Dean Chou, MD

Neurological Spine Surgery
Neurological Surgery
More specialties
Accepting New Patients
Virtual Visits/Telehealth
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Dr. Chou is the Chief of the Spine Division, Professor, and Vice Chair of Neurosurgery at the Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons. Dr. Chou has many years of experience and expertise in scoliosis, spinal deformity, spinal tumors, and degenerative conditions of the spine. He has pioneered many minimally invasive surgical techniques to treat these complex conditions, and is also an expert in traditional open surgery. When possible, he uses the least-invasive treatment techniques, providing an individualized, thoughtful approach to every patient. 

Dr. Chou attended medical school at the University of California, San Francisco, completed his residency in Neurosurgery at The Johns Hopkins Hospital, and undertook a fellowship in complex spinal surgery at The Barrow Neurological Institute under one of the legendary pioneers of spine surgery, Dr. Volker Sonntag. He is board certified by the American Board of Neurological Surgery.

Prior to Columbia, he was on faculty at the University of California of San Francisco, rising to the rank of full Professor of Neurosurgery and Orthopedics, and eventually the Associate Director of the UCSF Neurospine Center.  He is a Castle Connolly Top Doctor and has been elected by his peers for 10 consecutive years to the “Best Doctors in America” list, according to Best Doctors, Inc.

Dr. Chou has authored more than 300 peer-reviewed publications in a wide variety of neurosurgery and spine journals. He sits on the editorial boards of the following journals; Journal of Neurosurgery: Spine, Neurosurgery, and PLOS ONE. He is on the advisory board of the journal, Spine. He serves as Treasurer and on the Board of Directors for the Lumbar Spine Research Society (LSRS) and serves on the Membership Committee for the American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS).  He also sits on the Executive and Scientific Program Committees of the AANS/Congress of Neurosurgeons Section on Disorders of the Spine and Peripheral Nerves, and he has served as an abstract reviewer for many organized meetings. He is a two-time recipient of the Harold Rosegay Resident Teaching Award and has been awarded the Alumni Achievement Award from The Johns Hopkins Department of Neurosurgery.  He has served as abstract reviewer and faculty member for such organizations as the Scoliosis Research Society (SRS), the North American Spine Society (NASS), the Congress of Neurological Surgeons (CNS), the AANS, the LSRS, the Global Spine Congress, and the International Meeting for Advanced Spinal Techniques (IMAST).

Areas of Expertise / Conditions Treated

  • Cervical and Lumbar Spine Surgery
  • Cervical Spine Surgery
  • Complex Spinal Surgery
  • Complex Spine Surgery
  • Degenerative Spinal Disorder
  • Degenerative Spine Disease
  • Minimally Invasive Cervical Spinal Surgery
  • Minimally Invasive Procedures
  • Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery
  • Minimally Invasive Spine Techniques
  • Reconstructive Spine Surgery
  • Revision Spine Surgery
  • Scoliosis
  • Spinal Surgery
  • Spine (all aspects)
  • Spine Deformity
  • Spine Tumors

Academic Appointments

  • Professor and Vice Chair of Neurological Surgery

Administrative Titles

  • Chief, Division of Spine Surgery, Department of Neurosurgery
  • Director, Spine Fellowship, Department of Neurosurgery
  • Co-Director, Minimally Invasive Scoliosis Surgery
  • Co-Site Chief, New York Presbyterian-Allen Hospital


  • Male

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Virtual Visits/Telehealth

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Phone Appointments

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Insurance Accepted

Affinity Health Plan

  • Essential Plan
  • Medicaid Managed Care


  • Medicare Managed Care
  • Special Needs

Amida Care

  • Special Needs


  • EPO
  • Great West (National)
  • HMO
  • Medicare Managed Care
  • POS
  • PPO


  • Medicare Managed Care
  • PPO


  • ConnectiCare
  • EPO
  • Essential Plan
  • HMO
  • Medicaid Managed Care
  • Medicare Managed Care
  • POS
  • PPO
  • Select Care (Exchange)
  • Vytra

Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield HealthPlus

  • Child/Family Health Plus
  • Essential Plan
  • Medicaid Managed Care

Fidelis Care

  • Child/Family Health Plus
  • Essential Plan
  • Medicaid Managed Care
  • Medicare Managed Care


  • Child/Family Health Plus
  • Leaf (Exchange)
  • Medicaid Managed Care
  • Medicare Managed Care

Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield

  • EPO - New Jersey Services
  • HMO - New Jersey Services
  • POS - New Jersey Services
  • PPO - New Jersey Services

Local 1199

  • NYP Employee Plan

MagnaCare (National)

  • MagnaCare


  • Railroad
  • Traditional Medicare


  • Multiplan

MVP Health Care

  • Child/Family Health Plus
  • Essential Plan
  • HMO
  • Medicaid Managed Care

Quality Health Management

  • Quality Health Management


  • Special Needs


  • Compass (Exchange)
  • Empire Plan
  • HMO
  • Medicaid (Community Plan)
  • Medicare Managed Care
  • Oxford Freedom
  • Oxford HMO
  • Oxford Liberty
  • POS
  • PPO


  • Medicaid Managed Care
  • Medicare Managed Care

World Trade Center Health Plan

  • World Trade Center Health Plan

*Please contact the provider’s office directly to verify that your particular insurance is accepted.

Credentials & Experience

Education & Training

  • University of California San Francisco
  • Internship: The Johns Hopkins Hospital
  • Residency: The Johns Hopkins Hospital
  • Fellowship: Barrow Neurological Institute

Board Certifications

  • Neurological Surgery

Honors & Awards

2022, 2019, 2017 San Francisco & Marin County Top Doctors, Marin Magazine 

2020 Hibbs Award Nominee, Scoliosis Research Society

2020 Alumni Achievement Award, The Johns Hopkins Department of Neurosurgery

2009-2019 Best Doctors in America

2015, 2007 Harold Rosegay Neurosurgery Resident Teaching Award

2015, 2014, 2010, 2009, 2004 Cover Article, Journal of Neurosurgery: Spine

2014 Becker's Spine Review: Named one of "230 spine surgeons to know"

2013 Becker's Spine Review: Spine Surgeon Leader to Know

2012 Becker's Orthopedics & Pain Management, Named one of "208 Spine Surgeons & Specialists to Know."

2010 Outcomes Committee Award, AANS/CNS Joint Section on Disorders of the Spine and Peripheral Nerves

2007 Who's Who in American Teachers and Educators

2007 Who's Who in Science and Engineering

2000 AANS Neurosurgery Research and Education Foundation (NREF) Grant

America's Top Doctor
NY Top Doctor


Dr. Chou's primary research goal is to improve spine care for all patients, leading to a better quality of life. Evaluating spinal surgery outcomes is critical to this mission. Dr. Chou collaborates with other international study groups and surgeons to collect, analyze and build infrastructure around spinal surgery outcomes data. 

Selected Publications

Chou D, Lafage V, Chan AY, Passias P, Mundis GM, Eastlack RK, Fu KM, Fessler RG, Gupta MC, Than KD, Anand N, Uribe JS, Kanter AS, Okonkwo DO, Bess S, Shaffrey CI, Kim HJ, Smith JS, Sciubba DM, Park P, Mummaneni PV, International Spine Study Group (ISSG) ; Patient outcomes after circumferential minimally invasive surgery compared with those of open correction for adult spinal deformity: initial analysis of prospectively collected data.; Journal Of Neurosurgery. Spine; 2021

Chan AK, Mummaneni PV, Burke JF, Mayer RR, Bisson EF, Rivera J, Pennicooke B, Fu KM, Park P, Bydon M, Glassman SD, Foley KT, Shaffrey CI, Potts EA, Shaffrey ME, Coric D, Knightly JJ, Wang MY, Slotkin JR, Asher AL, Virk MS, Kerezoudis P, Alvi MA, Guan J, Haid RW, Chou D; Does reduction of the Meyerding grade correlate with outcomes in patients undergoing decompression and fusion for grade I degenerative lumbar spondylolisthesis?; Journal Of Neurosurgery. Spine; 2021

Xi Z, Duan PG, Mummaneni PV, Liu J, Guinn JMV, Wang M, Li B, Wu HH, Rivera J, Burch S, Berven SH, Chou D; Posterior Displacement of L1 May be a Risk Factor for Proximal Junctional Kyphosis After Adult Spinal Deformity Correction.; Global Spine Journal; 2021

Vargas E, Lockney DT, Mummaneni PV, Haddad AF, Rivera J, Tan X, Jamieson A, Mahmoudieh Y, Berven S, Braunstein SE, Chou D; An analysis of tumor-related potential spinal column instability (Spine Instability Neoplastic Scores 7-12) eventually requiring surgery with a 1-year follow-up.; Neurosurgical Focus; 2021

Chou D, Chan AY, Park P, Eastlack RK, Fu KM, Fessler RG, Than KD, Anand N, Uribe J, Okonkwo DO, Kanter AS, Nunley P, Wang MY, Mundis GM, Mummaneni PV, International Spine Study Group; Revision Surgery Rates After Minimally Invasive Adult Spinal Deformity Surgery: Correlation with Roussouly Spine Type at 2-Year Follow-Up?; World Neurosurgery; 2021

Duan PG, Mummaneni PV, Berven SH, Mayer R, Ruan HB, Chang CC, Chou D; Revision Surgery for Adjacent Segment Degeneration after Fusion for Lumbar Spondylolisthesis: is there a Correlation with Roussouly Type?; Spine; 2020

Duan PG, Mummaneni PV, Rivera J, Guinn JMV, Wang M, Xi Z, Li B, Wu HH, Ames CP, Burch S, Berven SH, Chou D; The association between lower Hounsfield units of the upper instrumented vertebra and proximal junctional kyphosis in adult spinal deformity surgery with a minimum 2-year follow-up.; Neurosurgical Focus; 2020

Wang M, Mummaneni PV, Xi Z, Chang CC, Rivera J, Guinn J, Mayer R, Chou D; Lower Hounsfield units on CT are associated with cage subsidence after anterior cervical discectomy and fusion.; Journal Of Neurosurgery. Spine; 2020

Amara D, Mummaneni PV, Ames CP, Tay B, Deviren V, Burch S, Berven SH, Chou D; Treatment of only the fractional curve for radiculopathy in adult scoliosis: comparison to lower thoracic and upper thoracic fusions.; Journal Of Neurosurgery. Spine; 2019

Chou D, Mummaneni P, Anand N, Nunley P, La Marca F, Fu KM, Fessler R, Park P, Wang M, Than K, Nguyen S, Uribe J, Zavatsky J, Deviren V, Kanter A, Okonkwo D, Eastlack R, Mundis G, International Spine Study Group ; Treatment of the Fractional Curve of Adult Scoliosis With Circumferential Minimally Invasive Surgery Versus Traditional, Open Surgery: An Analysis of Surgical Outcomes.; Global Spine Journal; 2018