John G. Finkenberg, MD

Board Certified Orthopedic Surgeon Fellowship Trained in Advanced Spinal Reconstruction
NASS Board of Directors


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John G. Finkenberg, MD

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Voted San Diego Magazine's Top Doctors of 2023

Dr. Finkenberg has been in private practice with Alvarado Orthopedic Medical Group in San Diego, California since 1992. He is a general orthopaedic surgeon who has obtained fellowship training after his orthopaedic residency in advanced spinal reconstructive surgery. After attending U.C.L.A. Medical School, he completed his orthopaedic training at Harbor-U.C.L.A. Medical Center in Torrance, California. He has been the Chief of the Orthopaedic Department at Alvarado Hospital Medical Center and has served on the Executive Supervisory Committee for many years. Dr. Finkenberg serves as a specialist at the Alvarado Hospital Advanced Spine & Joint Institute. As a surgical consultant for a spinal instrumentation company, he has developed instrumentation utilized in reconstructive spinal surgery. Dr. Finkenberg has authored several published articles and lectures nationally and internationally on spine surgery. He currently serves at Vice-President of the North American Spine Society and instructs the national hands-on spinal surgery course. Presently he coordinates multi-center prospective outcome studies on lumbar and cervical spinal fusion. He holds a patent for diagnosing fractures with intrasound vibration and has sculpted statues that are on display at U.C.L.A. Medical Center, Johns Hopkins Hospital and Grossmont Hospital Women’s Center.

My philosophy in patient care involves making extraordinary efforts to find the correct diagnosis with the least amount of testing possible. I have found that treatment success depends on ensuring the injury history, physical exam and X-rays all point to the same diagnosis. I also believe that each patient is different and all efforts should be made to exhaust nonsurgical treatments when indicated.

In my spare time, I enjoy sports, sculpting bronze figures and advocating for better health care in Washington, D.C.

  • Spine Surgery


  • Medical: University of California, Los Angeles, CA


  • Orthopedic Surgery Residency: Harbor UCLA Medical Center, Torrance, CA
  • Spine Fellowship: Johns Hopkins University Hospital, Baltimore, MD

Professional Affiliations

  • American Association of Orthopedic Surgeons
  • North American Spine Society, President
  • European Spine Society
  • American Academy of Neurosurgeons
  • California Medical Association
  • San Diego County Medical Society
  • Associate Editor, The Spine Journal (NASS Journal)
  • Section Editor for Spineline Journal
  • Board of Directors for Foundation for Orthopedic Spine Research, Boston, Massachusetts
  • FDA DSMB Chairman, Product Review

Professional Appointments

  • President, National Association of Spine Specialists
  • NASS Board of Directors
  • NASS Advocacy Council Chairman
  • Board of Directors, San Diego Bowl Games
  • Director, Spine Center, Alvarado Hospital Medical Center
  • Orthopedic Supervisory Committee, Grossmont Hospital
  • Past Chief of Orthopedic Surgery, Alvarado Hospital Medical Center
  • Editorial Board, Sports Medicine Digest
  • Faculty, North American Spine Society, Spine Surgery Course
  • Qualified Medical Examiner, California

Additional Credentials / Achievements

  • Published author and international lecturer on advanced techniques for spine surgery
  • Surgical consultant, research and development, EBI, LLC, Biomet
  • Accomplished Sculptor
  • Donated Art of Surgery to UCLA Medical Center, 1997
  • Art of Surgery II to Johns Hopkins Hospital, 1999
  • Gift of Life to Grossmont Hospital Women’s Center, 2002

Media Appearances

  • Dr. Finkenberg has appeared in the San Diego media on several occasions.