Michael Jihoon Lee, MD

An expert spine surgeon, Michael Lee, MD, treats spinal injuries, degenerative conditions and spinal deformity as well as complex tumors of the spinal cord. He is dedicated to improving safety and quality measures for spine surgery.



As the principal investigator for several research studies, Dr. Lee has worked to identify risk factors for post-operative lumbar spondylolisthesis and to enhance lumbar spine surgical techniques. He recently has focused efforts on creating models to predict the likelihood of complication after spine surgery. In addition to his research, Dr. Lee teaches medical students, residents, fellows and practicing spine surgeons. Past courses have focused on the surgical treatment of complex spinal tumors and minimally invasive surgery.



Dr. Lee has published more than 150 journal articles, book chapters and abstracts on spinal conditions and surgical treatments. He has chaired several spinal surgery teaching courses and has edited two textbooks. He also serves as a reviewer for several scientific journals, and has received numerous grants to support his research. Dr. Lee has been invited to present his work at national and international conferences. In 2013, he was named to the list of Best Doctors in America by Best Doctors, Inc.

Residency Case Western Reserve University
Cleveland, OH
- Department of Orthopedics
2006

Allen Orthopedic Research Fellow Case Western Reserve University
Cleveland, OH
- Department of Orthopedic Surgery
2002

Internship Case Western Reserve University
Cleveland, OH
- Department of General Surgery
2001

Northwestern University School of Medicine
Chicago, IL
- Doctor of Medicine
2000

Northwestern University
Evanston, IL
Bachelor of Science - Biomedical Engineering
1996

Trend of Spine Surgeries in the Outpatient Hospital Setting Versus Ambulatory Surgical Center.
Idowu OA, Boyajian HH, Ramos E, Shi LL, Lee MJ. Trend of Spine Surgeries in the Outpatient Hospital Setting Versus Ambulatory Surgical Center. Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2017 Dec 15; 42(24):E1429-E1436.
PMID: 28368986

On Patient Safety: Is it Possible to Operate Too Much?
Lee MJ. On Patient Safety: Is it Possible to Operate Too Much? Clin Orthop Relat Res. 2017 12; 475(12):2858-2860.
PMID: 28643078

It All Depends on Who Does What: A Survey of Patient and Family Member Comfort With Surgical Trainees Operating.
Petravick ME, Edgington JP, Idowu OA, Shi LL, Lee MJ. It All Depends on Who Does What: A Survey of Patient and Family Member Comfort With Surgical Trainees Operating. J Surg Educ. 2017 Nov - Dec; 74(6):1001-1006.
PMID: 28619280

On Patient Safety: Being a Jerk in the Operating Room is Bad for the Patient.
Lee MJ. On Patient Safety: Being a Jerk in the Operating Room is Bad for the Patient. Clin Orthop Relat Res. 2017 Feb; 475(2):328-330.
PMID: 27873098

Bone morphogenetic protein 9 (BMP9) induces effective bone formation from reversibly immortalized multipotent adipose-derived (iMAD) mesenchymal stem cells.
Lu S, Wang J, Ye J, Zou Y, Zhu Y, Wei Q, Wang X, Tang S, Liu H, Fan J, Zhang F, Farina EM, Mohammed MM, Song D, Liao J, Huang J, Guo D, Lu M, Liu F, Liu J, Li L, Ma C, Hu X, Lee MJ, Reid RR, Ameer GA, Zhou D, He T. Bone morphogenetic protein 9 (BMP9) induces effective bone formation from reversibly immortalized multipotent adipose-derived (iMAD) mesenchymal stem cells. Am J Transl Res. 2016; 8(9):3710-3730.
PMID: 27725853

How Effective is Physical Therapy for Common Low Back Pain Diagnoses?: A Multivariate Analysis of 4597 Patients.
Eleswarapu AS, Divi SN, Dirschl DR, Mok JM, Stout C, Lee MJ. How Effective is Physical Therapy for Common Low Back Pain Diagnoses?: A Multivariate Analysis of 4597 Patients. Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2016 Aug 15; 41(16):1325-1329.
PMID: 26890953

On Patient Safety: Do You Say "I'm Sorry" to Patients?
Lee MJ. On Patient Safety: Do You Say "I'm Sorry" to Patients? Clin Orthop Relat Res. 2016 Nov; 474(11):2359-2361.
PMID: 27519576

An NgAgo tool for genome editing: did CRISPR/Cas9 just find a competitor?
Wei Q, Liao J, Yu X, Wang EJ, Wang C, Luu HH, Haydon RC, Lee MJ, He TC. An NgAgo tool for genome editing: did CRISPR/Cas9 just find a competitor? Genes Dis. 2016 Sep; 3(3):169-170.
PMID: 28066798

Safer Operations, But Worse Surgeons?
Lee MJ. Safer Operations, But Worse Surgeons? Clin Orthop Relat Res. 2016 Jul; 474(7):1574-6.
PMID: 27193148

A thermoresponsive polydiolcitrate-gelatin scaffold and delivery system mediates effective bone formation from BMP9-transduced mesenchymal stem cells.
Ye J, Wang J, Zhu Y, Wei Q, Wang X, Yang J, Tang S, Liu H, Fan J, Zhang F, Farina EM, Mohammed MK, Zou Y, Song D, Liao J, Huang J, Guo D, Lu M, Liu F, Liu J, Li L, Ma C, Hu X, Haydon RC, Lee MJ, Reid RR, Ameer GA, Yang L, He TC. A thermoresponsive polydiolcitrate-gelatin scaffold and delivery system mediates effective bone formation from BMP9-transduced mesenchymal stem cells. Biomed Mater. 2016 Apr 21; 11(2):025021.
PMID: 27097687

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Co-Director of University of Chicago Operative Performance Search Institute
University of Chicago
2016

University of Chicago Gerald Laros Faculty Teaching Award
University of Chicago
2016

University of Chicago Medical Center Bucksbaum Institute for Clinical Excellence Selected as Senior
University of Chicago
2015

University of Washington Medical Center Surgical Dynamics Endowed Chair for Spine Surgery
University of Washington
2013 - 2014

University of Chicago Center for Healthcare Delivery Science and Innovation: Inaugural Class of Facu
Search Institute University of Chicago
2006