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Dr. Behrooz Akbarnia


Dr. Behrooz Akbarnia is a board certified Orthopaedic Surgeon who specializes in the treatment of spinal disorders. Dr. Akbarnia has had a highly distinguished career in the spine field and is respected worldwide for his contributions to improving the treatment of patients with spinal disorders.

Currently, Dr. Akbarnia is the Medical Director at the San Diego Center for Spinal Disorders in La Jolla, CA. He is also a Clinical Professor in the Department of Orthopaedics at the University of California San Diego, and Director of the San Diego Spine Fellowship Program.

Following completion of his medical degree at Tehran University Medical School in Iran, Dr. Akbarnia moved to the United States in 1968 to continue his training. He completed his internship in Massachusetts, orthopaedic surgery residency at Albany Medical Center, Albany, NY and in pediatric orthopaedic surgery (Shriners and St. Christopher Hospitals in Philadelphia, PA).

However, the most formative part of Dr. Akbarnia’s training was his completion of the John H. Moe Scoliosis Fellowship Program. Dr. Moe is considered the forefather of modern orthopaedic spine surgery in the US, and many of his fellows, including Dr. Akbarnia, have gone on to become leaders in the field of spinal deformity. Dr. Akbarnia notes that the treatment principles he employs today are rooted in the knowledge and expertise he gained from Dr. Moe and his associates. Upon completion of his training,

Dr. Akbarnia rose to become Professor and vice Chairman of Orthopaedic Surgery at St. Louis University. Then in 1990, he made the decision to move to the west coast and established his current practice in La Jolla, CA. Dr. Akbarnia’s years in the San Diego area have been marked by the development of his internationally recognized spine practice (the San Diego Center for Spinal Disorders), further accomplishments in medical research and academics, and also extensive involvement with community service in southern California. Dr. Akbarnia is the Director of the San Diego Spine Fellowship, of which the graduates are featured in the Fellowship section of this website. He has also chaired the San Diego City Wide Spine meetings since 1997, a meeting which brings interested physicians in the San Diego Spine community together for educational forums and discussion.

Throughout his career, Dr. Akbarnia has received many awards and honors including the Physician’s Recognition Award (American Medical Association), the Orthopaedic Educational Achievement Award (American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons), and the Goldstein Award for the Best Clinical Exhibit (Scoliosis Research Society). Most recently he was listed as one of "America’s Top Surgeons" by the Consumers’ Research Council of America as well as being named as a “Top Doctor” both in 2004 and 2005 by San Diego Magazine. Dr. Akbarnia is an active member of many professional societies and organizations. Currently, he is President of the Scoliosis Research Society (the leading society for spinal deformity surgeons). He also is an active member of the Orthopaedic Research Society, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, the American Orthopaedic Association, the Pediatric Orthopedic Society of North America, the American Spinal Injury Association, and the North American Spine Society.

A prolific researcher and author, Dr. Akbarnia has published over 200 peer-reviewed and invited articles and book chapters and has edited two books. Further, Dr. Akbarnia has traveled and presented his research at more than 400 medical meetings around the world. While Dr. Akbarnia’s medical accomplishments are outstanding, it is his integrity and compassion that is often most commented on by his patients. He is currently spear-heading the development of the Growing Spine Study Group, an international study group working to study and improve the care of young children with Early Onset Scoliosis. He has been involved in numerous community service projects, including leadership roles with Easter Seals, Neurofibromatosis Foundation and in various child abuse prevention programs.

Dr. Akbarnia and his wife live in La Jolla. They have three adult children and two grandchildren.