Daniel G. Nehls, MD, FACS

In 1993, Dr. Nehls founded his practice in Washington State. Since then, his exceptional surgical ability and clinical judgment, and his caring approach to patients and families have established Dr. Nehls as one of the premier neurosurgeons in the region. Dr. Nehls enjoys an outstanding reputation among patients and fellow physicians alike. His professional interests range from brain tumors to complex vascular lesions to spinal disorders to brain and spinal trauma.

Dr. Nehls received his Doctor of Medicine degree from Northwestern University, Chicago in 1980. He completed a General Surgery internship at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, DC in 1981. Dr. Nehls trained in Neurosurgery with preeminent neurosurgeons, Robert Spetzler, MD and Volker Sonntag, MD, at the world-renowned Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix, Arizona. In 1986, the New York Academy of Medicine awarded Dr. Nehls with the Charles Elsberg Fellowship, an endowment which provides for a year of study at any location worldwide. He traveled to Glasgow, Scotland, to the Wellcome Surgical Institute to study cerebral blood flow and metabolism, and to explore treatments for stroke.

Before moving to Tacoma, Dr. Nehls practiced Neurosurgery for 6 years at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, in Washington DC, and William Beaumont Army Medical Center in El Paso, Texas. At Walter Reed, Dr. Nehls was a senior faculty member, training Neurosurgery residents. He served as Acting Chief of Neurosurgery, and Acting Neurosurgery Residency Director. Dr. Nehls has been a Clinical Assistant Professor at Texas Tech School of Medicine and retains an appointment as Assistant Professor of Surgery at the Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences in Bethesda, Maryland. He has held the rank of Clinical Full Professor at the University of Washington since 2006. He has authored more than 50 publications, including 9 book chapters, and has lectured extensively throughout North America, South America and Europe. Dr. Nehls has been Board Certified as a Diplomate of the American Board of Neurological Surgery since 1990, and has been a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons since 1991. He is a member of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons and the Congress of Neurological Surgeons.

Dr. Nehls has been active in the medical community, serving on numerous committees at Good Samaritan Hospital, St Joseph Hospital and Tacoma General Hospital. These have included trauma, surgery, medical research, emergency services and executive committees. In 1998 and 1999, Dr. Nehls served as the Surgery Chairman at Tacoma General Hospital.

Dr. Nehls and his wife live in Tacoma. He is the father of four sons. In his spare time he enjoys fly-fishing, skiing, music, and gourmet cooking.

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Cervical Surgery

For the past 10 years, almost eighty percent of Dr. Nehls’ neurosurgical practice has been focused on disorders of the cervical spine (neck). Around 2005, doctors in the area recognized the special proficiency in cervical spine surgery that Dr. Nehls had achieved, and began to refer to him more and more patients with cervical degenerative disc disease, disc herniation, spinal stenosis and neck and arm pain. Dr. Nehls is very honored that he has had 40 local doctors refer themselves to him for treatment, and another 25 refer spouses and other family members. He was particularly honored that twelve of these were anesthesiologists from numerous local hospitals.

Dr. Nehls has nurtured his special interest in treating patients with cervical conditions. He has amassed a level of experience far beyond that of most surgeons. He is recognized for his abilities to deal with very complicated and difficult cases, and to treat patients with prior operations.

Dr. Nehls has been in practice for almost 30 years. In 2008, he began a database of surgical cases. In the last 8 years alone, Dr. Nehls has performed over 1080 cervical operations. He has performed anterior cervical discectomy, with bone grafts, cages, stand-alone devices and artificial discs at over 1,350 levels in the cervical spine, without a single revision or removal operation for his patients. He has been extremely pleased with his patients’ results from artificial disc surgery, and has expanded his use of artificial discs as appropriate. He sees many patients for second opinions due to his extensive experience.

Dr. Nehls has dedicated himself to learning about and developing techniques and devices to make cervical surgery more safe and more effective. He has partnered with a number of medical product companies and acts as a consultant and instructor for them. He enjoys teaching other surgeons around the United States, and internationally, about cervical spine surgery safety and technique.

Ever since artificial cervical discs were approved by the FDA, Dr. Nehls has closely studied them, and has increasingly used them, when appropriate, to help his patients. Dr. Nehls is among the most proficient surgeons in the northwest. He has acted as an instructor for the ProDisc-C, having taught more than 500 other neurosurgeons and orthopedic surgeons the technique at dozens of courses around the country. When the Swiss owner of Synthes (the maker of the ProDisc-C), multibillionaire Hansjorg Wyss, had a friend in Oregon who needed a ProDisc-C, he sought out Dr. Nehls to perform the surgery.

Dr. Nehls has also served as a consultant and as an instructor for the LDR Mobi-C cervical artificial disc, the first disc that has been approved for use to replace one or two cervical discs. He has used the Mobi-C at single levels and at two levels. He has taught dozens of surgeon training courses for LDR and has been available to assist other surgeons with questions or problems. Recently, he was invited by LDR to participate in a special masters symposium on the Mobi-C in Strasbourg, France, along with the surgeons who developed the Mobi-C disc in France.

Dr. Nehls has worked closely with Synthes, Stryker and LDR and other companies in testing and developing products, such as intervertebral devices that are smaller and less obtrusive than typical spinal plates. Dr. Nehls is always looking for ways to improve the way that cervical surgery is performed. He holds 4 patents, and has one pending, for products to improve the safety and efficacy of cervical spinal surgery.

Current Practice - To Make an Appointment

Dr. Nehls is affiliated with Franciscan Neurosurgery Associates. Neurosurgery Northwest PLLC is not an entity for Dr. Nehls' practice of Neurosurgery, it only applies to his consulting and medical device practice. Please follow this link for information regarding his practice.

1608 South J Street • Tacoma, WA • 98405

(253) 274-7505