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 salso 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, 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, 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 the named To 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.
Affinity [Essential (Exchange), Medicaid, Medicare]
CIGNA [Great West, HMO, POS, PPO]
Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield [Blue Priority, Child Health Plus, EPO, HMO, Medicare (Mediblue), Pathway (Exchange), POS, PPO]
Fidelis Care [Child/Family Health Plus, Medicaid, Medicare]
Health First [Child/Family Health Plus, Medicaid, Medicare]
Health Plus - Amerigroup [Medicaid]
Oxford Health Plans [Freedom, Liberty, Medicare]
UnitedHealthcare [Columbia University Employee Plan, Medicare]
VNSNY CHOICE [Select Health]
Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons
Internship: Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center, NY
Residency: Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center, NY
Fellowship: Children's Hospital of Los Angeles
Ana Lucia Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery at CUMC