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Raj Rao Raj Rao
Chair of the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery
John P. Adams Professor in Orthopaedic Surgery
Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery
Professor of Neurological Surgery (Secondary)

Office Phone: 202-741-3300
Email: Email
Department: Orthopaedic Surgery


  • Doctor of Medicine (MD), University of Bombay, India, 1984
  • MS Orthopaedics, University of Bombay, India, 1987


Dr. Raj Rao is the Chairman of the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at The GW Medical Faculty Associates. He is also a Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery and Neurosurgery at the George Washington University School of Medicine & Health Sciences. His special interests include spine surgery, minimally invasive spine surgery, neck and back disorders with nerve related issues, spinal trauma, spine tumors, and spinal deformity. Dr. Rao is a Fellow of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, the premier association of Orthopaedic Surgeons internationally.

Dr. Rao previously served as vice-chairman in the Department of Orthopedic Surgery and professor of orthopedic surgery and neurosurgery at the Medical College of Wisconsin, and is nationally recognized for his research in spinal and orthopedic disorders. He has had numerous papers published in prestigious scientific journals on spinal biomechanics, injuries to the spine from motor vehicle collisions, the biology and mechanics of spinal fusion, and gait analysis in persons with spinal disorders. He currently serves as associate editor of The Spine Journal and is on the editorial boards of other national and international scientific journals.

In 2014, Dr. Rao was appointed as chair of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration Advisory Panel on Orthopedic and Rehabilitation Devices. In this position, he leads the panel in reviewing safety and efficacy of orthopedic and spine related devices for marketing in the U.S. He is currently a member of the Board of Directors of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons and of the Executive Board of Directors of the Lumbar Spine Research Society. He was a member of the Board of Directors of the North American Spine Society from 2008 to 2014 and was the recipient of the David Selby Award of the North American Spine Society in 2014.

Dr. Rao was voted as one of the Best Doctors in America in 2013 and 2014. He was also named on the top 100 Best Spine Surgeons and Specialists in America by Becker’s Orthopedic and Spine Review in 2011.


  • Spine surgery
  • Minimally-invasive spine surgery
  • Neck and back disorders with nerve related issues
  • Surgical management of neck and back disorders Spinal trauma
  • Spine tumors
  • Spinal deformity


View publications by this faculty member.

Industry Relationships and Collaborations

This faculty member (or a member of their immediate family) has reported a financial interest with the health care related companies listed below. These relations have been reported to the University and, when appropriate, management plans are in place to address potential conflicts.

  • None