Alexander P. Hughes, MD

Dr. Alex Hughes is a spinal surgeon at the Hospital for Special Surgery and Assistant Professor in Orthopaedic 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 orthopaedic 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. Dr. Hughes founded the International Fellowship in Spine Research at HSS and is active in many areas of spine related research. Some areas of research focus 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 has been appointed the Educational Director of the Spine Service at HSS. He was also appointed Director of Spine Surgery and supervises the spine surgery service at the James J. Peters Bronx VA hospital.

Dr. Hughes’ office is conveniently located in the HSS complex in Manhattan (523 East 72nd Street).

Appointments

Assistant Attending Orthopedic Surgeon, Hospital for Special Surgery
Assistant Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery, Weill Cornell Medical College
Director of Education, Spine Surgery, Hospital for Special Surgery
Director, Spine Surgery Service, James J. Peters Bronx VA

Specialty

Subspecialty

Spine

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)

Specialized Centers

Insurances Accepted

Aetna
Blue Cross HMO POS
Blue Cross PPO
Cigna
Connecticare
HIP
Medicare
Oxford
United Healthcare

If Dr. Hughes does not participate with your particular insurance plan, you may still have coverage subject to the availability of 'out-of-network' benefits. Please do not hesitate to contact our office if you have questions regarding your insurance coverage.

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

New York, California

Alexander P. Hughes, MD has contributed to the following articles on HSS.edu:

Selected Publications

An Association Can Be Found Between Hounsfield Units and Success of Lumbar Spine Fusion.
Joseph J Schreiber, Alexander P Hughes, Fadi Taher, Federico P Girardi.
HSS Journal 02/2014; 10(1):25-29.

Multivariate Analysis on Risk Factors for Post-Operative Ileus After Lateral Lumbar Interbody Fusion.
Motasem A Al Maaieh, Jerry Y Du, Alexander Aichmair, Russel C Huang, Alexander P Hughes, Frank P Cammisa, Federico P Girardi, Andrew A Sama.
Spine 01/2014

Rate of Revision Surgery Following Standalone Lateral Lumbar Interbody Fusion for Lumbar Spinal Stenosis.
Venu M Nemani, Alexander Aichmair, Fadi Taher, Darren R Lebl, Alexander P Hughes, Andrew A Sama, Frank P Cammisa, Federico P Girardi
Spine 12/2013

Article: Nerve injury and recovery after lateral lumbar interbody fusion with and without bone morphogenetic protein-2 augmentation: A cohort-controlled study.
Marios G Lykissas, Alexander Aichmair, Andrew A Sama, Alexander P Hughes, Darren R Lebl, Frank P Cammisa, Federico P Girardi
The spine journal: official journal of the North American Spine Society 11/2013

Associations between Lumbosacral Transitional Anatomy Types and Degeneration at the Transitional and Adjacent Segments.
Nadja A Farshad-Amacker, Richard J Herzog, Alexander Hughes, Alexander Aichmair, Mazda Farshad
The spine journal: official journal of the North American Spine Society 11/2013

A reliable measurement for identifying a lumbosacral transitional vertebra with a solid bony bridge on a single-slice midsagittal MRI or plain lateral radiograph.
M Farshad, A Aichmair, A P Hughes, R J Herzog, N A Farshad-Amacker
The bone & joint journal. 11/2013; 95-B(11):1533-7.

Multiple Myeloma Exacerbation following Utilization of Bone Morphogenetic Protein-2 in Lateral Lumbar Interbody Fusion - A Case Report and Review of the Literature.
Alexander P Hughes, Fadi Taher, Mazda Farshad, Alexander Aichmair
The spine journal: official journal of the North American Spine Society 10/2013

Symptomatic heterotopic bone formation after rhBMP-2 utilization in lateral lumbar interbody fusion.
Alexander Aichmair, Federico P Girardi, Alexander P Hughes, Andrew A Sama, Darren R Lebl, Frank P Cammisa
The spine journal: official journal of the North American Spine Society 10/2013

An Analysis of the Safety of Epidural and Spinal Neuraxial Anesthesia in More Than 100,000 Consecutive Major Lower Extremity Joint Replacements.
Matthias Pumberger, Stavros G Memtsoudis, Ottokar Stundner, Richard Herzog, Friedrich Boettner, Elizabeth Gausden, Alexander P Hughes
Regional anesthesia and pain medicine 10/2013

Development and Testing of an Expectations Survey for Patients Undergoing Lumbar Spine Surgery.
Carol A Mancuso, Frank P Cammisa, Andrew A Sama, Alexander P Hughes, Hassan M K Ghomrawi, Federico P Girardi
The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery 10/2013; 95(19):1793-1800

For more publications, please see the PubMed listing.

Selected Books/Chapters

Holly L, Hughes A. Bone Biology and Lumbar Fusion. Resnick, Haid, and Wang. Surgical Management of Low Back Pain, 2nd ed. Thieme, New York, 2007.

Selected Presentations

“Neurologic Deficit After Lateral Lumbar Interbody Fusion: A Retrospective Study on 378 Patients”
Lykissas M, Aichmair A, Hughes AP, Taher F, Sama AA, Lebl DR, Du JY, Cammisa FP, Girardi FP
Global Spine Congress, Wanchai, Hong Kong, April, 2013

“How safe is minimally invasive spine surgery for the surgeon? A prospective in-vivo radiation exposure study”
Taher F, Hughes AP, Sama AA, Zeldin R, Schneider R, Holodny E,  Lebl DR, Fantini GA, Nguyen J, Aichmair A, Cammisa FP, Girardi FP
Global Spine Congress, Wanchai, Hong Kong, April, 2013

“Nerve Injury After Lateral Lumbar Interbody Fusion: A Review of 919 Treated Levels with Identification of Risk Factors”
Lykissas MG, Aichmair A, Hughes AP, Sama AA, Lebl DR, Taher F, Du JY, Cammisa FP, Girardi FP
Lumbar Spine Research Society (LSRS) Annual Meeting, Chicago, IL, April, 2013  

“Relation of Type of Lumbosacral Transitional Vertebra to the Degree of Degeneration of the Transitional Disc and of the Adjacent Segment Disc” 
Farshad-Amacker NA, Hughes AP, Herzog RJ, Aichmair A, Farshad M.
Lumbar Spine Research Society (LSRS) Annual Meeting, Chicago, IL, April, 2013

“Radiographic Predictors of Disease Severity and Surgical Outcome in Cervical Spondylotic Myelopathy”
Taher F, Sokunbi G, Nguyen J, Girardi, F, Sama A, Hughes A, Pumberger M, Cammisa F, Lebl DR
Cervical Spine Research Society – Asia Pacific Section, Seoul, Korea, April, 2013

“Nerve Injury Following Extreme Lateral Interbody Fusion”
Lykissas M, Aichmair A, Hughes AP, Taher F, Lebl DR, Sama AA, Cammisa FP, Girardi FP
14th EFORT Congress, Istanbul, Turkey, June, 2013

“How safe is minimally invasive spine surgery for the surgeon? A prospective in-vivo radiation exposure study”
Taher F, Hughes AP, Sama AA, Zeldin R, Schneider R, Holodny E, Lebl DR, Fantini GA, Nguyen J, Aichmair A, Cammisa FP, Girardi FP
14th EFORT Congress, Istanbul, Turkey, June, 2013

The Spine Journal & NASS Outstanding Paper Award for Surgical Science
“Nerve Injury and Recovery after Lateral Lumbar Interbody Fusion with and without Bone Morpho- genetic Protein-2 Augmentation:  A Cohort-Controlled Study”
Lykissas M, Aichmair A, Sama AA, Hughes AP, Lebl DR, Taher F,  Cammisa FP, Girardi FP
North American Spine Society, New Orleans, LA, October, 2013

“Are Postoperative Fusion and Subsidence Rates after Lateral Lumbar Interbody Fusion Significantly Affected by the Utilized Bone Graft Material? Experiences from a Single Institution over a Period of Six Years”
Aichmair A, Lykissas MG, Kiely PD, Hughes AP, Sama AA, Lebl DR, Cammisa FP, Girardi FP
8th International Congress of the Chinese Orthopaedic Association, Beijing, China, November, 2013

“Determinants of Evolution of Endplate and Disc Degeneration in the Lumbar Spine: A Multifactorial Perspective"
Farshad M, Aichmair A, Hughes AP, Herzog RJ, Farshad NA
European Congress of Radiology, Vienna, Austria, March, 2014

“Surgical Care for Cervical Myelopathy in Patients with Parkinson’s Disease – A Case Control Study”
Schroeder JE, Sama AA, Hughes AP, Lebl DR, Aichmair A, Cammisa FP, Girardi FP
AAOS Annual Meeting, New Orleans, LA, March, 2014

“Non Fusion Lumbar Spine Surgery in Parkinson Disease - A Positive View?”
Schroeder JE, Sama AA, Hughes AP, Lebl DR, Aichmair A, Cammisa FP, Girardi FP
International Society for the Advancement of Spine Surgery, Miami, FL, April, 2014

“How Much Deformity Correction Can We Obtain by XLIF and Will It Be Affected by Approach Side: Convex Vs. Concave?”
Cho W, Cammisa FP, Sama AA, Hughes AP, Huang RC, Girardi FP
International Society for the Advancement of Spine Surgery, Miami, FL, April, 2014

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

Video

Spine Care Institute at Hospital for Special Surgery

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Dr. Alex Hughes, Orthopedic Spine Surgeon

Contact Information

Office Locations

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

Tel: 212.774.2992
Fax: 646.797.8664

Mailing Address

Hospital for Special Surgery
535 East 70th Street
New York, NY 10021