Meet Dr. Wright

Get to know
Neill Wright, MD

Dr. Neill Wright is a board-certified Neurosurgeon, fellowship-trained in complex spinal Neurosurgery, and both nationally and internationally recognized as a cervical spine expert.


After his undergraduate degree in Neurobiology at the University of California, Berkeley, he obtained his medical degree at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).  He completed his residency training in Neurological Surgery at Washington University/Barnes-Jewish Hospital/St. Louis Children’s Hospital.  He then completed a fellowship in complex spinal Neurosurgery at both UCLA and Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.


From 2001 to 2020, Dr. Wright was the senior neurosurgical spine surgeon at Washington University, working at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and St. Louis Children’s Hospital, and was the Director of the Neurosurgical Spine Fellowship.  He has helped train many spine surgeons during that time, including several currently practicing in the St. Louis area.  In 2015, he spearheaded the expansion of the Neurosurgery service into the new Barnes-Jewish West County Hospital.


In May 2020, Dr. Wright chose to leave academics and Washington University to focus on delivering high-quality, personalized care to patients with cervical spinal disorders. Due to a non-compete contract signed with Washington University when he started his practice there in 2001, he was required to practice outside of St. Louis until 2022. During that period of non-compete, Dr. Wright moved his practice to Blessing Hospital in Quincy, Illinois while his family stayed in St. Louis.  In May of 2022, Dr. Wright returned to St. Louis and joined the newly formed group, Neurosurgery of St Louis.



“Neurosurgery of St Louis is a group made up of some of the most respected and talented independent neurosurgeons in the region, created to provide top quality neurosurgical care in an efficient, timely, and personal manner, in multiple locations in Missouri and Illinois,” Dr. Wright said. “I am proud to be affiliated with them.”


Dr. Wright focuses his practice on disorders of the cervical spine and has performed over 2,500 cervical spine surgeries. He is passionate about cervical spine and in helping patients get back to living their lives without pain. To this end, Dr. Wright is dedicated to staying on the leading edge of technology and making those technologies available to his patients. In fact, during his time at Washington University, he performed the largest series of cervical artificial disc surgeries (cervical arthroplasty) and continues to perform arthroplasty and other leading-edge techniques.


Dr. Wright is the developer of the C2 laminar fixation technique, now popular worldwide for the treatment of atlantoaxial instability. He is also one of the leading experts on the use of synthetic bone in cervical spine procedures. Additionally, he has several patents related to cervical spine devices and treatments.

He has hospital privileges at multiple facilities in the bi-state area, including Missouri Baptist, Progress West, Barnes St. Peters, Anderson Hospital, and HSHS St. Elizabeth’s Hospital.  His main clinic location is conveniently located in St. Louis County, with satellite clinics in both Missouri and Illinois.


For the past two decades, he was a Professor of Neurosurgery at Washington University in St. Louis.  Dr. Wright was Director of the Spine Fellowship there and held the prestigious Herbert Lourie Professor of Neurosurgery endowed professorship.



Harvard Medical School, Postgraduate Medical Education
Surgical Leadership Program, 1-year Certificate Program



Spinal Neurosurgery Fellowship, J. Patrick Johnson, M.D., Director
Los Angeles, California



Institute for Spinal Disorders, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center



Division of Neurological Surgery, U.C.L.A. School of Medicine



Washington University School of Medicine



Chief Resident in Neurosurgery, Department of Neurological Surgery



Research Fellow, Division of Bone and Mineral Disease



Chief Resident in Pediatric Neurosurgery, St. Louis Children’s Hospital



Resident in Neurosurgery, Department of Neurological Surgery



Intern, Department of General Surgery



University of California Los Angeles School of Medicine

Honors & Awards


Clinical Research Grant Award

The Cervical Spine Research Society



Present  Named one of “America’s Best Doctors”

Best Doctors, Inc.



Russell S. Hibbs Basic Science Award

Scoliosis Research Society



Outstanding Basic Science Research Award

The Cervical Spine Research Society



Mayfield Award for Basic Science Research

Joint Section on Disorders of the Spine and Peripheral Nerves



Best Oral Presentation

Spine Fellows Program (“Spine + Science + Management”)

Sponsored by Sofamor Danek



NIH Research Fellow (Institutional Grant)

Division of Bone and Mineral Diseases

Department of Internal Medicine

Washington University School of Medicine



Richard D. Walter Award

Outstanding Performance as a Medical Student in Neurology

Department of Neurology

University of California, Los Angeles School of Medicine



Regents’ Scholarship

University of California, Berkeley



Eagle Scout

Certifications & Licensures


American Board of Neurological Surgery – Board Certified



Diplomate: National Board of Medical Examiners



State of Illinois



State of Missouri


State of California



Cervical Spine Research Society (CSRS)



Co-Chair of the Annual Meeting



Co-Chair of Instructional Meeting



North American Spine Society (NASS)



Congress of Neurological Surgeons (CNS)

American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS)

AANS/CNS Joint Section on Disorders of the Spine


Neurosurgical Spine Fellowship at Washington University, 2012-2020


American Board of Neurological Surgery (ABNS)

Guest Examiner


Barnes-Jewish Hospital/Barnes-Jewish West County/Washington University     

Executive Steering Committee, Spine, 2014-2020


Barnes-Jewish West County Hospital

Replacement Hospital Working Committee 2017-2020


Quality Assurance Committee 2017-2020


Musculoskeletal and Spine Program Oversight Committee, 2017-2020


Operations Committee, Spine, 2017-2020


Spine Working Group, 2018-2020


Blessing Hospital

Peer Review Committee, 2021-2022



Spine Supply Physician Leadership Committee, 2016-2019

Lead neurosurgeon in the successful effort to reduce implant spend by $30,000,0000 in the BJC system over a 5-year period of time


Cervical Spine Research Society (CSRS)

Co-Chair, Annual Meeting, 2022

Co-Chair, Instructional Course, 2021

Nominating Committee, 2019-present

Education Committee, 2019-present

Special Projects Committee, 2019-present

Traveling Fellowship Committee, 2014-2016

Membership Committee, 2014-2016

Scientific Program Committee, 2013-2015

Grant/Research Committee, 2010-2012


Invited reviewer

British Journal of Neurosurgery


Ear and Hearing

Operative Neurosurgery


Rehabilitation Institute of St. Louis

Board of Governors, 2012-2017


Washington University School of Medicine

Electronic Records Committee 2009-2020

Neurosurgery Operating Room Committee 2005-2020

Combined Neurological/Orthopedic Surgery Working Group 2013-2020

Publications & Chapters


1.  Khalifeh, J.M., Akbari, S.H., Khandpur, U., Johnston, W., Wright, N.M., Hawasli, A.H., Dorward, I., Santiago, P., and Ray, W.Z.  Validation of the Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder, and Hand (DASH) in patients undergoing cervical spine surgery.  Spine 44(23):1676-84, 2019


2.  Kim, K.D., Ramanathan, D., Highsmith, J., Lavelle, W., Gerszten, P., Vale, F., and Wright, N.M.  DuraSeal Exact is a safe adjunctive treatment for durotomy in spine: postapproval study.  Global Spine J9(3):272-8, 2019


3.  Hawasli, A., Cashin, J., and Wright, N.M.  Modular cervical plate system for adjacent segment disease.  J Neurosurgical Sci, Feb 23, 2018.


4.  Luksanapruksa, P., Buchowski, J.M., Wright, N.M., Valone, F.H., Peters, C., and Bumpass, D.B.  Outcomes and effectiveness of posterior occipitocervical fusion for suboccipital spinal metastases.  J Neurosurgery: Spine 26(5):554-9, 2016.


5.  Stephens, B.H., and Wright, N.M.  Reconstruction of the C1 lateral mass with a titanium expandable cage after resection of eosinophilic granuloma in an adult patient.  J Neurosurgery: Spine 26(2):252-6, 2016 [cover article].


6.  Murphy, R., Sun, P., Junqian, X., Wong, Y., Sullivan, S., Gamble, P., Wagner, J., Wright, N.M., Dorward, I.G., Riew, K.D., Santiago, P., Kelly, M.P., Trinaus, K., Ray, W.Z., and Song, S.-K.  Magnetic Resonance Imaging Biomarker of Axon Loss Reflects Cervical Spondylotic Myelopathy Severity.  Spine 41(9):751-6, 2016.


7.  Murphy, R., He, Y., Janjua, M., Schuerer, D., Ray, W., and Wright, N.  Hyperacute Stabilization (<12 hours) for Polytrauma Patients with Unstable Spinal Fracture.  J. Neurosurg Sci. 60(1):1-10, 2015.


8.  Wright, N.M.,  et al.  Spinal Sealant System Provides Better Intraoperative Watertight Closure than Standard of Care during Spinal Surgery: A Prospective, Multi-Center, Randomized Controlled Study.  Spine 40(8):505-13, 2015.


9.  Bumpass, D.B., Buchowski, J.M., Park, A., Gray, B.L., Agarwal, R., Baty, J., Zebala, L.P., Riew, K.D., Santiago, P., Ray, W.Z., and Wright, N.M.  An Update on Civilian Spinal Gunshot Wounds: Treatment, Neurologic Recovery, and Complications.  Spine 40(7):450-461, 2015


10.  Sun, S.Q. … Wright, N.M…and Ray, W.Z.  Simpson Grade I-III Resection of Spinal Atypical (WHO Grade II) Meningiomas is Associated With Symptom Resolution and Low Recurrence.  Neurosurgery76(6):739-46, 2015


11.  Hawasli, A., Ray, W.Z., and Wright, N.M., Symptomatic thoracic spinal cord herniation: case series and technical report.  Neurosurgery 10(S3):E498-504, 2014.


12.  Kim, KD., and Wright, N.M.,  Polyethylene Glycol (PEG) Hydrogel Spinal Sealant (DuraSeal™ Spinal Sealant) as an Adjunct to Sutured Dural Repair in the Spine: Results of a Prospective, Multicenter, Randomized Controlled Study.  Spine 36(23): 1906-12, 2011.


13.  Marschall J, Bhavan KP, Olsen MA, Fraser VJ, Wright NM, Warren DK. The impact of pre-biopsy antibiotics on pathogen recovery in hematogenous vertebral osteomyelitis. Clinical Infectious Diseases52(7): 867-72, 2011.


14.  Dorward, I., and Wright, N.M., Seven years experience with C2 translaminar screw fixation- clinical experience and review of the literature.  Neurosurgery 68(6):1490-9, 2011.


15.  Bhavan, K.P., Marschall, J., Olsen, M.A., Fraser, V.J., Wright, N.M., and Warren, D.K..  The epidemiology of hematogenous vertebral osteomyelitis: a cohort study in a tertiary care hospital.  Biomed Central (BMC) Infectious Diseases 10:158, 2010.


16.  Ray, W.Z., and Wright, N.M..  Anterior cervical arthrodesis using an osteoconductive scaffold: the use of beta-tricalcium phosphate with local bone marrow aspirate in over 100 patients.  Spine Arthroplasty Society (SAS) Journal 3(3):114-7, 2009.


17.  Menendez, J. and Wright, N.M.  Techniques of posterior C1-2 fusion.  Neurosurgery 60(S1):103-111, 2007.


18.  Cassinelli, E., Lee, M., Skalak, A., Ahn, N., and Wright, N.M.  Anatomic considerations for the placement of C2 laminar screws.  Spine 31(24):2767-2771, 2006.


19.  Ashley, W., and Wright, N.M.  A giant nonsyndromic anterior sacral meningocele resected via an anterior approach: case report and review of literature.  Surgical Neurology 66(1):89-93, 2006.


20.  Leonard, J.J., and Wright, N.M.  Pediatric atlantoaxial fixation with bilateral, crossing C2 translaminar screws.  Journal of Neurosurgery: Pediatrics 104(1):59-63, 2006 [cover article].


21.  Limbrick, D., and Wright, N.M.  Verification of nerve
root decompression during minimally-invasive lumbar microdiskectomy: a
practical application of surgeon-driven evoked EMG.  Minimally Invasive Neurosurgery 48:1-5, 2005.


22. Wright, N.M.  Translaminar rigid fixation of the axis.  Journal of Neurosurgery: Spine 3:409-14, 2005.


23. Guarino, A.H., and Wright, N.M.  Pneumocephalus after a lumbar epidural steroid injection.  Pain Physician 8(2):239-41, 2005.


24. Wright, N.M.  Single-surgeon simultaneous versus staged anterior and posterior spine reconstruction: a comparative study.  Journal of Spinal Disorders and Techniques 18(S1):48-57, 2005.


25. Wright, N.M.  Posterior C2 fixation using bilateral, crossing C2 laminar screws: case series and technical note.  Journal of Spinal Disorders and Techniques 17(2):158-162, 2004. [cited by more than 100 articles on PubMed]

a. Cited as paper #75 in The 100 Most Influential Spine Fracture Publications.  J Spine Surg5(1):97-107, 2019.


26.  Jost, S.C., Hsien, T.P., and Wright, N.M.  Symptomatic intraosseous synovial cyst in the cervical spine: a case report.  Spine 28 (17): E344-6, 2003.


27.  Riew, K.D., Lou, J., Wright, N.M., Cheng, S.L., Bae, T., and Avioli, L.V. Thoracoscopic intradiscal spine fusion using a minimally invasive gene therapy technique.  Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery 85-A (5):866-71, 2003.


28.  Walker, D.H., and Wright, N.M.  Bone morphogenetic proteins and spinal fusion.  Neurosurgery Focus13(6) Article 3, 2002.


29.  Patel, N.P., Wright, N.M., Choi, W.W., McBride, D.Q., and Johnson, J.P.  Forestier disease associated with a retroodontoid mass causing cervicomedullary compression.  Journal of Neurosurgery: Spine96(3):190-6, 2002.


30.  Cheng, S.L., Lou, J., Wright, N.M., Lai, C.F., Avioli, L.V., and Riew, K.D.  In Vitro and In Vivo induction of bone formation using a recombinant adenoviral vector carrying the human BMP-2 gene.  Calcified Tissue International 68(2):87-94, 2001. [cited by more than 100 articles on PubMed]


31.  Kaplan, S., Wright, N.M., Yundt, K., and Lauryssen, C.  Adjacent fracture-dislocations of the lumbosacral spine: case report.  Neurosurgery 44(5):1134-7, 1999.


32.  Wright, N.M., Kaufman, B., Haughey, B., and Lauryssen, C.  Reconstruction of complex cervical spine neoplastic disease with a vascularized fibular strut graft: case report.  Journal of Neurosurgery: Spine 90(1):133-9, 1999.


33.  Wright, N.M., and Lauryssen, C.  Techniques of posterior C1-2 stabilization.  Techniques in Neurosurgery 4(4):286-97, 1998.


34.  Riew, K.D., Wright, N.M., Cheng, S., Avioli, L., Lou, J.  Induction of bone formation using a recombinant adenoviral vector carrying the human BMP-2 gene.  Calcified Tissue International 63(4):357-60, 1998. [cited by more than 100 articles on PubMed]


35.  Wright, N.M., and Lauryssen, C.  Vertebral artery injury in C1/2 transarticular screw fixation: results of a survey of the AANS/CNS joint section on disorders of the spine and peripheral nerves.  Journal of Neurosurgery 4(88):634-40, 1998. [cover article] [cited by more than 100 articles on PubMed]


a. Cited as paper #49 in The 100 Most Influential Publications in Cervical Spine Research.  Spine 41(6):538-548, 2016.

b. Cited as paper #18 in The 100 Most Influential Publications in Cervical Spine Surgery.  Global Spine J 6(1):69-79, 2016.

c. Cited as paper #24 in Most Cited Publications in Cervical Spine Surgery.  Int J Spine Surg11:19, 2017.


36.  Paw, B., Moskowitz, S., Uhrhammer, N., Wright, N., Kaback, M., and Neufeld, E.  Juvenile GM2gangliosidosis caused by substitution of histidine for arginine at position 499 or 504 of the alpha-subunit of beta-hexosaminidase.  Journal of Biological Chemistry.  265(16):9452-57, 1990.


37.  Nord, E., Trizna, W., Gravich, A., Mikhail, N., Wright, N., Hafezi, A., and Fine, L.  The isolated proximal tubular (PT) cell: a new model for studying hormonal regulation of transport.  Kidney International.  25(1):311, 1984.





1.  Salehi, A., Price, R.L., and Wright, N.M. Dural lacerations, CSF fistula, pseudomeningoceles, and strategies for repair.  In: Bridwell, K. and Gupta, M. (eds): Textbook of Spinal Surgery, 4th  2020.


2.  Wright, N.M. C2 translaminar fixation.  In: Vaccaro, A.R., and Baron, E.M. (eds): Atlas of Operative Techniques in Spinal Surgery, 3rd  2016.

Blackburn, S., Ray, W.Z., Santiago, P., and Wright, N.M. C2 pedicle, C2 pars, and C2 laminar screws.  Cervical Spine Surgery: Current Trends and Challenges.


2.  Wright, N.M. C2 translaminar fixation.  In: Vaccaro, A.R., and Baron, E.M. (eds): Atlas of Operative Techniques in Spinal Surgery, 2nd  2012.


3.  Lee, A., and Wright, N.M. Occipital, C1, and C2 instrumentation.  In: Winn, H.R. (ed)  Youmans Textbook of Neurological Surgery, 6th  2011.


4.  Limbrick, D.D, Leonard, J., Wright, N.M., and Leonard, J. Cervical spine trauma in children including SCIWORA.  Surgery of the Pediatric Spine.  New York: Thieme, 2007.


5.  Wright, N.M., and Mink, J.   In: Batjer H., and Loftus, C. (eds):  Textbook of Neurosurgery.  Philadelphia: Lippincott-Raven, 2002.


6. Wright, N.M., Shafaie, F., and Lauryssen, C.  Evaluation of the post-operative thoracic spine.  In: Boden, S. (ed): The Failed Spine.  Philadelphia: Lippincott-Raven, 2002.

Patents & Innovations


Buoyancy-based Cervical Traction System

(Patent number 9125729)


Systems and Methods for Performing Spine Surgery

(Patent number 10188480)


Device and Method for Monitoring Pain

(Publication number 20160007878)


Discectomy instrument

(Patent number 10743891)




Lead, Peri-operative Time Out Process (revised), Barnes-Jewish West County Hospital, 2019.


Developed technique of C2 translaminar fixation


Co-developer of Vuepoint™ posterior occipital-cervical-thoracic fixation system (Nuvasive)


Co-developer of Vuepoint 2™ posterior occipital-cervical-thoracic fixation system (Nuvasive)


Co-developer of X-Core Mini™ expandable cage (Nuvasive)


Co-developer of Insignia™ anterior cervical plate (Alphatec)