David W. Polly, MD
Disclosures: Nothing to disclose

Dr. David Wayne Polly, Jr. is Professor and Chief of Spine Surgery for the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at the University of Minnesota and holds the James W. Ogilvie Chair. He is also professor for the Department of Neurosurgery. He was an undergraduate at West Point, completed medical school at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, did his Orthopaedic Surgery residency at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, and finished his Spine fellowship at the University of Minnesota. He then returned to Walter Reed as Chief of Spine surgery, eventually becoming chair of the department of Orthopaedic Surgery and Rehabilitation. After retiring from the Army he assumed his current position at the University of Minnesota. His particular interests involve spinal deformity, spinal biomechanics, precise diagnosis, improving the technical execution of surgical procedures, and cost-benefit analyses of therapeutic interventions.


Dr. Polly is a world-renowned spinal surgeon, researcher, and teacher. In addition, his life has been marked by service. Service to the nation, service to learned professional societies, service to his colleagues, residents, post-doctoral fellows, and most of all service to his patients. He is past president of the Scoliosis Research Society. He is also a member of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons Board of Councilors as a representative for the state of Minnesota. He has a voluminous curriculum vitae, which includes receipt of more than 10 academic awards, over 200 peer-reviewed publications, title of principal or co-investigator on approximately 100 institutional review board-approved research protocols, hundreds of presentations and invited lectures, and many visiting professorships and talks given world-wide. Additionally, he has chaired many national and international spine education meetings.


One of today’s greatest challenges in medicine is defining the value of care and providing it to patients with ease of access. Establishing more effective diagnoses and treatment pathways have been at the forefront throughout Dr. Polly’s career. This has been the driving force behind his clinical care and research.