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Alexander P. Hughes, MD

Spine Surgery
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Dr. Hughes headshot

Alexander P. Hughes, MD

Spine Surgery
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East River Professional Building
523 East 72nd Street
New York, NY 10021

Tel: 212.774.2992
Fax: 646.797.8664
East River Professional Building
523 East 72nd Street
New York, NY 10021

Tel: 212.774.2992
Fax: 646.797.8664
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Dr. Alex Hughes is a spinal surgeon at HSS and Associate Professor in Orthopedic Surgery at Weill Cornell Medical School. Dr. Hughes has a background in biomedical engineering and approaches each patient and symptom as unique challenges that require custom approaches. He specializes in degenerative, deformity, and trauma-related diseases of the cervical, thoracic, and lumbosacral spine. Dr. Hughes employs innovative, less invasive approaches to the spine whenever possible and indicated. He believes that one of the most critical factors in spine surgery is “getting it right the first time” for maximum benefit and outcomes. However, in cases of complex revision surgery, newer innovative techniques and approaches now allow for more effective treatment.

Dr. Hughes studied biomedical engineering at Vanderbilt University where he graduated summa cum laude and was inducted into the Tau Beta Pi engineering honor society (awarded to the top 5-10% of engineering students). While there, he spent a year working on device development and research at the W.M. Keck Free Electron Laser Center exploring laser applications in orthopedic and spinal surgery. Dr. Hughes completed a residency in orthopedic surgery at the UCLA School of Medicine and a spinal surgery fellowship at HSS Weill Cornell. Dr. Hughes has spent much time working with international thought leaders in spine surgery abroad and is an active collaborator in national and international education and research.

Dr. Hughes believes that being actively involved in research and critical thinking in spine surgery, as well as working in a collaborative environment, is the key to delivering the highest level of innovative care to each patient. To that end, he is involved in a number of research studies and he founded and is the Director of the International Fellowship in Spine Surgery and Research at HSS. His areas of spine related research include increasing the safety of anterior approaches to the cervical spine in complex cases, minimally invasive lateral approaches to the spine, connective tissue disease, and disc biology. He has been part of two different teams that have won annual “best research paper” awards in international peer-reviewed journals.

Dr. Hughes regularly publishes and presents scientific papers in international peer reviewed journals and symposia. Dr. Hughes founded the Multi-disciplinary Educational Conference at HSS. This regular conference brings together specialists in diverse spine related backgrounds (e.g. neurology, rheumatology, medicine, physiatry, anesthesia, and pain management) to discuss challenging cases and arrive at the best possible care for the individual patient. 

Dr. Hughes’ office is conveniently located in the HSS East River Professional Building Manhattan at 523 East 72nd Street.

For more information, visit www.spinecareofny.com

Patient Stories

Appointments

Associate Attending Orthopedic Surgeon, Hospital for Special Surgery
Associate Professor of Orthopedic Surgery, Weill Cornell Medical College
Associate Scientist, Research Division, Hospital for Special Surgery
​​​​​​​Director, International Fellowship in Spine Surgery and Research, Hospital for Special Surgery

Departments

Specialized Centers

HSS Spine
Dr. Hughes is one of the spinal surgeons at HSS Spine, a multi-disciplinary, comprehensive center of excellence for the treatment of all operative and non-operative spinal disorders.

The mission of HSS Spine is to bring together a highly renowned team of spine care specialists to cover a range of professional disciplines. Through research, education, and clinical excellence, these specialists provide the highest standard of comprehensive patient care and open new frontiers in the diagnosis and treatment of adult and pediatric spinal disorders, including scoliosis and herniated discs ("slipped discs"). To ensure that the needs of all spine patients are met, HSS Spine has experts from multiple fields.

Patients who suffer from back and joint pain often have difficulty finding answers to their questions and navigating the many treatment options available. Look no further – HSS Spine can handle all of your needs.

Special Expertise

Dr. Hughes believes in enhancing patient experience and outcomes through innovation and clinical research. He has a special interest in 3-D mechanics of the aging spine as well as in complex cervical spine. He believes that innovative, less invasive approaches to the spine, new biologic healing agents, and better understanding and treatment of connective tissue deficiencies (including bone) are revolutionizing the way we treat diseases of the spine. 

Conditions and Disorders
Ankylosing Spondylitis
Back Pain
Balance Issues
Cervical Radiculopathy
Cervical Arthritis (Spondylosis)
Cervical Fracture (Broken Neck)
Compression Fractures
Degenerative Disc Disease
Facet Arthropathy
Fractures of the Spine
Herniated Disc (Ruptured or Slipped Disc)
Instability
Kyphosis
Lower Back Pain
Myelopathy
Neck Sprain
Sciatica
Scoliosis
Spinal Stenosis
Spondylitis / Spondyloarthritis / Spondyloarthropathy
Spondylolysis / Spondylolisthesis
Whiplash

Procedures

Biologic Intervention
Bone Morphogenic Protein (BMP)
Decompression Surgery (cervical and lumbar laminectomy, micro-laminotomy, micro-foraminotomy)
Deformity Correction
Disc Replacement
Dynamic Stabilization
Endoscopic Spine Fusion
Lateral Access Spine Surgery
Microsurgical Discectomy
Microsurgical Decompression
Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery
Spinal Fusion (cervical, thoracic, lumbar)

Awards

Spine Across the Sea Best Poster Presentation -July 2012
North American Spine Society Outstanding Paper Award for Surgical Science - May 2013
Cervical Spine Research Society – European Section Best Poster Award -May 2013
European Society of Anesthesiology Best Abstract Award - June 2013
The Spine Journal & NASS Outstanding Paper Award for Surgical Science -October 2013
North American Spine Society Best Papers: Measurement of Surgical Outcomes - October 2015
North American Spine Society Value Award Nominations - November 2015
Global Spine Congress Best Papers Finalist - May 2017
Lumbar Spine Research Society Best Paper Award - April 2018
HSS Surgeon-in-Chief Research Grant Award - July 2020
 

Videos

Featured Patient Story:

Bobbi Stone patient testimonial
  • Bobbi Stone
    I said to him, ‘I have a ticket to go to Africa on safari... do you think I’m going to be on that plane?’ And he said, ‘You’ll be on it.’

Languages

English

Insurance Information


Please do not hesitate to contact our office if you have questions regarding your insurance coverage. You may have coverage subject to the availability of 'out-of-network' benefits.

Patient ratings for Dr. Hughes

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.

Below are the healthcare industry relationships reported by Dr. Hughes as of April 21, 2021.

  • 4WEB Medical - Research Support
  • Kuros Biosciences B.V. - Research Support 
  • NuVasive, Inc. - Research Support
  • Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals - Research Support

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.

Patients should feel free to ask their HSS physicians questions about these relationships.

Dr. Hughes in the News

Education

BE (bachelor of engineering, biomedical engineering), Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN, 1999
MD, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN, 2003

Internship

General Surgery, UCLA, Los Angeles, CA, 2004

Residency

Orthopaedic Surgery, UCLA, Los Angeles, CA, 2008

Fellowship

Spinal Surgery, Hospital for Special Surgery, 2009

State Licensure

Blog Posts by Dr. Hughes

Selected Books by Dr. Hughes

Lebl DR, Girardi FP, Hughes A, Cammisa FP.  “Chapter 28: Lumbar Disc Arthroplasty” Master Techniques in Orthopedic Surgery – The Spine, 3rd Edition. Edited by Thomas Zdeblick & Todd Albert. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2014.

Holly LT, Hughes A. Chapter 14:  Bone Biology and Lumbar Fusion Surgical Management of Low Back Pain, 2nd Edition. Daniel K Resnick; Regis W Haid; Jeffrey C Wang. New York: Thieme. Rolling Meadows, Ill.: American Association of Neurosurgeons; 2009.

Selected Publications

Jones C, Okano I, Salzmann S, Reisener M, Chiapparelli E, Shue J, Sama AA, Cammisa FP, Girardi FP, Hughes AP. Endplate Volumetric Bone Mineral Density Is a Predictor for Cage Subsidence following Lateral Lumbar Interbody Fusion: A Risk Factor Analysis. Spine J. 2021 Mar 11:S1529-9430(21)00109-1.

Okano I, Salzmann SN, Miller CO, Hoshino Y, Shue J, Sama AA, Cammisa FP, Girardi FP, Hughes AP. Risk Factors for Postoperative Dysphagia and Dysphonia following Anterior Cervical Spine Surgery: A Comprehensive Study Utilizing the Hospital for Special Surgery Dysphagia and Dysphonia Inventory (HSS-DDI). Spine J. 2021 Feb 18;S1529-9430(21)00082-6.

Chiapparelli EA, Okano I, Salzmann SN, Reisener M, Virk S, Winter F, Shue J, Sama AA, Cammisa FP, Girardi FP, Hughes AP. C2 Pedicle Sclerosis Grading, more than Diameter, Predicts Surgeons’ Preoperative Assessment of Safe Screw Placement: A Novel Classification System. World Neurosurg. 2021 Feb 4;S1878-8750(21)00163-7.

Mancuso CA, Duculan R, Cammisa FP, Sama AA, Hughes AP, Lebl DR, Yang J, Ghomrawi HMK, Girardi FP. Concordance Between Patients’ and Surgeons’ Expectations of Lumbar Surgery. Spine. 2021 Feb 15;46(4):249-258.

Mancuso CA, Duculan R, Cammisa FP, Sama AA, Hughes AP, Girardi FP. Unfulfilled Expectations After Surgery for Adult Lumbar Scoliosis Compared with Other Degenerative Conditions. HSS J. 2020 Dec;16(Suppl 2):452-460.

Reisener M, Pumberger M, Shue J, Girardi FP, Hughes AP. Trends in Lumbar Spinal Fusion – A Literature Review. J Spine Surg. 2020 Dec;6(4):752-761.;

Okano I, Salzmann SN, Jones C, Reisener M, Ortiz Miller C, Shirahata T, Shue J, Carrino JA, Sama AA, Cammisa FP, Girardi FP, Hughes AP. The Effect of Obesity, Diabetes, and Epidural Steroid Injection on Spinal Volumetric Bone Mineral Density Measured by Quantitative Computed Tomography. Euro Spine J. 2020 Oct 10.

Soffin EM, Reisener MJ, Sama AA, Beckman JD, Liguori GA, Lebl DR, Girardi FP, Cammisa FP, Hughes AP. Essential Spine Surgery During the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Comprehensive Framework for Clinical Practice from a Specialty Orthopedic Hospital in New York City. HSS J. 2020 Sep 10;1-7.

Rentenberger C, Okano I, Salzmann SN, Shirahata T, Reisener M, Shue J, Sama AA, Cammisa FP, Girardi FP, Hughes AP. Determinants of Postoperative Spinal Height Change among Adult Spinal Deformity Patients with Long Construct Circumferential Fusion. Asian Spine J. 2020 Sep 3.

Okano I, Jones CA, Rentenberger C, Sax OC, Salzmann SN, Reisener M, Shue J, Carrino JA, Sama AA, Cammisa FP, Girardi FP, Hughes AP. The Association between Endplate Changes and Risk for Early Severe Cage Subsidence among Standalone Lateral Lumbar Interbody Fusion Patient. Spine. 2020 Aug 26.

Reisener MJ, Hughes AP, Schadler P, Forman A, Sax OC, Shue J, Cammisa FP, Sama AA, Girardi FP, Mancuso CA. Expectations of Lumbar Surgery Outcomes among Opioid Users Compared to Non-Users. Asian Spine J. 2020 Aug 20.

Carlson BB, Salzmann SN, Shirahata T, Ortiz Miller C, Carrino JA, Yang J, Reisener MJ, Sama AA, Cammisa FP, Girardi FP, Hughes AP. Prevalence of Osteoporosis and Osteopenia Diagnosed Using Quantitative CT in 296 Consecutive Lumbar Fusion Patients. Neurosurg Focus. 2020 Aug;49(2):E5.

Mancuso CA, Rigaud MC, Wellington B, Duculan R, Cammisa FP, Sama AA, Hughes AP, Girardi FP. Qualitative Assessment of Patients' Perspectives and Willingness to Improve Healthy Lifestyle Physical Activity After Lumbar Surgery. Eur Spine J. 2020 June 19.

Hoshino Y, Okano I, Chiapparelli E, Salzmann SN, Ortiz Miller C, Shue J, Sama AA, Cammisa FP, Girardi FP, Hughes AP. Hyoid Position as a Novel Predictive Marker for Postoperative Dysphagia and Dysphonia after Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion. Eur Spine J. 2020 Jun 7.

Okano I, Miller CO, Salzmann SN, Hoshino Y, Shue J, Sama AA, Cammisa FP, Girardi FP, Hughes AP. Minimal Clinically Important Differences of the Hospital for Special Surgery Dysphagia and Dysphonia Inventory and Other Dysphagia Measurements in Patients Undergoing ACDF. Clin Orthop Relat Res. 2020 Apr 8.

Salzmann SN, Okano I, Shue J, Hughes AP. Disabling Pruritus in a Patient With Cervical Stenosis. J Am Acad Orthop Surg Glob Res Rev. 2020 Mar 9;4(3):e19.00178.

Okano I, Jones C, Salzmann SN, Ortiz Miller C, Shirahata T, Rentenberger C, Shue J, Carrino JA, Sama AA, Cammisa FP, Girardi FP, Hughes AP. Postoperative Decrease of Regional Volumetric Bone Mineral Density Measured by Quantitative Computed Tomography after Lumbar Fusion Surgery in Adjacent Vertebrae. Osteoporos Int. 2020 Mar 13.

Salzmann SN, Okano I, Shue J, Hughes AP. Disabling Pruritus in a Patient with Cervical Stenosis. J Am Acad Orthop Surg Glob Res Rev. 2020 Mar 9;4(3):e19.00178.

Okano I, Jones C, Salzmann SN, Reisner MJ, Sax OC, Rentenberger C, Shue J, Carrino JA, Sama AA, Cammisa FP, Girardi FP, Hughes AP. Endplate Volumetric Bone Mineral Density Measured by Quantitative Computed Tomography as a Novel Predictive Measure of Severe Cage Subsidence after Standalone Lateral Lumbar Fusion. Eur Spine J. 2020 Mar 4.

Salzmann SN, Okano I, Miller CO, Chiapparelli E, Reisener MJ, Winter F, Shue J, Carrino JA, Sama AA, Cammisa FP, Girardi FP, Hughes AP. Regional Bone Mineral Density Differences measured by Quantitative Computed Tomography in Patients undergoing Anterior Cervical Spine Surgery. Spine J. 2020 Feb 19. pii: S1529-9430(20)30055-3.

For more publications, please see the PubMed listing.

Selected Presentations

“The association of Spinal Lean Muscle Volume on Lumbar Spine MRI and Regional Volumetric Bone Mineral Density Measured by Quantitative Computed Tomography”. Chiapparelli E, Okano I, Adl Amini D, Zhu J, Salzmann S, Sax O, Tan ET, Oezel L, Shue J, Carrino JA, Girardi FP, Cammisa FP,  Sama AA, Hughes AP. North American Spine Society. Boston, Massachusetts, September 2021

“Preoperative MRI-based Vertebral Bone Quality (VBQ) Score Assessment in Patients undergoing Lumbar Spinal Fusion”. Salzmann SN, Okano I, Jones C, Zhu J, Lu S, Onyekwere I, Balaji V, Reisener M, Chiapparelli E, Shue J, Carrino JA, Girardi FP, Cammisa FP, Sama AA, Hughes AP. North American Spine Society. Boston, Massachusetts, September 2021

“The Association of Transversus Abdominis Plane Block with Length of Stay, Pain and Opioid Consumption After Anterior or Lateral Lumbar Fusion: A Retrospective Study”. Reisener M, Hughes AP, Okano I, Zhu J, Lu S, Salzmann SN, Shue J, Sama AA, Cammisa FP, Girardi FP, Soffin EM. North American Spine Society. Boston, Massachusetts, September 2021

“Comparison of Opioid Use in Multilevel Lumbar Spinal Fusion Patients Before and After Implementation of an Institutional Opioid Minimizing Program”. Reisener M, Hughes AP, Okano I, Zhu J, Arzani A, Kostas J, Salzmann SN, Shue J, Sama AA, Cammisa FP, Girardi FP, Soffin EM. North American Spine Society. Boston, Massachusetts, September 2021

“Evaluation of Cage Subsidence in Standalone Lateral Lumbar Interbody Fusion: Novel 3D-printed Titanium versus Polyetheretherketone (PEEK) Cage”. Adl Amini D, Oezel L, Okano I, Zhu J, Chiapparelli E, Jones C, Shue J, Sama AA, Cammisa FP, Girardi FP, Hughes AP. North American Spine Society. Boston, Massachusetts, September 2021

“Preoperative MRI-based Vertebral Bone Quality (VBQ) Score Assessment in Patients Undergoing Lumbar Spinal Fusion”. Stephan N Salzmann, Ichiro Okano, Conor Jones, Jiaqi Zhu, Shuting Lu, Onyekwere I, Balaji V, Reisener MJ, Chiapparelli E, Shue J, Carrino JA, Girardi FP, Cammisa FP, Sama AA, Hughes AP. ISSLS Virtual Annual Meeting, June 2021

“Endplate Volumetric Bone Mineral Density Is a Predictor for Cage Subsidence Following Lateral Lumbar Interbody Fusion: A Risk Factor Analysis”. Jones C, Okano I, Salzmann S, Chiapparelli E, Reisener MJ, Shue J, Sama A, Cammisa F, Girardi F, Hughes AP. ISSLS Virtual Annual Meeting, June 2021

“Comparison of Opioid Use in Multilevel Lumbar Spinal Fusion Patients Before and After Implementation of an Institutional Opioid Minimizing Program”. Reisener MJ, Hughes AP, Okano I, Zhu J, Arzani A, Costas J, Salzmann SN, Shue J, Sama AA, Girardi FP, Soffin EM. ISSLS Virtual Annual Meeting, June 2021

“Thoracic Bone Mineral Density Measured by Quantitative Computed Tomography in Patients Undergoing Spine Surgery”. Salzmann SN, Okano I, Jones C, Basile E, Iuso A, Zhu J, Reisener MJ, Chiapparelli E, Shue J, Carrino JA Girardi FP, Cammisa FP, Sama AA, Hughes AP. ISSLS Virtual Annual Meeting, June 2021

“A Comprehensive MRI Analysis of Paraspinal and Psoas Muscle Size, Lean Muscle, and Fatty Infiltration in Patients undergoing Lumbar Spinal Fusion”  . Salzmann SN, Okano I, Tan ET, Sax OC, Chiapparelli E, Reisener MJ, Shue J, Girardi FP, Cammisa FP, Sama AA, Sneag DB, Hughes AP. ISSLS Virtual Annual Meeting, June 2021

“Endplate Volumetric Bone Mineral Density Is a Predictor for Cage Subsidence following Lateral Lumbar Interbody Fusion: A Risk Factor Analysis”. Jones C, Okano I, Salzmann SN, Chiapparelli E, Reisener M, Sama AA, Cammisa FP, Girardi FP, Hughes AP. Global Spine Congress. Paris, France, May 2021

“Preoperative MRI-based Vertebral Bone Quality (VBQ) Score Assessment in Patients undergoing Lumbar Spinal Fusion". Salzmann SN, Okano I, Jones C, Zhu J, Lu S, Onyekwere I, Balaji V, Reisener M, Chiapparelli E, Shue J, Carrino JA, Girardi FP, Cammisa FP, Sama AA, Hughes AP. Global Spine Congress. Paris, France, May 2021

“Thoracic Bone Mineral Density Measured by Quantitative Computed Tomography in Patients undergoing Spine Surgery”. Salzmann SN, Okano I, Jones C, Basile E, Iuso A, Zhu J, Reisener M, Chiapparelli E, Shue J, Carrino JA, Girardi FP, Cammisa FP, Sama AA, Hughes AP. Global Spine Congress. Paris, France, May 2021

“Endplate Volumetric Bone Mineral Density Is a Predictor for Cage Subsidence following Lateral Lumbar Interbody Fusion: A Risk Factor Analysis”. Jones C, Okano I, Salzmann SN, Chiapparelli E, Reisener M, Shue J, Cammisa FP, Girardi FP, Hughes AP. LSRS Virtual Annual Meeting, April 2021  

“Workers’ Compensation Status May Negatively Impact Post-Operative Dysphagia and Dysphonia Following Anterior Cervical Fusion”. Reisener M, Okano I, Zhu J, Salzmann SN, Ortiz Miller C, Shue J, Sama AA, Cammisa FP, Girardi FP, Hughes AP. Cervical Spine Research Society. Las Vegas, Nevada. December 2020

“Cost-effectiveness Analysis of Teriparatide Therapy for the Prevention of Proximal Junctional Kyphosis/Failure and Subsequent Revision after Adult Spinal Deformity Surgery”. Okano I, Yang J, Salzmann SN, Shue J, Sama AA, Cammisa FP, Girardi FP, Hughes AP. Lumbar Spine Research Society (LSRS) Annual Meeting, Chicago, IL, November 2020

“Fostering Physical Activity after Complex Lumbar Spine Surgery: Long-term Results of a Randomized Trial”. Mancuso CA, Rigaud MC, Duculan R, Cammisa FP, Sama AA, Hughes AP, Girardi FP. EuroSpine. Vienna, Austria, October 2020

“Hyoid Position as a Predictive Marker for Postoperative Dysphagia and Dysphonia after Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion”. Hoshino Y, Okano I, Salzmann S, Chiapparelli E, Shue J, Sama AA, Cammisa FP, Girardi FP, Hughes AP. EuroSpine. Vienna, Austria, October 2020

“Risk Factors for Postoperative Dysphagia and Dysphonia following Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion: A Comprehensive Study Utilizing the Hospital for Special Surgery Dysphagia and Dysphonia Inventory (HSS-DDI)”. Okano I, Ortiz Miller C, Salzmann SN, Chiapparelli E, Hoshino Y, Shue J, Sama AA, Cammisa FP, Girardi FP, Hughes AP. EuroSpine. Vienna, Austria, October 2020

“Does Lumbar Spine Pathology Affect Bone Mineral Density Measurement by Quantitative Computed Tomography (QCT)?” Salzmann S, Carlson BB, Shirahata T, Ortiz Miller C,  Carrino J,  Yang J,  Sama AA,  Cammisa Jr FP,  Girardi FP,  Hughes AP. Lumbar Spine Research Society (LSRS) Annual Meeting, Chicago, IL, April 2018

Research Description

Integrated Spine Research Program (ISRP)

Dr. Hughes is a member of the ISRP.  The ISRP combines experience from experts involved in both surgical and non surgical spine patient care along with PhD researchers with backgrounds in basic science and engineering. The mission of the ISRP is to progress technology from "Discovery to Recovery" thereby improving treatments and outcomes for patients.

Research Interests

Complex Cervical Spine Reconstruction
Connective Tissue Degradation
Minimally invasive approaches to complex spinal pathologies
Outcome Registries
Endplate diffusion
Nerve Deficits and Injury

Clinical Trials

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Video

Spine Care Institute at Hospital for Special Surgery