Adam S. Kanter, MD

  • Professor
  • Chief, UPMC Presbyterian Spine Service
  • Director, Minimally Invasive Spine Program
  • Co-Director, Spine Fellowship Program

Adam S. Kanter, MD, joined the faculty of the Department of Neurosurgery in January of 2008 as director of the department’s minimally invasive spine program.

Dr. Kanter performed his undergraduate work at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, graduating with Cum Laude honors. He obtained his master’s degree from Boston University and his medical degree from the University of Vermont in 2001. Dr. Kanter then completed his neurosurgical residency at the University of Virginia in 2007. He completed subspecialty fellowship training in minimally invasive spine surgery at the University of California, San Francisco and Auckland City Hospital in Auckland, New Zealand.

Dr. Kanter is board certified in neurological surgery and was promoted to professor in 2021. He was named chief of spine services in 2014 and continues to push the surgical envelope in minimally invasive spine procedures utilizing many of the innovative portals that he has helped to develop.

Dr. Kanter is principal investigator in several research studies evaluating the use of stem cell derived biologics to induce spinal fusion. His research focuses on patient derived clinical outcome measures, specifically appraising the utility of minimally invasive and lateral access surgical corridors.

Dr. Kanter has published numerous papers in refereed journals and authored several book chapters. He provides editorial service to several peer reviewed journals and is a key member of several major neurosurgical societies. He resided as chairman of the 2016 Spine Summit’s scientific program, recording the highest attendance in the history of the section’s conference. Dr. Kanter has also received numerous accolades for his clinical expertise, including top doctor, most compassionate doctor, and patient’s choice awards.

Dr. Kanter's publications can be reviewed through the National Library of Medicine's publication database. 

Specialized Areas of Interest

Minimally invasive spine surgery; lateral access spine surgery; artificial disc technology; spinal tumors; experimental therapies for spinal fusion.

Board Certifications

American Board of Neurological Surgery

Hospital Privileges

UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital
UPMC Passavant
UPMC Presbyterian
UPMC St. Margaret
UPMC Shadyside

Professional Organization Membership

Allegheny County Medical Society
American Association of Neurological Surgeons
AANS/CNS Section on Disorders of the Spine & Peripheral Nerves
AANS/CNS Section of Neurotrauma & Critical Care
AANS/CNS Section on Tumors
American College of Surgeons
American Medical Association
Congress of Neurological Surgeons
North American Spine Society
Pennsylvania Medical Society
Society of Lateral Access Surgeons (SOLAS)
Society of Minimally Invasive Spine Surgeons (SMISS)
World Spinal Column Society

Education & Training

  • BS, Psychology, University of Massachusetts, 1993
  • MS, Medical Sciences, Boston University, 1997
  • MD, University of Vermont, 2001
  • Residency, Neurosurgery, University of Virginia, 2007
  • Fellowship, Spine Surgery, University of California, San Francisco, 2007

Honors & Awards

  • Pittsburgh's Best Doctors, Pittsburgh Magazine, 2012-20
  • Patients' Choice Award, UPMC, October 2012-21
  • Top 10 Doctor, Vitals Neurosurgical Specialists, 2012-21
  • Most Compassionate Doctor Award, UPMC, December 2012-20
  • UPMC ‘ACES’ Award for Commitment & Excellence in Service, 2019

Media Appearances

Less invasive spinal surgery pioneered by UPMC neurosurgeon helps patients recover quicker
July 23, 2012
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Pounded spinal cord can mimic more serious injury
October 4, 2010
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

UPMC OnTopic Videos

Clinical Advantages of Lateral Access Surgery
Dr. Kanter explains how lateral access surgery is a viable and beneficial option that preserves tissue integral to the rehabilitation and recovery of patients with degenerative spine conditions.

Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery for Scoliosis
Dr. Kanter explains how scoliosis can be treated minimally invasively.

Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery for Stenosis
Dr. Kanter explains how stenosis can be treated minimally invasively.

Minimally Invasive Spine Fusion Surgery
Dr. Kanter discusses the benefits of minimally invasive spine fusion surgery.