervical osteotomy with the international spine study group. He is known for developing many innovative concepts to allow safer treatment planning and risk characterization for complex spine surgery such as the adult deformity frailty index, the adult deformity invasiveness index and pioneering the use of Artificial Intelligence Decision Support Tools for Adult Scoliosis and Deformity Surgery. In 2019 Dr Ames published the first Machine Learning based Adult Scoliosis Classification. In 2021 Dr Ames won the Hibbs Award for the first ever use of telomeric aging to predict risk of spine surgery.
He is internationally recognized for his work in spine tumor, deformity, scoliosis and cervical kyphosis and has published over 600 peer-reviewed publications. He has been the honored international guest lecturer of the Australian Spine Society, the Argentine Spine Society, Berlin Spine Society, Brazilian Spine Society, the Japanese Orthopedic Association and the Japanese Neurosurgical Society, the Korean Spine Society, and the Asian Pacific Spine Society. He has served as chairman for over 200 national and international courses to teach advanced tumor and deformity techniques to neurosurgeons and orthopedic surgeons around the world and has been visiting professor at Hospital for Special Surgery, Cleveland Clinic, Mayo Clinic, UCLA, and Massachusetts General Hospital.