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James E. Dowdell III, MD

Spine Surgery

About Dr. Dowdell


Dr. James Dowdell is an Assistant Attending Orthopedic Surgeon at Hospital for Special Surgery and an Instructor of Orthopedic Surgery at Weill Cornell Medical College. His expertise lies with treating degenerative spinal pathologies in both a minimally invasive and open fashion. He believes in a holistic approach to patient care and focuses on the development of the surgeon-patient relationship to ensure a proper plan of care. His research interests focus on the use of enabling technologies in spine surgery, specifically the use of navigation, robotic, and augmented reality technologies. His future interests involve using these technologies for training of residents and fellows to make spine surgery safer and more efficient. He has authored over 30 articles, book chapters, and text books.

Dr. Dowdell received his medical degree from Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia, PA where he was selected for both the Alpha Omega Alpa (AOA) and Gold Humanism Honor Society (GHHS) medical honor societies indicating both academic achievement and compassionate patient care. He completed his orthopedic surgery residency at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, NY. He then completed fellowship training in spine surgery at HSS where he received specialized training in a spectrum of spinal pathologies utilizing both open and minimally invasive techniques. Dr. Dowdell is a member of the North American Spine Society, American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, and serves on the Editorial Board for the Spinal Deformity Journal.


Special Expertise

Evaluation and treatment of degenerative spine conditions of the cervical, thoracic and lumbar spine, with special
interests in minimally invasive surgery.

Specific conditions treated:
Arm pain due to pinched nerve in the neck
Back pain
Balance problems (myelopathy)
Cervical spondylosis
Degenerative disc disease
Degenerative spondylolisthesis (slipped vertebrae)
Facet arthropathy (spine arthritis)
Fractures/Spinal trauma
Herniated disc in the cervical spine
Herniated disc in the lumbar spine
Leg pain
Neck pain
Spinal stenosis
Slipped disc


Anterior cervical decompression and fusion
Cervical disc arthroplasty
Posterior cervical foraminotomy
Posterior cervical laminoplasty
Posterior cervical laminectomy and fusion
Anterior and posterior lumbar spinal fusion
Transforaminal lumbar interbody fusions
Lateral lumbar interbody fusions
Robotic and navigated spine surgery
Lumbar laminectomy
Minimally invasive spine procedures

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If your insurance is not listed, please call our office if you have questions regarding your insurance coverage. If you have out-of-network benefits, then your insurance may reimburse you for a portion of your office visit. We will work with you and your insurance to minimize your out-of-pocket costs. Financial assistance may be available for patients in need.



Assistant Attending Orthopedic Surgeon, Hospital for Special Surgery
Assistant Professor of Orthopedic Surgery, Weill Cornell Medical College
Assistant Attending Orthopedic Surgeon, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital


Member, NASS
Member, AAOS
Editorial Board, Spinal Deformity Journal


American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery


Alpha Omega Alpha, 2014
Gold Humanism Honor Society, 2014
Jefferson Dean's Summer Research Program Grant, 2011


Jefferson Medical College, 2014


Mount Sinai Hospital, Orthopedic Surgery Intern, 2014-2015


Mount Sinai Hospital, Orthopedic Surgery Resident, 2015-2019


Hospital for Special Surgery, 2019-2020

State Licensure



For My Patients

Publications by Dr. Dowdell

Patient Education

Selected Books/Chapters

Surgical Atlas Of Spinal Operations, Editors: Jason Eck & Alexander Vaccaro. Ponnappan RK, Dowdell J. "Open Transforaminal Lumbar Interbody Fusion" (pp 409-420)

AAOS Let's Discuss Biologics In Orthopedics. Dowdell J, Iatridis J, Kim J, Cho S. " Injectable Biologics for Degenerative Disk Disease: Current Concepts"

NCAA Newsletter, Sport Science Institute, Dowdell J, Hecht A. "On Field Evaluation of the Injured Athlete"

Hainline And Stern: Sports Neurology, Editors: Clotilde Hainline & Robert Stern. Dowdell J, Kim J, Overley S, Hecht A. "Biomechanics of the Cervical Spine and Common Mechanisms of Injury"

QuickRef Orthopedic Procedures Atlas, Editors: Evan Flatow, Alexis Colvin. Dowdell J. " Anterior Spinal Column Reconstruction: Anterior, Lateral, and Oblique Approaches to the Spine"

Ten Step Techniques for Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery Editors: Roger Hartl. Dowdell J, Barbagallo G, Qureshi S. "Treatment of Degenerative Lumbar Scoliosis with Minimally Invasive Multilevel LLIF in combination with Lateral ALIF"

Selected Presentations

Dowdell J, Markova D, Kepler C, Anderson G, Ponnappan RK. "Molecular Effect of Capacitive Coupling Signals on Human Intervertebral Disc Cells"

Kepler C, Markova DZ, Hilibrand AS, Ponnappan RK, Dowdell J, Vaccaro A, Albert TJ, Risbud M, Anderson DG. "Substance P Stimulates Production of Inflammatory Cytokines in Human Disc Cells"

Dowdell J, Jacobs S, Ukogu C, Ranson W, Di Capua J, Somani S, Kothari P. "ASA Classification as a Risk Factor for 30-Day Postoperative Complications Following Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion"

Dowdell J, Jacobs S, Ukogu C, Ranson W, Somani S, Di Capua J, Kothari P. "Preoperative Nutritional Status as a Risk Factor for Major Postoperative Complications Following Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion"

Dowdell J, Jacobs S, Ukogu C, Ranson W, Somani S, Di Capua J, Kothari P, Cho S. "Demographic, Preoperative, and Intraoperative Factors Predict Timing and Development of Postoperative Wound Complications in Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion"

Kim J, Dowdell J, Overley S, McAnany S, Cho S. "The Seven Year Cost Effectiveness Of Anterior Cervical Discectomy And Fusion Versus Cervical Disc Arthroplasty"

Chan J, Dowdell J, Chen K, Hecht A, Chaudhary S. "Epidemiology of Lumbar Spine Injuries in Collegiate Level Athletes in the United States"

Chan J, Dowdell J, Chen K, Hecht A, Chaudhary S. "Epidemiology of Cervical Spine Injuries in Collegiate Level Athletes in the United States"

Dowdell J, Chan J, Poeran J, Huang H, Chaudhary S. "Trends and Outcomes of Anticoagulation in Spinal Surgery"


Dr. Dowdell's research goal is to apply enabling technologies (i.e. Navigation, Robotics, Augmented Reality) to spine surgery to establish safer, more accurate, and more efficient patient care. He also plans to apply these technologies to the teaching of surgical trainees to create more effective training for future generations of surgeons.

Industry Relationships

Industry Relationships

One of the goals of HSS is to advance the science of orthopedic surgery, rheumatology, and related disciplines for the benefit of patients. Physicians at HSS may collaborate with outside companies for education, research and medical advances. HSS supports this collaboration in order to foster medical breakthroughs; however HSS also believes that these collaborations must be disclosed.

As part of the disclosure process, this website lists physician collaborations with outside companies. The disclosures are provided by information provided by the physician and other sources and are updated regularly. Further information may be available on individual company websites.

As of April 10, 2023, Dr. Dowdell reported no relationships with the healthcare industry.

By disclosing the collaborations of HSS physicians with industry on this website, HSS and its physicians make this information available to their patients and the public, thus creating a transparent environment for those who are interested in this information. Further, the HSS Conflicts of Interest Policy does not permit physicians to collect royalties on products developed by him/her that are used on patients at HSS.