Dr. Michael G. Vitale specializes in the non-operative and operative treatment of complex pediatric scoliosis and other spinal disorders, and performs approximately 200 scoliosis procedures every year, half of which are in children less than 8 years of age. Dr. Vitale has a special interest in innovative treatments for younger children with scoliosis, including the use of a magnetic spine lengthening device (“MAGEC”) which eliminates the need to perform repeat spinal surgeries every 6-9 months on growing children, non-fusion procedures such as vertebral stapling and vertebral tethers, “growing rods,” and the “Shilla” procedure. As part of his commitment to innovation in Scoliosis treatment, Dr. Vitale helps to lead the Children’s Spine Study Group, which conducts extensive multicenter international research focused on improving the care of young people with scoliosis.
Dr. Vitale also leads the Conservative Treatment of Scoliosis Center, with Co-Director Hagit Berdishevsky. One of the only programs of its kind, the Center focuses on avoiding surgery with attention to scoliosis specific Schroth physical therapy and state-of-the art expert brace options including the Rigo System Cheneau brace. For the youngest children with scoliosis, Dr. Vitale runs an active Mehta casting program and has successfully used this method to reverse spinal curvature in numerous patients.
For those who need surgery, Dr. Vitale, also the Chief Quality Officer for the Department of Orthopedic Surgery, has a focus on making sure every procedure is done in the safest possible way. In fact, Dr. Vitale has written extensively on best practices in the care of patients with scoliosis.
In addition to his clinical practice, Dr. Vitale serves as director of the Pediatric Orthopaedic Research Group and leads the clinical research team in their efforts, which are often funded by multi-year grants, published in leading medical journals, and presented at national and international conferences. Under Dr. Vitale’s leadership, the group has published over 150 peer reviewed publications in the field.
In recognition of his clinical and academic leadership, Dr. Vitale has received numerous national awards from the Pediatric Orthopaedic Society of North America including the Arthur H. Huene Memeorial Award, the Angela M Kuo Award Young Investigator Award, the Robert Hensinger Scientific Paper Award, as well as the Hansjorg Wyss Research Award, the Frank Stinchfield Research Award, the Rosamond Kane Award in Pediatric Orthopaedic Surgery, and the Harrison Mclaughin Award.
Dr. Vitale also serves numerous roles in the national governance of the field – currently serving on the Board of Directors of the Pediatric Orthopaedic Society of North America, chairing the International Pediatric Orthopaedic Society, leading the efforts of the Scoliosis Research Society on Advocacy for Unmet Needs of Children for Pediatric Medical Devices, serving on the Executive Committee of the Children’s Spine Study Group, and is a Member of the prestigious International Pediatric Orthopaedic Think Tank.
Dr. Vitale is the recipient of the Castle Connolly Top Doctors award for 5 consecutive years and has been named Top 50 Physicians in the US in the area of Scoliosis Care by Becker’s Spine Review.
An avid skier, marathon runner and recreational triathlete, Dr. Vitale’s biggest pleasure is spending his free time with his wife and four Sons.
Areas of Expertise / Conditions Treated
- Cerebral Palsy
- Cervical Spine Surgery
- Complex Spinal Surgery
- Complex Spine Instrumentation
- Complex Spine Surgery
- Congenital Spinal Malformation
- Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery
- Orthopedic Spine
- Orthopedic Spine Surgery
- Orthopedic Trauma
- Pediatric Orthopedics
- Pediatric Orthopedic Surgery
- Pediatric Spine Deformities
- Pediatric Spine Surgery
- Pediatric Trauma
- Revision Spine Surgery
- Spinal Deformity
- Spine Care
- Spine Deformity
- Spine Disorder
- Spine Fractures
- Spine Injury
- Spine Instrumentation Surgery
- Spine Pain
- Spine Problems
- Spine Rehabilitation
- Stenosis of Lumbosacral Spine
- Trauma Reconstruction
- Traumatic Spine Stabilization
- Ana Lucia Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery at CUMC
- Chief, Pediatric Spine and Scoliosis Surgery
- Co-Director, Division of Pediatric Orthopedics
- Chief Quality Officer, Department of Orthopedic Surgery
- NewYork-Presbyterian / Columbia University Irving Medical Center
- NewYork-Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital
- NewYork-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital
- NewYork-Presbyterian / Weill Cornell Medical Center
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- Traditional Medicare
- Special Needs
Credentials & Experience
Education & Training
- Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons
- Internship: Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center, NY
- Residency: Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center, NY
- Orthopedic Surgery
Honors & Awards
- Leadership Fellows Program Award, American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, 2002
- Nominee for Humanism and Excellence in Teaching Award, Arnold P. Gold Foundation, 2000
- Pediatric Orthopaedic Society of New York. Award for Best Resident Research Paper, 1998; 2000
- Harrison McLaughlin Award in Orthopaedic Trauma, 1998
- Frank Stinchfield Award in Orthopaedic Research, presented at the Annual NYOH Alumni Reunion, 1997
- Rosamond Cane Cummins, 52 Memorial Award in Pediatric Orthopaedics, 1995; 1998; 2000
- Medical Society of the State of New York State, Community Service Award, 1995