Did you know The Spine Institute conducts clinical trials?

Clinical Trials

Most advances in the diagnosis, treatment, and care of patients with spine injury or disease have occurred because of clinical trials. Examples include improved diagnostic tests that allow for earlier treatment, increased knowledge and education regarding risk factors, and experimental treatments. The results of many clinical trials have contributed to health care professionals finding better ways to treat injury or diseases of the spine.


If you have back pain don't put off treatment any longer, contact the spine care specialist at The Spine Institute today.

Health Facts

Back pain is often caused by obesity

Most people know that obesity contributes to the development of various diseases. However, did you know that obesity is a contributing factor to back pain? It is true. Being overweight or obese can significantly contribute to  osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, degenerative disc disease, spinal stenosis, and spondylolisthesis.

Popular subjects

DISC  |  research  |  DDD  |
 surgeons  |  spine  |  HERNIATED  |  ARTIFICIAL  nucleus  |  TRIALS  |  BACK PAIN  |  video  |  FUSION  |  laminectomy  |  conservative  |  TREATMENTS

About Us

Comprehensive Spinal Care
The Spine Institute Santa Monica is dedicated exclusively to spine care, spinal surgery, spinal health, artificial disc replacement, common spine ailments, and advanced research. Our physicians have established a reputation for clinical excellence and we are on the forefront of clinical research, contributing to major advances in the treatment of various spinal disorders through our participation in and contributions to various sponsored research and device investigation programs.

Our Approach:

Conservative and Comprehensive

At The Spine Institute, we believe in conservative patient treatment – which means finding a non-surgical solution, whenever possible. Each patient's unique needs are considered from a holistic perspective and then a customized treatment plan is tailored to best meet the needs of each patient. Our clinicians use the most appropriate and conservative therapies first, in a coordinated sequence in order to achieve the most effective outcome possible. Should surgery be required, we combine a unique multidisciplinary team approach with the world’s most advanced technologies and procedures to manage the full spectrum of neurosurgical care that will limit pain, speed recovery and reduce hospital lengths of stay. Our award-winning neurosurgeons and medical staff tailor their experience, skill and commitment to treat you as a whole person – not just your condition.

Compassionate, Competent, and Cost Effective

Our mission is to be the preeminent Spine Health Provider, and to do so in a compassionate, competent, and cost effective manner. The care of your spinal health is important to the physicians at The Spine Institute. Our competent medical staff treats more than the source of your back pain or spinal problem. It is our mission to treat the whole individual. By specializing in the care of your spine and overall spine health, The Spine Institute offers the best possible options for the treatment of your spinal ailments.

Innovative Research

The mission of our non-profit research program is to develop or adapt growth factors, biologics, and gene therapy delivery techniques for the treatment of spinal cord injury and disc disease.

Our research emphasizes the application in vivo of discovered proteins, growth factors, stem cell therapy , and other novel biologics to produce spinal tissue regeneration or generation. During the past 10 years, our research team has thoroughly documented several types of injuries to the spinal cord in various spinal cord models. We use these in vivo models to more fully evaluate efficacy and assay safety of these novel biologics.

Growth factors, biologics, and gene therapy delivery techniques for the treatment of spinal cord injury and
disc disease.

In vivo of discovered proteins, growth
factors, stem cell therapy.

Research Personnel
  • Rick Delamarter, M.D. Director, Spine Research Foundation and The Spine Institute
  • Hyun W. Bae, M.D. Research Director, Spine Research Foundation Co-Director, Spine Institute
  • Michael A. Kropf, M.D. Clinical Consultant, Spine Research Foundation Co-Director, Spine Institute
  • Li Zhao, M.D., Ph.D. Laboratory Director & Research Scientist, Spine Research Foundation
  • L.E.A. Kanim, M.A. Basic Science Director Spine Research Foundation Clinical Coordinator, Spine Research Foundation and The Spine Institute
  • Kathy Grooms Chief Financial Officer, Spine Research Foundation

Rick B. Delamarter, M.D.
Medical Director


A board-certified orthopaedic surgeon on staff , Rick B. Delamarter, M.D., is the medical director of The Spine Institute
- Santa Monica CA.

Curriculum Vitae (pdf format)

Download ACROBAT Reader (what is a pdf?)


After receiving his medical degree from the University of Oregon Health Science Center, Portland, Dr. Delamarter completed his surgical internship and orthopaedic residency at UCLA Medical Center. He also completed a spine fellowship at Case Western Reserve University and has received training at the Acute Spinal Cord Injury Unit of Cleveland Veteran's Hospital. He was awarded a visiting fellowship at Grouple Hospitalier Pitie-Salpetriere in Paris, France.

Currently, Dr. Delamarter is an associate clinical professor in the Department of Surgery at UCLA School of Medicine. He is an acknowledged expert on treatment for serious back and spine problems using advanced technologies, such as minimally-invasive microsurgery and complex spinal reconstruction.

Dr. Delamarter has won national and international research awards, including the 1991 Volvo Award from International Society for the Study of the Lumbar Spine, New Investigator Recognition Award in 1991 from the Orthopaedic Research Society and the Acromed Award in 1991 from the North American Spine Society. He is continuously involved in spine related research and has written over 200 articles, book chapters and abstracts.

Michael A. Kropf, M.D.


A leading Board Certified orthopaedic surgeon, Michael A. Kropf, M. D. specializes in the treatment of cervical and lumbar disorders and the treatment of scoliosis at The Spine Institute
- Santa Monica CA.

Curriculum Vitae (pdf format)

Professional Expertise Dr. Kropf is an assistant clinical professor at the UCLA School of Medicine's Department of Orthopaedic Surgery. Prior to joining The Spine Institute, he served as Chief of Orthopaedics at St. Jude Medical Center in Fullerton, California.

Medical Qualifications Dr. Kropf began his studies at the University of California, Riverside Biomedical Sciences where he graduated with honors. After earning his medical degree at the University of California, Riverside and Los Angeles, he completed a surgical internship at UCLA School of Medicine's General Surgery Department. Following his internship, Dr. Kropf completed an orthopaedic residency at Harbor/UCLA Medical Center in Torrance, California as well as a fellowship in spinal surgery at UCLA.

Professional Memberships Dr. Kropf is an active member of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, North American Spine Society, California Medical Association, and Orange County Medical Association.

Presentations and Research Michael A. Kropf, M. D. is an author of several spine related articles and publications.

Hyun W. Bae, M.D.
Research Director


A board-certified orthopaedic surgeon, Hyun W. Bae, M.D. specializes in minimally-invasive microsurgery and in the treatment of cervical and lumbar spinal disease at The Spine Institute
- Santa Monica CA.

Curriculum Vitae (pdf format)

Dr. Bae began his medical studies at Columbia University School of Engineering and Applied Sciences where he graduated with a degree in biomechanics. He then went on to earn his medical degree, cum laude, at Yale University School of Medicine. Dr. Bae completed his surgical internship at North Shore University Hospital and his orthopaedic surgical residency at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York. He completed his spine fellowship at Case Western Hospital in Cleveland.

Dr. Bae has written numerous articles based on his research as well as presenting on behalf of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgery. He is researching the use of adult stem cells in the regeneration of nervous tissue in spinal cord injuries.

Evish Kamrava, M.D.
Interventional Spine Physician


A board certified physician, Evish Kamrava, M.D., specializes in the non-operative care of spinal disorders, interventional pain management techniques, musculoskeletal and sports disorders, and electrodiagnostic studies.
- Santa Monica CA.

After earning a bachelor’s of Science degree in Biochemistry and Education from University of California Los Angeles, Dr. Kamrava went on to earn his medical degree at St. George’s University School of Medicine, St. George’s, Grenada. Completing his internship in Internal Medicine at Long Island College Hospital, Brooklyn, New York; Dr. Kamrava went on to complete his residency in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at the Kansas University Medical Center, Kansas City, Kansas and his fellowship in lnterventional Spine at The Spine Institute, Santa Monica, CA.

Dr. Kamrava has given numerous presentations to professional meetings including the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons and the Scoliosis Research Society. He also has published work in text books and websites, including Spinal Injection Procedures (2010), and eMedicine.com. He has presented on his areas of expertise at both the local and national level.

A member of several professional organizations, Dr. Kamrava is an active member of the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, International Spine Intervention Society, North American Spine Society, North American Neuromodulation Society, and the American Pain Society.

Michael Esposito, M.D.

(Currently practicing with an associated medical group in San Pedro, California)


Dr. Esposito has been practicing in the Los Angeles and Orange County areas as an orthopaedic surgeon since 1982. He also specializes in shoulders and knees (video arthroscopy and knee replacement), with his main focus being on the spine to encompass spine surgeries including laminectomies and fusions of both cervical and lumbar, as well as microdiscectomies.

Dr. Esposito earned both his undergraduate degree and his medical degree from UC Irvine. He completed his internship in internal medicine at St. Mary Medical Center in Long Beach, California, and completed 2-years at Harbor General UCLA. He did a year of science research at LA Orthopedic Hospital subsequently being accepted at LA County USC Orthopedic Residency Program finishing his training with a Fellowship in Spine at LA Orthopedic Hospital.

He has recently opened a practice in San Pedro California, and has offices located in Northern California as well, providing continued excellent medical care to his patient's up and down the California coast.

Alexandre Rasouli, M.D.


Specializing in cervical, thoracic, and lumbar disorders of the spine, degenerative disorders, spinal trauma, adult and pediatric deformity, spinal oncology, minimally invasive surgery, and surgery with computer-assisted navigation at The Spine Institute
- Santa Monica CA.

Curriculum Vitae (pdf format)

After graduating with honors from Stanford University, Dr. Rasouli attended the University of California at Irvine where he earned both his medical degree and completed his residency in Orthopaedic Surgery. He served as Chief Resident during his final year. While at the University of California, Dr. Rasouli conducted groundbreaking research at both the Beckman Laser Institute and at the Reeve-Irvine Center for spinal cord injury.

Dr. Rasouli completed his fellowship in spinal surgery at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine under the supervision of three world-renowned spine surgeons, Drs. Frank Eismont, Harry Shufflebarger, and Barth Green. He has received extensive training in both orthopaedic and neurosurgical spine surgery techniques and in adult and pediatric deformity.

His discoveries in spinal cord injury treatment have earned him recognition in several top journals as well as at international society meetings. He is the author of several spine-related articles and book chapters.

Latest news

Visit our media library for access to all of our news videos.

The Spine Institute is often in the news pioneering new treatments to help the reported 34 million Americans 18 years and older who suffer lower back pain, and another 9 million who suffer neck pain. Watch the news coverage here.



Dr. Hyun Bae is the first U.S. surgeon to test a new synthetic gel called the NuCore injectable nucleus. It's injected directly into the natural cushion of the disc.