D. Kojo Hamilton, MD

Associate Professor
Co-Director, Spine Fellowship Program
Residency Site Program Director, UPMC Mercy

D. Kojo Hamilton




D. Kojo Hamilton, MD, a recognized leader in scoliosis, adult spinal deformity and trauma, joined the faculty at the University of Pittsburgh Department of Neurological Surgery in July of 2014.

He received his medical degree and residency training from the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Va. He underwent further subspecialty training in complex spine, spinal deformity, scoliosis and spine surgical oncology, with a combined neurosurgical and orthopedic (AOSpine) fellowship, at the University of Virginia. Dr. Hamilton further received subspecialty training in Auckland City Hospital in Auckland, New Zealand.

He is board certified in neurological surgery and a fellow of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons and a candidate member of the Scoliosis Research Society. After training, Dr. Hamilton received appointments at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and Maryland Shock Trauma Hospital where he treated patients with complex spine deformity and severe spine and brain trauma. Before joining UPMC, Dr. Hamilton was at the Oregon Health and Science University Spine Center where he treated patients with neurological trauma as well as spinal deformity conditions including adult idiopathic scoliosis, spondylolisthesis and general back and neck pain.

Dr. Hamilton is nationally involved in teaching advanced and current techniques in scoliosis and adult spine deformity. He has an extensive research background in spine surgery and has presented nationally and internationally on the subject.

Dr. Hamilton has received several awards and accolades from his patients, nurses and peers, including best doctor awards—locally and nationally, four years in a row—since his first year at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine

Specialized Areas of Interest

Scoliosis; adult and pediatric spinal deformity; cranial and spine trauma; degenerative conditions of the spine; revision and reconstructive spine surgery.

Board Certifications

American Board of Neurological Surgery
Fellow of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons

Hospital Privileges

UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh
UPMC Hamot Medical Center
UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital
UPMC Mercy
UPMC Presbyterian

Professional Organization Membership

American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS)
AANS/CNS Joint Section on Disorders of the Spine and Peripheral Nerves
AANS/CNS Joint Section on Neurotrauma and Critical Care
AOSpine North America (AOSNA)
International Spine Study Group
Congress of Neurological Surgeons (CNS)
Scoliosis Research Society

Education & Training

BS (High Honors), Biochemistry, University of Maryland, 1998
MD, University of Virginia, 2003
Fellowship, Brain and Spine, Auckland City Hospital, 2008
Residency, University of Virginia, 2009
Fellowship, Complex Spine, University of Virginia, 2010

Honors & Awards

Distinguished Alumni, Univ of Virginia Summer Medical and Dental Education Program
Pittsburgh’s Best Doctors, Pittsburgh Magazine, 2016-19

Selected Publications

Protopsaltis TS, Diebo BG, Lafage R, Henry JK, Smith JS, Scheer JK, Sciubba DM, Passias PG, Kim HJ, Hamilton DK, Soroceanu A, Klineberg EO, Ames CP, Shaffrey CI, Bess S, Hart RA, Schwab FJ, Lafage V; and International Spine Study Group. Identifying Thoracic Compensation and Predicting Reciprocal Thoracic Kyphosis and PJK in Adult Spinal Deformity Surgery. Spine (Phila Pa 1976) [Epub ahead of print], 2018

Agarwal N, Faramand A, Alan N, Tempel ZJ, Hamilton DK, Okonkwo DO, Kanter AS.Lateral lumbar interbody fusion in the elderly: a 10-year experience. J Neurosurg Spine [Epub ahead of print], 2018.

Passias PG, Horn SR, Poorman GW, Daniels AH, Hamilton DK, Kim HJ, Diebo BG, Steinmetz L, Bortz CA, Segreto FA, Sciubba DM, Smith JS, Neuman BJ, Shaffrey CI, Lafage R, Lafage V, Ames C, Hart R, Mundis G, Eastlack RK, Schwab FJ; International Spine Study Group (ISSG).Clinical and radiographic presentation and treatment of patients with cervical deformity secondary to thoracolumbar proximal junctional kyphosis are distinct despite achieving similar outcomes: Analysis of 123 prospective CD cases. J Clin Neurosci [Epub ahead of print], 2018.

Agarwal N, White MD, Hamilton DK. A longitudinal survey of adult spine and peripheral nerve case entries during neurosurgery residency training. J Neurosurg Spine [Epub ahead of print], 2018.

Passias PG, Bortz CA, Segreto FA, Horn SR, Lafage R, Lafage V, Smith JS, Line B, Kim HJ, Eastlack R, Hamilton DK, Protopsaltis T, Hostin RA Jr, Klineberg EO, Burton DC, Hart RA, Schwab FJ, Bess S, Shaffrey CI, Ames CP; International Spine Study GroupDevelopment of a Modified Cervical Deformity Frailty Index: A Streamlined Clinical Tool for Preoperative Risk Stratification. Spine (Phila Pa 1976) [Epub ahead of print], 2018.

Agarwal N, White MD, Cohen J, Lunsford LD, Hamilton DK. Longitudinal survey of cranial case log entries during neurological surgery residency training. J Neurosurg [Epub ahead of print], 2018.

Daniels AH, DePasse JM, Durand W, Hamilton DK, Passias P, Kim HJ, Protopsaltis T, Reid DBC, LaFage V, Smith JS, Shaffrey C, Gupta M, Klineberg E, Schwab F, Burton D, Bess S, Ames C, Hart Issg RA. Rod Fracture Following Apparently Solid Radiographic Fusion in Adult Spinal Deformity Patients. World Neurosurg S1878-8750(18)31286-5 , 2018.

Agarwal N, Agarwal P, Querry A, Mazurkiewicz A, Tempel ZJ, Friedlander RM, Gerszten PC, Hamilton DK, Okonkwo DO, Kanter AS. Implementation of an Infection Prevention Bundle and Increased Physician Awareness Improves Surgical Outcomes and Reduces Costs Associated with Spine Surgery. J Neurosurg Spine 29(1):108-114, 2018.

Raad M, Neuman BJ, Jain A, Hassanzadeh H, Passias PG, Klineberg E, Mundis GM Jr, Protopsaltis TS, Miller EK, Smith JS, Lafage V, Hamilton DK, Bess S, Kebaish KM, Sciubba DM; International Spine Study Group. The Use of Patient-Reported Preoperative Activity Levels as a Stratification Tool for Short-Term and Long-Term Outcomes in Patients with Adult Spinal deformity. J Neurosurg Spine 29(1):68-74, 2018.

Iyer S, Klineberg EO, Zebala LP, Kelly MP, Hart RA, Gupta MC, Hamilton DK, Mundis GM, Sciubba D, Ames CP, Smith JS, Lafage V, Burton D, Kim HJ; International Spine Study Group (ISSG). Dural Tear in Adult Deformity Surgery: Incidence, Risk Factors, and Outcomes. Global Spin J 8(1):25-31, 2018.

A complete list of Dr. Hamilton's publications can be reviewed through the National Library of Medicine's publication database.

Research Activities

Dr. Hamilton is the principal investigator of the three clinical studies.

1) A Phase 2b, multicenter, parallel group, placebo-controlled, randomized, double-blind study to evaluate Staphylococcus Aureus-4 antigen (SA4Ag) vaccine safety and efficacy in the prevention of postoperative Staphylococcus aureus disease in adults ages 18 to <86 years who are undergoing elective posterior instrumented lumbar spinal fusion. Approximately 2,600 subjects are enrolled. This project was deemed futile by the sponsor during mid study analysis. Conclusions include difficult to analyze confounding variables.

2) A study on neurophysiological and imaging markers of iatrogenic spinal cord injury (SCI) and recovery, determining what will be sensitive and specific biomarker of spinal cord injury in laboratory animals. The working hypothesis is that changes in intraoperative neurophysiological monitoring and functional anisotropy (measured via diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) are sensitive and specific to spinal cord injury and to determine what will be sensitive and specific biomarkers of spinal cord recovery in laboratory animals. The working hypothesis, based on previously published studies, is that improvement in somatosensory evoked potentials and FA scores (measured via DTI) correlate closely with the functional recovery in SCI.

3) A prospective multicenter study, nearing completion, evaluating the clinical and radiographic outcomes of thoracolumbar spine surgery when comprehensive sagittal alignment surgical planning is used.

Media Appearances

Some Adults With Scoliosis Could Require Major Corrective Surgery
December 20, 2017
KDKA-TV Health Watch

Physical Therapy for Lower Spine Problems (UPMC Health Beat)
Dr. Hamilton recommends physical therapy to YouTube dance host to solve pain from degenerative disc disease.