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Since 2007, Dr. O'Brien has helped thousands of patients with minimally invasive spine surgery in the Washington, D. C. area.


Our Mission

to Provide compassionate care to our patients using the latest minimally invasive techniques.

Dr. Joseph O’Brien is a specialist in minimally invasive spine surgery. He spent 9 years at GWU as an associate professor of Orthopaedic Surgery and Neurological Surgery. Additionally, he was formerly the Medical Director of Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery at The GW Hospital. He is a board-certified orthopaedic surgeon and is a fellow in the Academy of Orthopaedic Surgery. He is also a member of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, the Cervical Spine Research Society, the Scoliosis Research Society, and the Spine Arthroplasty Society. He completed his spine surgical training at the Johns Hopkins University Medical Center.

Dr. O’Brien actively pursues research in ways to improve spine surgery and techniques to salvage failed spine surgery. He has been published in a variety of medical journals including Spine, the Journal of Neurosurgery Spine, Neurosurgery, Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgery, and Current Orthopaedic Practice. His research has been presented around the globe with between 10-20 research presentations on a national level per year.

Dr O’Brien joined OrthoBethesda and founded the Washington Spine and Scoliosis Institute in 2017 with the members of OrthoBethesda. He offers expertise in minimally invasive surgery and revision of failed spine surgery. In particular, he has an interest in failed cervical spine surgery. Additionally, Dr. O’Brien is dedicated to teaching resident surgeons, medical students and other spine surgeons.



I offer the patient the same surgery that I would want if the roles were reversed.
— -Dr. Joseph O'Brien


  • Washingtonian Top Doc
  • Face of Spine Surgery 2017, 2016, Washingtonian Magazine
  • Medical Director of Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery, George Washington University Hospital 2007-2016.  
  • Associate Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery and Neurological Surgery 2007-2016, George Washington University School of Medicine
  • Active Fellow of Scoliosis Research Society
  • Active Member of the Cervical Spine Research Society
  • Summa Cum Laude, Vanderbilt University Bachelor of Arts in Chemistry
  • Master of Public Health, Emory University
  • Medical Doctorate with Distinction, George Washington University
  • Academic Chief Resident, Orthopaedic Surgical Residency, University of Maryland.  
  • Fellowship in Spinal Surgery, Johns Hopkins University