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Spinal Surgery
Patient Education
Spinal Surgery

XLIF eXtreme lateral interbody fusion

P. Ronjon Paul, M.D. Board Certified, Orthopaedic Spine Surgeon

Ronjon Paul, MD Orthopaedic Spine Surgeon ChicagoDr. Paul brings a well-known reputation for excellent outcomes and cutting-edge experience to DuPage Medical Group. Board certified by the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery, Dr. Paul’s philosophy is highly conservative. With a national reputation, Dr. Paul attracts patients throughout Chicagoland, the country and even some patients as far away as China and Taiwan. Dr. Paul is a well-known expert in the field of minimally invasive spine surgery and has taught over two hundred surgeons.  He has been invited to speak and assist in surgery in the United Kingdom and Australia.  Dr. Paul was recently awarded the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy Board of Trustee’s Distinguished Leadership Award for Leadership in the field of spine surgery. He has published his findings in major medical journals and presented at many national and regional medical conferences.

Dr. Paul takes pride in his ability to understand and relate to his patients.  He goes to great lengths to inform patients in a way that is clear and informative. The trust and confidence patients place in him, as well as positive outcomes, have made him popular among patients. He is the only spine surgeon in DuPage County to have received the 2011 Vitals Patient’s Choice Award.

Dr Paul is a member of the Charter Class of the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy.  His medical training includes medical school at The University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine. He also completed an orthopaedic surgery residency at the University of Chicago Hospitals with a heavy emphasis on spine.  As result of his clinical skill, dedication and research awards, he was selected for one the nation’s top spine surgery fellowships at the University of Wisconsin Hospitals.

Dr. Paul serves as Chair of the Spinal Surgery Section at Edward Hospital and is medical director of The Spine Center of DuPage Medical Group. He is also a member of the North American Spine Society, American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, a teaching member for the Society of Lateral Access Surgery and a charter member of the Lumbar Spine Research Society. He is affiliated with Edward Hospital and Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital.

Despite Dr. Paul’s busy clinical and administrative duties, he engages in a highly active lifestyle.  His interests include a year round regimen of strength and stamina training including cycling and skiing. His professional and personal interests revolve around the same values by which he cares for his young family and patients.

Media/Published Articles

  • Optimizing Nonviral-medicated Transfection of Human Intervertebral Disc Chondrocytes, 2008.
  • Potential Use of SOX9 Gene Therapy for Intervertebral Degenerative Disc Disorder, 2003.
  • Adenoviral Vector-Medicated Transfer for Human Gene Therapy, 2001.

Who Should see Dr. Paul:

Dr. Paul and the other providers at The Spine Center are highly conservative and are well known for offering high quality non-operative treatment. Only 5 out of 100 people who see a physician at The Spine Center go on to receive surgery. Unless you have already tried non-surgical treatments or have a condition that is urgent or requires an operation, we prefer you start with one of the highly trained physician assistants or non-operative partners. These appointments are easier to obtain and offer treatment more quickly. If you have an issue that is urgent, non-operative providers will expedite an urgent referral to Dr. Paul.

About Edward Hospital:  Edward’s dedication to spine surgery has been well recognized by many of the nation’s most rigorous ratings’ agencies.  Edward Hospital has also received the Joint Commission Disease-Specific Certification for Spine Surgery.  Efforts on the part of Edward’s spine specialty nursing and operative staff, Dr. Paul and his physician assistants have been part of Edward’s success in spine surgery.  Edward is currently expanding and upgrading its ortho-spine unit.


DuPage Medical Group in Lombard on Highland Ave
(630) 967-2225

1801 S. Highland Avenue
Lombard, IL 60148

DuPage Medical Group in Naperville at Edward Physician
(630) 967-2225

100 Spalding Drive
Naperville, IL 60540

Illinois Math and Science Academy honors surgeon for leadership

Naperville Sun | August 4, 2011 Dr. Ronjon Paul, a spine surgeon, was honored by the Illinois Mathematics & Science Academy Board of Trustees as a recipient of its annual Distinguished Leadership Award.

Paul will receive the award July 22 at the IMSA Board of Trustees Alumni Awards Ceremony. Paul is the medical director of the Spine Center of DuPage Medical Group. He performs minimally invasive spine surgery at Edward Hospital.

The Distinguished Leadership Award goes to IMSA alumni who have significantly contributed to their work, community or civic responsibilities.

Paul, from IMSA’s class of 1989, is a leader in the field of reconstructive cervical and lumbar spinal surgery with an emphasis on minimally invasive techniques.

He teaches neurosurgeons and spinal surgeons from around the world and is an award-winning researcher in genetic tissue engineering for degenerative disc disease and other spinal disorders. His findings have been published in major medical journals.

According to Paul, the DuPage Medical Group Spine Center “is interdisciplinary in that it uses the talents of both surgical and non-surgical physicians who work as a team to treat patients with spinal ailments. I am very proud of how it has evolved and its unique nature. I believe it is the only one of its kind in the area—maybe Illinois.”

Paul has spoken at many regional, national and international medical conferences. He’s also been involved in basic research about gene therapy for intervertebral disc regeneration, for which he has several publications and research awards.

Paul received his bachelor of arts degree from Haverford College and his medical degree from the University of Chicago—Pritzker School of Medicine.

Dr. Ronjon Paul Invited to Australia to Share Benefits of Minimally Invasive Surgery, Speak at SSA Annual Scientific Meeting

Naperville, IL – June 7, 2011 P. Ronjon Paul, MD, a spinal surgeon with DuPage Medical Group and Edward Hospital, recently shared his expertise in minimally invasive surgery (MIS) with physician peers
in Australia. He spoke at the Spine Society of Australia’s (SSA) 2011 Annual Scientific Meeting and met directly with surgeons eager to learn and adopt MIS procedures into their practices. During the April 15-19 visit with Australian spine surgeons, Dr. Paul presented case examples, lectured, and attended two surgeries. He met with surgeons in Melbourne, Brisbane, and on the Gold Coast. Much of the emphasis of the presentations was on indications and avoidance of complications. Spine surgeons in Australia have been rapidly adopting MIS surgery, like their peers in the United States.

“The surgeons seemed open and eager to learn,” said Dr. Paul. “They were very appreciative of receiving information that was candid and scientific, but also personal with regards to incorporating MIS into an established practice. The opportunity to help foster minimally invasive surgery abroad was a real honor.” Dr. Paul spoke about his initial experiences with MIS surgery, described how he adopted it into his practice, cited case examples, and discussed common patient indications. “I described how my early skepticism turned into enthusiasm over my first year working with the procedure,” said Dr. Paul. “The cases provided examples of significant deformity and spondylolisthesis reduction on a wide array of patients. I also discussed complication avoidance.”

There are many benefits with MIS surgery. Recovery for patients can be quicker than traditional “open” surgeries that typically involve more tissue disruption and larger incisions to access the spine. This can lead to earlier release from hospitals and the return to normal activities such as standing and walking. “MIS procedures offer a safe and effective, less invasive alternative to traditional or open spine surgery,” said Dr. Paul. “They provide greater access to the spine, better visualization during surgery, less tissue disruption and related blood loss, and as a result, the potential for faster recovery times. And, with success, the best part is patients are no longer suffering from back and leg pain.”

Dr. Paul has established himself as an expert in the area of MIS spine surgery, and was among the first surgeons in the Midwest with experience performing the eXtreme Lateral Interbody Fusion (XLIF®) procedure. Through his efforts, The Spine Center of DuPage Medical Group along with Edward Hospital has become a national teaching center for MIS spinal surgery with surgeons visiting regularly to observe Dr. Paul performing procedures. He has taught over 200 neurosurgeons and spinal surgeons from around the United States, as well as Asia and Europe and has presented similar talks at teaching centers in the United Kingdom.

Dr. Paul Conducts eXtreme Lateral Interbody Fusion (XLIF) Training Course

Dr. Ronjon Paul conducted an eXtreme Lateral Interbody Fusion (XLIF) training course at the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons headquarters in Rosemont, Illinois on February 2, 2008. Neuro and Spinal Surgeons were in attendance from across the Midwest to learn from Dr. Paul how the XLIF procedure for lumbar fusion approaches the spine from the side of the body instead of from the front or back. This approach to the spine is as minimally disruptive as possible and optimizes the patients’ recovery.

Patient benefits for the XLIF procedure are:

  • Reduced operative time – Traditional procedures can take up to 5 hours; the XLIF procedure can be successfully completed in as little as 45 minutes, reducing the amount of anesthesia time.
  • Reduced blood loss and minimal scarring – Less-invasive procedure allows for less tissue disruption, resulting in reduced blood loss.
  • Reduced postoperative pain – The XLIF procedure does not require entry through sensitive back muscles, bones, or ligaments. Many patients are usually walking the same day after surgery.
  • Reduced hospital stay – Patients are typically walking the same day after surgery and require only an overnight stay in the hospital, compared to several days of immobility and hospitalization typical of traditional open approaches.
  • Rapid return to normal activity – Patients are usually walking the same day after surgery. Recovery is typically around 6 weeks, compared to 6 months or more.

An accomplished XLIF surgeon and an active Society of Lateral Access member, Dr. Paul is the most experienced XLIF physician with the highest volume in the Chicagoland area. He is one of the few physicians hand selected to train in Brazil under the pioneer of the XLIF procedure. Dr. Paul is a proctor for the XLIF classes on the west coast and he also proctored several local training courses for physicians in his peer group. He routinely has surgeons visit his Operating Room to observe the XLIF procedures. Dr. Ronjon Paul practices at The Spine Center of DuPage Medical Group, located at the Edward Medical Physician Center 120 Spalding Drive Naperville, IL, 630 469 9200.

Watch a video about eXtreme Lateral Interbody Fusion (XLIF)