Ernest Braxton, MD, MBA

Dr. Ernest Braxton is a Board Certified neurosurgeon specializing in neurotrauma, and complex and minimally invasive outpatient spine surgery and artificial disc technology. He is passionate about minimally invasive spine surgery because patients return to performance faster. He is an expert with motion preservation technology such as artificial disc surgery and has authored numerous peer-reviewed publications.

Dr. Braxton is an Afghan war veteran with extensive experience caring for complex combat injuries during Operation Enduring Freedom.

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ADVANCED Neurosurgery and Spine Surgery

Dr. Braxton is a Board Certified neurosurgeon specializing in brain tumors, neurotrauma, and complex and minimally invasive spine surgery. He first fell in love with the Rocky Mountains while studying at the United States Air Force Academy, in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

He completed medical school at the University of Pennsylvania and residency at Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh. While in Pittsburgh, he earned his MBA from the Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon University (MBA) and rang the opening bell at the NASDAQ for his accomplishments in the field of entrepreneurship. Dr Braxton currently serves as a consultant to several leading medical device companies in the field of surgeon education and technology innovation.

Before joining Vail Summit Orthopedics he was the Chief of Neurosurgery at San Antonio Military Medical Center (SAMMC). SAMMC is the Department of Defense’s largest medical treatment facility and has the highest acuity and volume of any hospital in our military health system. During his military service he was the Theater Neurosurgeon In Charge while deployed in Afghanistan where he contributed to the 96% survivability rate for incoming wounded. While working in a combat zone he acquired extensive experience with blast and traumatic brain injuries, as well as complex spinal fractures resulting from high-energy improvised explosive devices (IEDs).

Dr. Braxton is passionate about minimally invasive spine surgery because patients return to performance faster. He is a team physician for both the US Ski and Snowboard Team and the USA Nordic Team. Dr Braxton has an interest in clinical research and has authored numerous peer-reviewed publications. When out of the OR, he is a champion for the prevention and management of brain injury and concussion.

During his free time, Dr. Braxton enjoys spending time with friends and family, and outdoor activities, including skiing and biking.

Dr. Ernest Braxton CV


  • BS, United States Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, Colorado
  • MD, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Internship, Wilford Hall Medical Center, Lackland AFB, Texas
  • Residency in Neurosurgery, Allegheny General Hospital, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • MBA, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • Chief Resident in Neurosurgery, Allegheny General Hospital, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Professional Societies​

  • American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS)Resident, 2002-2009 Active Military Provisional,
  • 2010 Fellow AANS
  • 2016 AANS/CNS Section on Disorders of the Spine and Peripheral Nerves
  • 2002- Congress of Neurological Surgeons (CNS) Abstract Reviewer CNS Section of Neurotrauma and Critical Care 2018
  • 2012 North American Spine Society (NASS)

Honors and Awards

  • National Defense Service Medal with 1 Service Star
  • AF Training Ribbon
  • AF Outstanding Unit Award with 3 Oak Leaf Clusters
  • Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
  • United States Air Force Commendation Medal
  • Korean Defense Service Medal
  • Nuclear Deterrence Operations Service Medal
  • Canfield-Roseman Entrepreneur of the year award
  • Afghanistan Campaign Medal with 2 Service Stars
  • Air Force Expeditionary Service Ribbon with Gold Border
  • NATO Medal
  • AF Organizational Excellence Award
  • AF Longevity Service with 3 Oak Leaf Clusters

Articles and Publications​

  • Braxton EE Jr, Ehrlich GD, Hall-Stoodley L, Stoodley P, Veeh R, Fux C, Hu FZ, Quigley M, Post JC: Role of biofilms in neurosurgical device-related infections. Neurosurg Rev 2005;4:249-55.

  • O’Neill BR, Velez DA, Braxton EE, Whiting D, Oh MY. A survey of ventriculostomy and intracranial pressure monitor placement practices. Surg Neurol. 2008;70:268-73

  • Stoodley P, Braxton EE, Nistico L, Hall-Stoodley L, Johnson S, Quigley M, Post JC, Ehrlich GD, Kathju S, Direct demonstration of a Staphylococcus biofilm in an external ventricular drain in a patient with a history of recurrent ventriculoperitoneal shunt failure. Surg Neurol. 2010: 46; 127-32

  • Miranda LB, Braxton EE, Hobbs J, Quigley MR., Chronic subdural hematoma in the elderly: not a benign disease. J Neurosurg. 2010 Sep 24.

  • Willson, T. J., Grady, C., Braxton, E., & Weitzel, E. . Air Travel with Known Pneumocephalus Following Outpatient Sinus Surgery. Aviation, Space, and Environmental Medicine 2014 85(1), 75-77.

  • Volner, KD, Lawson, BK, Braxton, EE,, Anderson, ER., Improvised interbody fusion cage in an austere medical environment. Spine J. 2015 Apr 1;15(4):785-7.

  • Lin RP Weitzel EK, Chen PG, McMains KC1, Chang DR, Braxton EE, Majors J, Bunegin L.

  • Failure pressures after repairs of 2-cm × 2.5-cm rhinologic dural defects in a porcine ex vivo model. Int Forum Allergy Rhinol. 2016 Jun 9. [Epub ]

  • Daya SK, Paulus AO, Braxton EE Jr, Vroman PJ, Mathis DA, Lin R, True MW.

  • Delayed Diagnosis of TSH-Secreting Adenoma Attributed to Worsening Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Symptoms in a Military Veteran Because of Provider Anchoring Bias. Mil Med. 2017 Mar;182(3):e1849-e1853. doi: 10.7205/MILMED-D-16-00241.


  • Head Injury. Presented at Defense Medical Readiness Training Institute: Emergency War Surgery Course; San Antonio Texas, 8 December 2009.

  • Complex Thoracolumbar Spinal Reconstruction. Presented at Spine Science and Art Study Group: Winter Session, Park City, Utah, 9 March 2013

  • Penetrating Head Injuries and Reconstruction. Presented at Third Annual Heart of Texas Trauma Topics, Trauma Symposium, Waco, Texas 30 July 2013

  • Neurosurgical Support of the Global War on Terror, Texas Association of Neurological Surgeons Annual Meeting, San Antonio Texas, 1 March 2014

  • Starting Complex Spine Program in an ASC, Becker’s 16th Annual Future of Spine Conference, 14 June 2018

Ernest Braxton, MD, MBA Reviews

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Ernest Braxton, MD
Average rating:  
 25 reviews
 by Jaryn Montgomery
Ahhhh-mazing, emphasis on the ahhhh

Dr. Braxton and his whole team are AMAZING. I had a pretty terrible accident 20 years ago and needed some major surgery re-done after the original hardware (not placed by him) broke. I had an extremely complex case (at least as far as I as concerned). He listened to my concerns carefully and thoughtfully. He addressed every single question I had with patience and kindness. His team were always quick to respond, even when it was just to answer my new crazy worries and questions galore. His bedside manner is outstanding, he even sat with me for almost a half hour in the hospital after surgery. His skill is out of this world. I haven't felt this good in 20 years! No joke. Even as my case continues to evolve he has been there to help me. I would HIGHLY recommend him to anyone that needs his specialized set of skills. I can't express my gratitude enough.

 by chris ryan
Back Surgery MIRACLE

In 2010 I fell and hurt my back. After 10 years of seeing numerous different doctors who told me they could not help me, I met Dr. Braxton. He said he thought he could help. After not too much consultation/worry I decided to have double fusion back surgery. I went from constant, nagging, awful pain in my lower back to feeling like a new person. Dr. Braxton performed a MIRACLE for me!!!! This guy has the best bedside manner of any doctor I have ever met. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!!!!

 by Virginia Peyton Rogers
Back works now!

Last summer / fall I was in so much pain, I couldn't even get out of bed. Felt like my back was broken. After months of PT and not getting any better (actually felt like I was getting worse), went in for a MRI. The herniation in my back was so massive that the MRI techs noted it. Dr. Raub was honest and said even injections wouldn't help a herniation this large. We tried one and he was right, didn't help. Dr. Braxton got me in surgery to remove the herniation and in 48 hrs after surgery, I could actually get out of bed without massive pain! I'm back to all my activities now and able to chase my 5 year old around, it's soo nice! Thank you Dr. Braxton, Dr. Raub, and the whole VSO Team! You guys are amazing!

 by John Klinsing
Dr. Braxton and His Team Changed My Life

Dr. Braxton and his staff were always friendly, courteous and efficient. The medical procedure made a huge difference in my life...I can now walk without pain and resume my daily routines. I am so thankful that I contacted Vail-Summit Orthopaedics. Scheduling and Office visits were efficiently handled and I had confidence in all the recommendations and professional procedures. I highly recommend Dr. Braxton and his staff. We are very grateful for his expertise and commitment to improving my back problems.

 by Gregg Cohen
Spinal fusion

I had spinal fusion about 4 weeks ago. I have been walking about 4-5 miles a day and really doing well. Huge improvement from my pre fusion situation.

 by Greg Jarvis

I was unable to walk up or down the stairs without both hands on the railings, no golf in two seasons, skiing was out. I had visited with two different surgeons in the Los Angeles area, neither of whom had an appreciation for the active Vail lifestyle. I knew I had to have my procedure here where the culture is to get back in the game. Both Dr. Raub and Dr. Fenney highly recommended and supported Dr. Braxton and assured me I was with the right doctor. Today is 9 months since my procedure. Over the winter I have skied 400,000 vertical feet with five 30,000 days back to back I played golf three times last month in California, and I just last week signed up and sent my deposit for a 2022 Heli-Ski trip to British Columbia. Thanks to the great team under Dr. Braxton's leadership, and his highly skilled hands I am operating at 110% and feel 20 years younger….ok 15!

 by Virginia Daily

I had constant sciatic pain in both legs and difficulty walking any distance. After minimally invasive spine surgery with Dr. Braxton, I am back to walking a couple of miles a day and free of leg pain.

 by John English
A New Life

Who wants spinal surgery? Nobody. I was no different. However, I was in constant pain and severely limited in my activities. In addition, other doctors told me that I was risking permanent nerve damage by delaying.

So, I started doing my research. I did not want some random surgeon playing with my spinal cord. Other doctors highly recommended Dr. Braxton. When I met him I was pleased. He was direct, clear, and offered a solution that made sense to me. So far so good. But, we all know that talk is cheap. Could he really deliver?

When the surgery was complete, I was thrilled. I was pain-free! Yes, for a few days I did feel a little discomfort at the surgical site. But my buttocks and leg pain were gone. And that pain has never returned.

I am still amazed that I could have life changing surgery as an outpatient. The inconvenience was minimal and the result life changing. Dr. Braxton is a miracle worker. Not only is he a talented neurosurgeon, but he is a splendid human being. I completely trust him and highly recommend him.

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