Russ Nockels, MD

Vice Chairman of Neurosciences, Chief of Spine Surgery, and Surgeon in Chief at NCH

Experience: 30+ years
Specialties: Complex Spinal Deformity Correction; Disc Herniations; Minimally Invasive Spinal Surgery; Scoliosis; Spinal Revision Surgery; Spinal Trauma; Spinal Tumors and Degenerative Disease
Languages: English

About Dr. Nockels

For more than 30 years, Dr. Nockels has dedicated himself to providing exceptional care to patients of all ages with spinal disorders, ranging from routine to complex cases. Having performed more than 10,000 surgeries, he brings the latest advancements in spine surgery innovation to Endeavor Health Neurosciences Institute’s Advanced Neurosciences Center.

Dr. Nockels graduated Cum Laude from Loyola University of Chicago, and he attended medical school at Loyola Stritch School of Medicine, during which he carried out research on the central nervous system. He completed a residency in Neurosurgery at New York University Medical Center and Bellevue Hospital and was an Honorary House Officer at the Queen’s Square Hospital for Nervous System Diseases in London, England. Dr. Nockels became an Assistant Professor at the University of San Francisco California (UCSF) where he founded the Neurospine program.

After traveling and working with orthopedic surgeons around the world, he joined the Senior Staff at Henry Ford Hospital and worked as spine surgeon for the Detroit Lions and Detroit Red Wings. Most recently, Dr. Nockels moved back to Chicago and joined the department of Neurosurgery at Loyola University Medical Center with a joint appointment in the department of Orthopedic surgery. He rose from Associate Professor and Program Director to Full Professor as well as Vice Chair and Complex Spinal Surgery Fellowship Director.

Dr. Nockels is recognized as a leader in his field. His clinical and basic research has culminated in over 70 publications and over 150 presentations, as well as presiding as chair of several spinal surgery courses worldwide. He was principal investigator of clinical trials in the treatment of spinal cord injury and has a funded basic science laboratory exploring Activity Dependent Plasticity following experimental stroke and spinal cord injury. He also led the discovery and clinical application of innovative spinal implants that have been used successfully on a global basis.


  • Medical School: Loyola University-Stritch School of Medicine 
  • Residency: New York University Medical Center 
  • Fellowship: Queens Square, University College London Hospital 

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