Medical College of Wisconsin - Orthopaedic  Surgery Your Practice Online
Physician Referrals Directions & Map
Medical College of Wisconsin - Orthopaedic  Surgery
Medical College of Wisconsin - Orthopaedic  Surgery
Physician Search  
About Us

Raj D. Rao, MD

Raj D. Rao, MD
Raj D. Rao, MD

Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery

Specialty: Spine Surgery

Board Certified in Orthopaedic Surgery

Tel: (414) 805-7425
Fax: 414-805-7499

Voted Best Doctor 2014

  Voted to Top 100 Best Spine Surgeons and Specialists in America


Dr. Rao named to AAOS Board of Directors

Becker's Spine Review Interview on the Biggest Challenges in Spine Today

Voted to Top 100 Best Spine Surgeons and Specialists in America

MCW Dept of Orthopaedics Research Study Highlighted In Spinal News International

Recognition by Becker's Spine Review 

Dr. Raj Rao appointed to Executive Board of Directors of the Lumbar Spine Research Society

Dr. Rao moderates Cervical Spine Surgery session at North American Spine Society Meeting, 2013. 

Sirius XM Radio Interview- February 9, 2012,
with American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons Spokesman, Raj Rao, MD (WMA)

Dr. Raj Rao is a Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery and Neurosurgery at the Medical College of Wisconsin. He has been Director of Spine Surgery in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery since 1999. His special interests include spine surgery, minimally invasive spine surgery, surgical management of neck and back disorders, spinal tumors, spine trauma, and spinal deformity. Dr. Rao is a Fellow of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, the premier association of Orthopaedic Surgeons internationally.

Dr. Rao completed his internship and residency at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles. He completed specialized fellowship training in spine surgery in 1996, at the William Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, Michigan. Prior to joining the Medical College of Wisconsin, Dr. Rao was in private practice in northern California for three years.

Dr. Rao has in the past spent many years doing research in spinal and orthopaedic disorders.  He was at the Orthopädische Klinik Seepark, Bremerhaven, Germany in 1987-88, at the University of Western Ontario, Canada in 1988-89, and at the Orthopaedic Hospital, Los Angeles, in 1990. He has had numerous papers published in prestigious scientific journals and taught at national and international meetings. His research interests include spinal biomechanics, the biology and mechanics of spinal fusion, and gait analysis in persons with spinal disorders.

Dr. Rao is on many national scientific committees, and was recently appointed to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Advisory Panel on Orthopaedic and Rehabilitation Devices. Dr. Rao is a member of the Board of Directors of the North American Spine Society, the premier professional society in the United States for physicians who treat spinal disorders. Dr. Rao is a member of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, North American Spine Society, and the Milwaukee Orthopaedic Society. He is an Associate Editor of The Spine Journal and is on the editorial boards of other national and international scientific journals.

Voted in 2013 and 2014 as one of the Best Doctors in America, Dr. Rao was in 2011 named as one of the Top 100 Best Spine Surgeons and Specialists in America by Becker's Orthopedic and Spine Review.

Dr. Rao sees patients at the MCW Clinics at Froedtert Hospital East, the SpineCare Clinic in Wauwatosa and the Community Memorial Medical Commons Clinics in Menomonee Falls.

In May of 2014, Dr. Rao was selected to receive the North American Spine Society’s 2014 David Selby Award for contributing greatly to the art and science of spinal disorder management through service to NASS. Dr. Rao will be honored during the Recognition Award ceremonies at the NAAS Annual Meeting in San Francisco, California this November. 

Dr. Rao was appointed in September 2014 as the Chairperson of the Orthopaedic and Rehabilitation Devices Panel of the US Food and Drug Administration for a four-year term, beginning September 1, 2014. In this role, he will chair the lead FDA advisory panel reviewing safety and efficacy of orthopaedic and spine related devices for marketing in the US. 

pdf51 Spine Surgeons on Top Leadership Strategies

Dr. Rao's Recent Publications


Patient Stories

Patient image

What Is Back Pain All About?

Patient success story selected by
North American Spine Society

Patient image

Up and Running

M Magazine article on Elite Runner's
Spinal Injury Recovery


Orthopaedic Surgery / Spine Surgery Related Links:

Know Your Back

Understanding Spine Surgery

You will need to have the FREE Adobe Acrobat Reader installed on your system to view this document. Download the Reader by clicking on the Acrobat icon below.

Dr. Rao moderates Cervical Spine Surgery session at North American Spine Society meeting, 2013

Dr. Rao, Moderator - World Spine Care Symposium, North American Spine Society Meeting, 2013


Up and Running


Click here for more information

Visit for information about your spinal condition
Visit for animated educational videos on spine surgery/additional information on your spinal condition
Orthopaedic Surgery Resident / Medical Student Educational Videos Educational Videos
Dr. Rao's publications Publications
Links to helpful spine information from the Orthopaedic connection website of The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) Spine Topics

Multimedia Health Education

Streaming Videos

Interactive Web Movies

Spine Anatomy Lumbar Laminectomy
Lumbar Discectomy Spinal Fusion
Back Pain Spine Deformities
Orthopaedic Subspecialties
Twitter YouTube Facebook
Bookmark and Share
Residency Program Information
Patient Stories
Media/News Releases
2011 Program
Online Appointment
Patient Questionaire
© Medical College of Wisconsin - Department of Orthopaedics Milwaukee