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:  
 19 reviews
by Virginia Daily on Ernest Braxton, MD

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 on Ernest Braxton, MD
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.

by Heather Anderson on Ernest Braxton, MD
Life Changing Experience

Dr. Braxton and his team are true professionals. After two failed microdiscectomies, I was hesitant to go under the knife for a third time for a fusion. But from the moment I met with him, I was immediately assured that I was in the best hands. I'm three weeks post-op, and I have never felt better. The L5-TLIF has given me my life back and I cannot wait to start PT and continue to heal. Dr. Braxton is simply the best and I am so thankful for him and VSO.

by Jennifer Lyons on Ernest Braxton, MD
Life Changing

Dr. Braxton and his team are wonderful! I lived with back pain for years and finally saw Dr. Braxton when the pain became so debilitating that I could barely walk to my mailbox and back. After trying both physical therapy and injections we decided surgery was the best option to relieve my pain. Not only did the surgery go very smoothly, but Dr. Braxton's bedside manner is superb, his team was able to answer any questions I had in the weeks following surgery quickly, and now I am fully recovered and have my life back. I did not suffer any complications and you would never even know I had to have surgery. Thank you so much to Dr. Braxton and his team for changing my life!

by Ryan Weigel on Ernest Braxton, MD
Dr. Braxton is a rockstar

I never go the doctors, have never had surgery, and lead a very active lifestyle ranching and training horses. I injured my back and was told to come to VSO because they were the best. They were right, Dr. Braxton and his team immediately recognized the severity of my injury and worked diligently to get me into surgery within a few days. I was super nervous about the surgery but it was way simpler than I thought. I am healing great and slowly getting back into my routine. I am very grateful for Dr. Braxton and his team.

by Marie on Ernest Braxton, MD
WOW! A fantastic doctor with a fantastic team!!!!!

I was treated the way every patient wants to be treated, with respect/courtesy/ professionalism/exceptional competence! Dr. Braxton is absolutely sensational and is supported by an equally friendly and competent team. My overall experience at Vail Health couldn't have been better.

by Alan Danson on Ernest Braxton, MD
Feeling Better and with Great Service

"I’m back home after my microdiscectomy. It took five hours, door to door — and the attendant who received and sent me home told Silvia and me the it was a record. Who knew? The truth is that I was one of the only patients in the surgical wing of the hospital, so the staff was eager to serve me.

And serve me they did. I cannot tell you how incredible the attention I received was, from start to finish.

I’m typing this email at my stand-up desk that I haven’t been able to use since late February, when my sciatica kicked in. Of course, I’m still high on the epidural that they gave me, so let’s see how I feel when that wears off.

Now here’s the interesting aspect of all this. The word micro in microdiscectomy does not mean small. It refers to the fact that the surgery is performed by the surgeon, Dr. Ernest Braxton, of Vail Summit Orthopaedics, using a microscope and screen. He inserts a small hollow metal tube through a tiny (one inch) incision on the mid-line of my back, and uses surgical tools — one of which is a camera -- that are inserted through that tube and used to perform the operation. AND here is the best part. I got an epidural to allow placement of the tube, but otherwise I was awake and able to see the entire procedure on a second screen placed at the head end of the operating table. What a show!

If you want to know what Dr. Braxton saw and “fixed”, here’s what the op report said: "We identified a rostrally migrated lumbar disc herniation compressing the shoulder of the exiting L4 nerve root as well as a large foraminal disc herniation. These were resected via hemilaminotomy approach." ENOUGH."

by Stephanie Giangiulio on Ernest Braxton, MD
Dr. Braxton is my hero!

At 13 years old I was diagnosed with Spondylosisthesis. It took multiple doctors, MRIs, chiropractors, and massage to stay comfortable each year. At 25 years old I found my hero!! Dr. Braxton!! He met with me after I finally hit a breaking point.... I didn’t think spinal fusion or disc replacement would be in my life this soon, and I never thought I’d say I was blessed to have one.... But thanks to the him I am a new person and couldn’t be more grateful. His knowledge, kind heart, and comfort brought me a new back and a huge smile. I would recommend him to anyone in need of his services. So thankful I’m back to gaining strength, pain free, living the active life I strive for even more so now with my new back. THANK YOU DR. BRAXTON AND YOUR TEAM.

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