E. Lee Nelson, MD

Dedicated to Continuous Improvement, Leading-Edge Capabilities, and the Most Innovative Care


Dr. Nelson is board certified by the American Board of Neurological Surgery (ABNS) and has been a part of Boulder Neurosurgical & Spine Associates (BNA) since 2004. Dr. Nelson’s areas of clinical interest include neurosurgical oncology and complex spinal surgery with an emphasis on minimally invasive techniques. He was instrumental in bringing ultramodern intraoperative imaging systems to Colorado, including the O-ARM and the PoleStar N-20 Intraoperative MRI. As a result, BNA was the first in Colorado to use such technologies and the second surgical group in the United States to introduce them to the operating room. Dr. Nelson also serves as a consultant for a neuromodulation company and believes this technology can be an important part of providing comprehensive care to patients with problems of the spine.

Meet Dr. E. Lee Nelson:

Video Transcript

I grew up in western Carolina, but a lot of my formative years including high school, college and medical training were all in Texas. Neurosurgery is building on an engineering background in college and neurosurgery is a highly technical field and I think that was the initial appeal of neurosurgery to me. I enjoy trying to figure out what is wrong and try to apply a solution to their lives that’s unique to them. Very few people really to us who really need surgery, our goal is always to try to find a way to avoid it if possible. I think the advantage of Boulder Neurosurgical is that you have a large group of physicians, we encounter a lot of challenging cases and when someone comes here we don’t reach out to my colleges and apply a team approach to solving the issue and that’s a real advantage of seeing a group of surgeons that all practice together. The patient, when the come to see me or one of my partners, they’re actually getting access to all of us at the same time. We have group conferences, we are constantly running cases by one another. We also want to advance the science so that future patients have solutions that are new and novel, and we hope that the future generations will benefit from that education. I try to face every patient as if I were sitting in their shoes “what would I do if this were a family member of mine?” and tailor our approach to them as if they were family how would we treat our loved ones and would our proposed solutions be the same if it was my mother or father sitting here in the chair, its really our approach to our patients. I spend a lot of time with my family and the time with family has definitely grown as I’ve matured and I like to spend a lot of time just exploring, particularly exploring the west because the west is so accessible both via motorcycle and car.


  • Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery
  • Complex Spine Surgery
  • Brain Disorders
  • Pituitary Tumor Surgery
  • Neurosurgical Oncology

Education and Training:

  • Training:  Complex Spinal Instrumentation, MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX
  • Residency: Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX
  • Internship:  Michael E. DeBakey Department of Surgery under the tutelage of Robert Grossman, MD
  • Doctor of Medicine:  Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX with Alpha Omega Alpha Honors

Honors and Accomplishments:

  • Best Paper Award:  Correlation of Clinical Outcomes and Cervical Sagittal Alignment:  A Prospective Randomized Clinical Study.  24th Annual NASS meeting, November 2009.
  • Finalist, Mario Boni Award, Cervical Spine Research Society, European Section, 26th CSRS Annual Meeting
  • Kinjiro Iwata Award for Outstanding Contributions to Baylor’s Neurosurgical Department
  • Flour Daniel Scholarship, Endowed Presidential Scholarship
  • Consultant to a multinational company that develops surgical navigation systems for both brain and spine surgery


  • American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS)
  • Congress of Neurological Surgeons (CNS)
  • North American Spine Society (NASS)
  • Colorado Neurosurgical Society, Colorado Medical Society (CMS)
  • AANS/CNS Section on Tumors and Section on Disorders of the Spine and Peripheral Nerves.

Nelson CV 2021

“Neurosurgery was the obvious choice for me. My early goals included meeting people during critical times to help them directly face the challenges illnesses pose with hope and strength. Now I’m realizing this goal. Patients come to Boulder Neurosurgical & Spine Associates (BNA) for solutions to their most difficult problems that include pain secondary to degenerative changes in the spine to life-threatening intracranial diseases.

“Patients need a neurosurgeon that is both competent and compassionate. These attributes motivate us as physicians and surgeons to strive to improve our skills and develop innovative nonsurgical and surgical treatments. Minimally invasive spine surgery is an example of advanced care that offers patients many benefits, such as less time in the hospital and quicker recovery time.

“Each day I renew my commitment to excellence, continuous improvement, and the people who have entrusted me with their care.”