How doctors saved Adenhart crash survivor's life
3 months after near-fatal injuries, Jon Wilhite is walking, talking and throwing out pitches. Read full story...

Survivor of crash that killed pitcher honored at baseball game
Flyers honor survivor of crash that killed Angels' pitcher Nick Adenhart and 2 friends. Read full story...

Dr. Nitin Bhatia, the surgeon who saved Jon Wilhite, a victim of ... his team performed the surgery to keep Wilhite alive. Video by Mark Eades of The Orange County Register. Click to see...

Fox Sports coverage part 1

Fox Sports coverage part 2

Dr. Bhatia serves as chief of the spine service and associate professor of clinical orthopaedics at UC Irvine as well as co-director of the UC Irvine Spine Center and residency program director. He has a professional interest in spine trauma, as well as spinal stenosis, disc herniations, scoliosis and complex cervical and lumbar reconstruction. He performs percutaneous fusions, X-Stop lumbar stenosis treatment and kyphoplasty and has an active interest in research.

Dr. Nitin Bhatia was selected as an Orange County Physician of Excellence for 2013. It's an honor voted on by other physicians. Read more...

Dr. Nitin Bhatia was also selected as a 2013 Super Doctor which is also selected by other doctors and includes less than 5% of physicians. Read more..

Nitin N. Bhatia, M.D.
Chairman, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery
Chief, Spine Service
Residency Program Director
Dept. of Orthopaedic Surgery
University of California, Irvine

Appointments and General Patient Information: (714) 456-7012
HERE to make an appointment online
Dr. Bhatia's CV
Spine Surgery Referral Form


Clinical Specialty
Dr. Bhatia, a Board-Certified and Fellowship-trained spine surgeon, serves as Chief of the Spinal Surgery service and co-Director of the Multidisciplinary Spine Program at UC Irvine.

Clinical Interests
Dr. Bhatia specializes in the surgical and non-surgical treatment of spinal disorders. He has a special interest in problems affecting the cervical spine as well as spinal trauma. He also has significant experience with the thoracic and lumbar spine and with minimally invasive procedures.

For all of our patients, a multi-disciplinary non-surgical approach is used. This approach allows the majority of our patients to improve without surgical intervention. When surgery is necessary, Dr. Bhatia's extensive training in state of the art techniques including minimally invasive surgery, endoscopic and microscopic discectomy, percutaneous fusions, X-Stop lumbar stenosis treatment, Bone Morphogenetic Protein (BMP), and kyphoplasty help to cure his patients' problems with minimal recovery time and less discomfort than other methods.

Dr. Bhatia has been featured as a treating surgeon in the television show "Guardian Angels, MD" seen nationwide on The Learning Channel (TLC) as well as programs on PBS. He has expertise in all areas of spinal pathology including spinal stenosis, disc herniations, spine trauma, scoliosis, complex cervical and lumbar reconstruction, and failed back syndrome. Dr. Bhatia has completed multiple spine surgery fellowships and has trained in both orthopaedic and neurosurgical techniques.

The UC Irvine Spine Center provides care for Orange County and the related communities including Irvine, Newport Beach, Corona del Mar, Laguna Nigel, Garden Grove, Fountain Valley, Santa Ana, Fullerton, Westminster, Huntington Beach, Costa Mesa, Long Beach, Anaheim, Brea, Buena Park, Fountain Valley, La Palma, Laguna Woods, Laguna Hills, Tustin, San Clemente, and Mission Viejo. Our offices are conveniently located near the 22, 5, and 55 freeways for easy access for our patients from further communities such as Temecula, Beverly Hills, Burbank, Covina, Downey, Long Beach, Los Alamitos, Seal Beach, Palos Verdes, Redondo Beach, Apple Valley, Visalia, Palm Springs, Fresno, Fallbrook, Hemet, Los Angeles, and Riverside. Patients from outside these communities are welcome at the UCI Spine Center as well. International patients are encouraged to contact us for assistance and coordination of medical care.

Research Interests
Dr. Bhatia has significant research experience and continues to perform both clinical and basic science studies. He is currently evaluating new techniques for the treatment of cervical spinal stenosis and new minimally invasive surgical techniques.

Dr. Bhatia is also studying the efficacy of surgical and non-surgical treatments for patients with spinal trauma and spinal cord injury. His current biomechanical projects include the improvement of cervical spine stabilization techniques and an evaluation of different types of spinal fixation.

Dr. Bhatia has previously published numerous peer-reviewed articles and book chapters. Additionally, he has presented his research to national and international audiences and won multiple research awards.

Dr. Bhatia graduated with honors from Stanford University, after which he attended Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas. During medical school, Dr. Bhatia won numerous research and academic awards and was the valedictorian of his graduating class.

Following his general surgical internship and orthopaedic surgery residency at the University of California, Los Angeles, Dr. Bhatia completed a spinal surgery fellowship at the University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Hospital, after which he completed a second spinal surgery fellowship at Miami Children’s Hospital.

He currently serves as Chief of the Spinal Surgery Service in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at the University of California, Irvine. In 2004, Dr. Bhatia co-founded the UC Irvine Multidisciplinary Spine Program which combines experts in multiple medical and surgical fields to provide unparalleled care for our patients.

Medical Degree
Baylor College of Medicine

University of California, Los Angeles

Spinal Surgery, University of Miami
Spinal Scoliosis and Deformity Surgery, Miami Children’s Hospital

Scoliosis Research Society - Edgar Dawson Traveling Fellowship, 2005

AOA-JOA Traveling Fellowship - Alternate, 2005

American Orthopaedic Association Emerging Leaders Program, 2005-2006

University of California, Irvine - Faculty Teaching Award, Orthopaedic Surgery, 2005

Outstanding Paper Nominee, Cervical Spine Research Society, 2005

Hibbs Award Nominee, Basic Science, Scoliosis Research Society, 2005

American Orthopaedic Association Emerging Leaders, 2005-2009
American Orthopaedic Association - Japanese Orthopaedic Association Exchange Traveling Fellow, 2008
Outstanding Paper Award Winner, Cervical Spine Research Society, 2008
The Role of Durotomy and Duraplasty Following Cervical Spinal Cord Injury in an Animal Model.
Best Paper Award Winner, American College of Spine Surgery, 2009
The Role of Durotomy and Duraplasty Following Cervical Spinal Cord Injury in an Animal Model.
The Harold and Nancy Willingham Award for Outstanding Research Paper, Western Orthopaedic Association, 2009
Biomechanical Evaluation Of Short-Segment Posterior Instrumentation With Crosslinks In An Unstable Human Burst Fracture Model.
Hibbs Award Nominee, Basic Science, Scoliosis Research Society, 2009
Early Surgical Decompression with Duraplasty in Acute Spinal Cord Injury Improves Functional Recovery in an Animal Model. 
Resident Research Award, California Orthopaedic Association, 2010
Analysis of Prognostic Factors in Chordoma Using the California Cancer Registry.

Triumvirate Grant Award, University of California, 2010
Quantitative MRI and MRA to Study Chronic Discogenic Low Back Pain.
Orange County Medical Association, Physicians of Excellence, 2011-2013
Southern California “SuperDoctors”, Los Angeles Magazine, 2012-2013

Board Certifications
American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery