Striving for Innovation and Excellence … Even for the Most Challenging Cases
Dr. Villavicencio is a board-certified neurosurgeon and the senior managing partner at Boulder Neurosurgical & Spine Associates. He is one of only a handful of surgeons in the country with dual neurosurgery and orthopedic spine training. He has extensive training in both minimally invasive and major reconstructive spine surgery. Dr. Villavicencio specializes in all types of spine surgery, from minimally invasive to complex spinal reconstruction surgery, including treatment of scoliosis and other types of spinal deformity. Dr. Villavicencio also treats brain disorders, including all types of brain tumors and performs up to 500 operative cases each year. Dr. Villavicencio is the Director of Research and Development for Boulder Neurosurgical & Spine Associates (BNA) and chairman of the Justin Parker Neurological Institute.
Meet Dr. Alan Villavicencio
In college I met a professor in my Neuropsychology class that did research with cocaine, and it was really interesting stuff. So I went and did some research with him and that sort of got me interested in Neurosurgery medicine, I originally wanted to be a veterinarian. I was in San Diego at the time, University of California – San Diego, and then ended up going to Harvard from there, Duke for Neurosurgery Residency and then Cedars-Sinai for specialty. So I am a general neurosurgeon that does pretty much anything neurosurgical but I did a specialty orthopedic spine fellowship at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and so I do both complex and minimally invasive surgery. All the stuff than orthopedic spine surgeons do and all of the stuff neurosurgical spine surgeons do. Somebody that might come to see me is someone with neck pain, back pain, or radicular pain in their arms or legs, or a tumor in their spine, or a vascular malformation, or scoliosis or some other form of spinal deformity. The vast majority of people come to see me I don’t operate on them I treat them conservatively, with things like anti-inflammatories, physical therapy, and other medications, activity modification, and weight loss. Most of the people get better, but the ones that don’t sometimes I will take them into surgery. So I usually look for the least invasive techniques with the most beneficial outcomes for the patients. I also treat a lot of high level athletes, I do triathlons, marathons, ultramarathons and all that stuff so a lot of them come see me because I kind of have an understanding of what their needs are. I’ve had people fly in from China and the Great British Isles to come see us. We have patients come down from Montana, Wyoming, over from Mexico, Kansas, Utah and drive right through Denver where there are 30+ neurosurgeons and come see us. Boulder Neurosurgical Associates is much different than a typical private practice, we’re sort of a academic private practice we have a 501.3(c) non-profit. It’s called the Justin Parker Neurologic Institute, that I founded about 15 years ago and we have a full time MD researcher and multiple interns at anyone time, we give scholarships and we publish up to a half-dozen papers a year on minimally invasive techniques, complex techniques, do all kinds of outcome research trying to evaluate new things, better outcomes and less invasive surgery. We also have a relationship with industries so we can offer different types of new devices that aren’t necessarily on the market through FDA studies and that sort of thing. I’m married, have a wife, who is also a physician and two kids we do a lot of stuff outside like fishing, hunting, riding motorcycles, shooting. I have a farm/ranch so we have a 85-head of cattle, four horses, and we move them up the mountains in the summer time and down in the winter time, have cattle drives and all that sort of thing.
- Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery
- Complex Spine Surgery
- Brain Disorders
- Scoliosis Surgery
Education and Training:
- Fellowship: Orthopedic Spine Surgery at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, CA
- Residency: Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC
- Doctor of Medicine: Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA
Honors and Accomplishments
- Dr. Villavicencio is also the founder and chairman of the board for the Justin Parker Neurological Institute (JPNI), a fully accredited, nonprofit, tax-exempt, 501(c)(3) scientific research organization, primarily focusing on brain and spine conditions. The Institute’s purpose is to conduct and disseminate clinical research and education to patients and the medical community.
- Founder and current program chairman for the Justin Parker Neurological Institute’s (JPNI) annual neurosurgical symposium entitled Current Techniques in the Treatment of Cranial and Spinal Disorders.
- Dr. Villavicencio has presented hundreds of abstracts at national and international neurosurgical meetings. In addition, he has published more than 60 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters in leading neurosurgical journals and textbooks. Dr. Villavicencio also is the principal investigator for several ongoing U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) IDE (Investigational Device Exemption) prospective randomized trials.
- He is a member of American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS), Congress of Neurological Surgeons (CNS), North American Spine Society (NASS), Colorado Neurosurgical Society (CNS), Boulder County Medical Society (BCMS), Colorado Medical Society (CMS), AANS/CNS Section on Tumors and Section on Disorders of the Spine and Peripheral Nerves.
- Dr. Villavicencio is a contributing author on Spine-health.com where he has written patient education content about spinal conditions and treatments. His last two pieces are: Cauda Equina Syndrome and more recently, 3 Reasons Why Staying Active Benefits the Neck.
- American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS)
- AANS/CNS Section on Disorders of the Spine and Peripheral Nerves
- AANS/CNS Section on Tumors
- Colorado Medical Society (CMS)
- Colorado Neurosurgical Society
- Congress of Neurological Surgeons (CNS)
- North American Spine Society (NASS)
- Massachusetts Medical Society (MMS)
“By its very nature, neurosurgery is challenging. The challenges are what drew me to the specialty. Another reason is these patients need resolution. Often the resolution is relief from longstanding suffering. In many cases, life is in the balance. For me, caring for these patients is the very essence of medicine and has fueled my pursuit of excellence. I perform outpatient procedures that many surgeons still perform as several hour long open surgeries that require several days of hospitalization. My colleagues and I provide care for patients throughout the region, not only in Colorado, but in other states and countries such as Montana, Wyoming, Texas, California, Florida and Canada. The level and quality of care provided by Boulder Neurosurgical & Spine Associates is comparable to the best centers in the world. Personally, I stop at nothing to help patients get their lives back.”