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Dr. Ernest E. Braxton, Jr.

Back, Spine, & Neurosurgery

Dr. Ernest E. Braxton Jr. is a Board-Certified neurosurgeon specializing complex spine,  minimally invasive outpatient spine surgery,  artificial disc technology and sports related neurotrauma. He is passionate about minimally invasive spine surgery because patients return to performance faster. He is an expert with motion preservation technology such artificial disk 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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Dr. Ernest E. Braxton Jr. is a Board-Certified neurosurgeon specializing complex spine,  minimally invasive outpatient spine surgery,  artificial disc technology and sports related neurotrauma.  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.  


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 Clinical Professor of Surgery at University Health Science Center in San Antonio (UHTSA) 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.  




  • 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)

Hospital Affiliations

  • Vail Valley Medical Center

  • Vail Valley Surgery Center



  • 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


  • Board Certification: Passed, American Board of Neurologic Surgery Boards (ABNS)

Honors & 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


  • 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.

Click here to view all publications by Dr. Ernest Braxton

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