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.

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.


  • 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:  
 35 reviews
 by Emily Zwaan
Excellent, thorough and compassionate spine surgeon

Dr. Braxton took time to understand my particular condition. He is thorough in his investigation of the problem, and is kind and compassionate in his care. I never feel rushed during an appointment, and he has performed my surgeries with skill. Highly recommended!

 by Carel Slatkoff

After experiencing sciatic pain and getting no relief from injections, I saw Dr. Braxton and scheduled a decompression and fusion at L4-L5. The results have been amazing!
I have been able to resume pain-free the activities that I enjoy. Also, the whole team and office personnel are delightful to work with.

 by Heather Lemon
happy client

The surgery was EXACTLY like Dr Braxton said it would be (Spinal fusion L4-5) and I have not had any nerve pain since. I am feeling back to normal and will even be going skiing next week. If you want your life back, then consider having Braxton fix your back. Life is too short to suffer unnecessarily. I am very happy with his work and see why all my friends rave about him. Do your self a favor and talk to him. He is really an expert and I am very happy I did this.

 by Mary R

I was totally petrified to have major back surgery and now that it is over, all I can say is why did I wait so long and put up with so much pain for so long? I should have had the surgery years ago. I can't believe how good I felt after the surgery. I would totally recommend Dr. Ernest Braxton, Jr. At vail-Summit Orthopedics and his wonderful team. They took great care of me and honestly, no one was more afraid of this surgery than me and now I am doing absolutely great!

 by Julia Knight
Brilliant, talented and kind

An incredibly talented, brilliant and truly kind and concerned doctor. He carefully evaluated my case and proposed solutions that no other neurosurgeon suggested. A week after a two level spinal fusion I am feeling great. His team is extraordinary; highly responsive and totally tuned in -a tribute to his leadership and the respect everyone has for him. And they made it all happen super quickly and efficiently. I'm grateful for his care.

 by Louis R. Effron

I could not be more impressed with the level of service and attention to detail from the medical team at Vail-Summit Orthopedic & Neurosurgery. When I met Dr. Braxton, I had tremendous discomfort and debilitating lower back pain. He was candid and straightforward with the course of action which turned out to solve the issue beautifully. I have my life back!
We are already recommending Dr. Braxton and this wonderful, state of the art facility to our friends and family. He immediately established a good rapport and a level of trust that enabled me to move forward quickly. Thank you! Louis Effron

 by Pete Lipson
Great Success with Dr Braxton two level disc arthroplasty

May 27 2022 Dr Braxton performed a disc arthroplasty on my spine, 2 level c4-c5, c5-c6. I feel much better and my shooting pain, aching in my trapezoids, front of neck, rear neck upper spine area are mostly gone. I do want to mention that i attribute much of the success also is due to i am very diligent about exercising daily and stretching, using a theraband daily for my neck. If i was not as diligent about daily upper spine specific stretching, exercises, i do not think i would be doing as well. Overall i am very happy i did the surgery and very happy i did not fuse. I am 44 y.o. and have an 11 y.o. that is way into sports and playing basketball and baseball with him is important to me, from what i read about fusion, doing these sports is not as enjoyable after fusion. Glad i did the disc replacement. Prior to surgery i had some burning, aching, shooting pain at times, that is all gone post surgery, i never had issues swallowing, not even the day after surgery. I am still learning about being self-aware and paying attention to when the tightness in my upper spine, neck is approaching pain, as soon as that occurs, i take 10-30 minutes to stretch, theraband, foam roll and the tightness is totally gone. This same activity prior to surgery was only about 20-30% as effective as it is now. Again, very happy i did the surgery, thank you Dr Braxton and thank you Vail Summit team!

 by Judy Campton
Pain free!

After many years of having back issues, it finally came to the point of seeking medical advice from a spine surgeon. Coming highly recommended, my first choice was Dr. Ernest Braxton at Vail Summit Orthopaedics. I was having extreme nerve pain, constantly a nine/ten level, from the base of my spine down my legs. An MRI revealed scoliosis and spinal stenosis, along with arthritis. A spinal laminectomy was scheduled for January 20, 2022, and Dr. Braxton said the pain would be gone as soon as the procedure was complete. I am happy to say I have had no pain since my surgery. Dr. Braxton is brilliant, and I recommend him and his highly qualified staff to anyone who has back or neck issues.

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