John G. Heller, M.D.

Baur Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery

Emory University School of Medicine

Director, Spine Fellowship

Emory Spine Center

Phone: 404-778-7112

Fax: 404-778-7117

Additional Contact Information

Mailing Address:

Emory Orthopaedics & Spine Center

59 Executive Park South
Suite 3000

Atlanta, GA 30329


At Case Western Reserve University, Dr. Heller trained under Dr. Henry Bohlman and Dr. Steven Garfin, two of the founding fathers of modern spine surgery. Specializing in the research and development of instrumentation in cervical spine surgery, including cervical disc replacement and laminoplasty, Dr. Heller is an internationally renowned lecturer and teacher. Dr. Heller started practicing at Emory in 1989.

Honors and Awards

  • CIBA Community Service Award, 1983
  • Cervical Spine Research Society Research Award, 1989
  • Orthopaedic Faculty Member of the Year, Emory University School of Medicine, 1995-1996
  • Kashiwagi-Suzuki Japanese Traveling Fellowship (Japanese Orthopaedic Association and American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, April 1-27, 1996)
  • Mario Boni Award for Outstanding Paper, European Cervical Spine Research Society, 2000
  • Georgia Orthopaedic Society Outstanding Paper Award – 2000
  • Volvo Award for Low Back Pain Research, 2002

Editorships and Editorial Boards

  • Journal of Spinal Disorders, 1998 – present

Manuscript Reviewer

  • Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, 1998-Present
  • Spine, 1994 - Present
  • Neuro-orthopaedics, 1996- 2000


Dr. Heller’s primary clinical and research focus within the sub-discipline of spine surgery has been disorders of the cervical spine.  His basic science investigations have been principally biomechanical studies regarding methods of reconstruction/internal fixation of the cervical spine.  Clinical results of these techniques have been reported, and other investigations are ongoing.  Additionally, building on what he gleaned from his Traveling Fellowship in Japan, investigations of alternative methods of surgical treatment for multi-level cervical spondylitic myelopathy are under way.  Related areas of clinical investigation include infections and tumors of the spine, and spinal imaging.