Michael Fehlings MD, PhD, FRCSC, FACS

Dr. Michael Fehlings is a Professor of Neurosurgery and Co-Director of the University of Toronto Spine Program. He combines an active clinical practice in complex spinal surgery at Toronto Western Hospital with a translationally oriented research program focused on discovering novel treatments for the injured spinal cord. He has published over 1050 peer-reviewed articles (h-index 116) chiefly in the area of central nervous system injury and complex spinal surgery. Dr. Fehlings has held prominent leadership roles, including Past President of the International Neurotrauma Society, Past President of the Cervical Spine Research Society, and led several international clinical research trials.


University of Toronto

Principal Faculty:

Institute of Medical Science

Principal Department/Program:

Department of Surgery

Principal Hospital Appointment:

Toronto Western Hospital

Key Publications:

Badhiwala JH, Wilson JR, Harrop JS, Vaccaro AR, Aarabi B, Geisler FH, Fehlings MG. Early vs Late Surgical Decompression for Central Cord Syndrome. JAMA Surg. 2022 Nov 1;157(11):1024-1032. doi: 10.1001/jamasurg.2022.4454. Badhiwala JH, Wilson JR, Witiw CD, Harrop JS, Vaccaro AR, Aarabi B, Grossman RG, Geisler FH, Fehlings MG. The influence of timing of surgical decompression for acute spinal cord injury: a pooled analysis of individual patient data. Lancet Neurol. 2021 Feb;20(2):117-126. doi: 10.1016/S1474-4422(20)30406-3. Fehlings MG, Badhiwala JH, Ahn H, Farhadi HF, Shaffrey CI, Nassr A, Mummaneni P, Arnold PM, Jacobs WB, Riew KD, Kelly M, Brodke DS, Vaccaro AR, Hilibrand AS, Wilson J, Harrop JS, Yoon ST, Kim KD, Fourney DR, Santaguida C, Massicotte EM, Kopjar B. Safety and efficacy of riluzole in patients undergoing decompressive surgery for degenerative cervical myelopathy (CSM-Protect): a multicentre, double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomised, phase 3 trial. Lancet Neurol. 2021 Feb;20(2):98-106. doi: 10.1016/S1474-4422(20)30407-5. Khazaei M, Ahuja CS, Nakashima H, Nagoshi N, Li L, Wang J, Chio J, Badner A, Seligman D, Ichise A, Shibata S, Fehlings MG. GDNF rescues the fate of neural progenitor grafts by attenuating Notch signals in the injured spinal cord in rodents. Sci Transl Med. 2020 Jan 8;12(525):eaau3538. doi: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aau3538. Satkunendrarajah K, Karadimas SK, Laliberte AM, Montandon G, Fehlings MG. Cervical excitatory neurons sustain breathing after spinal cord injury. Nature. 2018 Oct;562(7727):419-422. doi: 10.1038/s41586-018-0595-z.