Ivan Cheng MD

Doctor Ivan ChengAbout Dr. Cheng

After obtaining his M.D. at Harvard Medical School, Dr. Cheng completed his residency in Orthopaedic Surgery at U.C. Davis and his spine surgery fellowship with the world-renowned spine surgery group at Washington University in St. Louis. Board-certified in Orthopaedic Surgery, Dr. Cheng was a tenured Full Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery at Stanford University. He has over 76 peer-reviewed publications, 9 book chapters, has given over 184 presentations at national and international meetings, and was a Deputy Editor for The Spine Journal. Dr. Cheng has received many awards including the Timothy Bray Trauma Award from U.C. Davis, the Saul Halpern Orthopaedic Teacher of the Year Award from Stanford, the International Society for the Study of the Lumbar Spine Prize in Clinical Research, and Outstanding Paper Awards from the North American Spine Society.

Dr. Cheng specializes in the latest surgical techniques in the spine including minimally-invasive surgery, cervical surgery, complex deformities, and revisions of other surgeries with less-than optimal outcomes. He is well-accustomed to all pathologies in the spine including degenerative disorders, deformity, trauma, infections, and tumors.

Dr. Cheng has been married to his wife for over 10 years and has two sons aged 7 and 5. His interests outside of medicine include spending time with his family, physical fitness, trying new foods, mountain biking and snowboarding.


  • Washington University, St. Louis, Fellowship, Spine Surgery (2003-2004)
  • U.C. Davis Medical Center, Residency, Orthopaedic Surgery (1999-2003)
  • U.C. Davis Medical Center, Internship, General Surgery (1998-1999)
  • Harvard Medical School, MD (1998)
  • University of California, Berkeley, BA, Neurology (1993)


  • American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons
  • North American Spine Society
  • Scoliosis Research Society
  • Cervical Spine Research Society

Recent Publications

  • Cheng I, Stienen MN, Medress ZA, Varshneya K, Ho AL, Ratliff JK, Veeravagu A. (2020) “Single- versus dual-attending strategy for spinal deformity surgery: 2-year experience and systematic review of the literature.” J Neurosurg Spine, Jul 10:1-12.
  • Ajiboye RM, Koltsov JCB, Karamian B, Swinford S, Montgomery BK, Arzeno A, Ziino C, Cheng I. (2019) “Computer-assisted surgical navigation is associated with an increased risk of neurological complications: a review of 67,264 posterolateral lumbar fusion cases.” J Spine Surg, Dec 2019, 5(4): 457-65.
  • Ziino C, Arzeno A, Cheng I. (2019) “Analysis of single-position for revision surgery using lateral interbody fusion and pedicle screw fixation: feasibility and perioperative results.” J Spine Surg, Jun;5(2):201-6.
  • Cheng I, Park DY, Mayle RE, Githens M, Smith RL, Park HY, Hu SS, Alamin TF, Wood KB, Kharazi AI. (2017) "Does Timing of Distal Transplantation of Human Neural Stem Cells Following Spinal Cord Injury Affect Motor Outcomes in an Animal Model?" J Spine Surg, Dec;3(4):567-571.
  • Cheng I, Githens M, Smith RL, Johnston TR, Park DY, Stauff MP, Salari N, Tileston KR, Kharazi, AI. (2015) “Local versus distal transplantation of human neural stem cells following chronic spinal cord injury.” Spine J, Jun;16(6):764-9.

Awards and Honors

  • 2017 The International Society for the Study of the Lumbar Spine Best Basic Science Award Winner: “Intervertebral Disc/Bone Marrow Cross-Talk with Modic Changes”
  • 2014 Western Orthopaedic Association Resident Award Winner: “Local Versus Distal Transplantation of Human Neural Stem Cells Following Chronic Spinal Cord Injury”
  • 2012 Western Orthopaedic Association Young Investigator Award: "Functional Assessment of Acute Local versus Distal Transplantation of Human Neural Stem Cells following Spinal Cord Injury"
  • 2010 American Orthopaedic Association-Japanese Orthopaedic Association (AOA-JOA) Traveling Fellow
  • 2008 NASS Best Paper Award, North American Spine Society
  • 2006 NASS Outstanding Paper Winner in Medical & Interventional Science, North American Spine Society
  • 2006 Outstanding Paper Award in Surgical Science, North American Spine Society
  • 2006 The ISSLS Prize in Clinical Research, International Society of the Study of Lumbar Spine, Bergen, Norway
  • 2005 Saul Halpern, MD Orthopaedic Educator Award, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Standard University Medical Center
  • 2003 Timothy J. Bray Trauma Award, U.C. Davis Department of Orthopaedic Surgery
  • 1997 Cum laude, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA