Education & Training

Medical School

Eastern Virginia Medical School


Transitional Year

  • Walter Reed National Military Medical Center


Orthopaedic Surgery

  • Walter Reed National Military Medical Center


Orthopedic Spine Surgery

  • Twin Cities Spine Center


American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery


MU Health Care participates with most major managed care organizations. To find out whether MU Health Care is a participating provider in your insurance plan or network, or for information on co-payments and deductibles, please contact your insurance carrier directly.

Academic Information

Division Director of Spine Surgery
Vice Chairman of Department of Orthopaedic Surgery
J. Vernon Luck Sr. Distinguished Professorship in Orthopaedic Surgery


1100 Virginia Ave.
Columbia, MO 65212
United States

P. 573-882-1440
F. 573-884-1235

Research Profile

Researcher and surgeon Dr. Theodore Choma is an expert on the spine.

Choma’s research focuses on spinal trauma, degenerative spinal conditions and issues that affect the aging spine, such as osteoporosis. He also has studied procedures aimed at healing spinal injuries faster and more naturally: he investigated use of various bone cements and screw techniques for holding osteoporotic bones together, and has conducted extensive work on large databases to understand the risks of complications in complex spine surgeries. He holds two medical patents.

Before joining the University of Missouri faculty, Choma spent 14 years in the Army, eventually becoming head of spinal surgery at the Dwight Eisenhower Army Medical Center. “I absolutely loved taking care of soldiers,” he says. In addition to conducting research and teaching at MU, Choma is a practicing spine surgeon at the university’s Missouri Orthopedic Institute.

For his many accomplishments, Choma has been presented with numerous honors including the Scoliosis Research Society’s Louis A. Goldstein Award and two recognitions from Becker’s Orthopaedic and Spine Review.

Dr. Theodore Choma is the J. Vernon Luck, Sr. Distinguished Professor and Vice Chairman of Orthopaedic Surgery and director of the spine surgery division in the School of Medicine.

Dr. Choma Featured Profile

Research Interests

  • Aging spine
  • Intervertebral disc degeneration

Areas of Expertise

  • Adult spinal deformity
  • Degenerative spinal conditions
  • Spine Trauma

Awards & Honors

  • Alpha Omega Alpha, medical honor society inducted 1992
  • US Army, Europe Command, Flight Surgeon of the year, 1994
  • Named, “10 Spine Surgeon Leaders of Academic Medical Centers to Know,” by Becker’s Orthopaedic and Spine Review, Feb, 2011
  • Named, “20 Spine & Neurosurgeon Leaders at Large Academic Medical Centers,” by Becker’s Spine Review, Apr, 2012
  • Co- recipient, Louis A. Goldstein Award for best clinical poster presentation, Scoliosis Research Society, Lyon, France, 2013.
  • AOSpine Excellence in Education Award, North America Regional Faculty, Dec, 2014
  • Certificate of Recognition for an Entrepreneurial Spirit. University of Missouri, 2014.
  • Co-recipient, Vice Chancellor’s Award for UMHS Innovation and Improvement Sharing Days, 2014.


Selections from more than 50 peer-reviewed publications:

  • Goldstein CL, Pashuck TD, Ingalls KL, Billings LL, Agha MT, Drymalski MW, Choma TJ, Jeffries JT, James CR. Dispersal pattern of injectate after cervical epidural steroid injection evaluated with magnetic resonance imaging. Global Spine J. 2019. DOI: 10.1177/2192568218811141
  • Bateman AH, Larouche J, Goldstein CL, Sciubba DM, Choma TJ, Lawrence B, Cheng J, Fehlings MG, Paquette SJ, Yee AJM. The importance of determining trainee perspectives on procedural competencies during spine surgery clinical fellowship. Global Spine J. 2019;9(1):18-24.
  • Choma TJ. What’s new in spine surgery. J Bone Joint Surg Am. 2018;100(12):1071-1074.
  • Choma TJ, Mroz TE, Goldstein CL, Arnold P, Shamji MF. Emerging techniques in thoracic and lumbar spine surgery. Neurosurgery. 2017;80(3S):S55-S60.
  • Smith MJ, Choma TJ. Patient satisfaction in musculoskeletal medicine. Curr Rev Musculoskelet Med. 2017;10(2):207-211.
  • Stannard JT, Edamura K, Stoker AM, O’Connell GD, Kuroki K, Hung CT, Choma TJ, Jeffries JT, Reinsel T, Cook JL. Development of a whole organ culture for Intervertebral Disc Disease. J Orthop Translat (2016) 5, 1-8.
  • Choma TJ, Rechtine GR, McGuire RA, Brodke DS. Treating the aging spine. Instr Course Lect. 2016; 65:269-79.
  • Smith MJ, Reiter MJ, Crist BD, Schultz L, Choma TJ. Improving patient satisfaction through computer-based questionnaires. Orthopedics. 2016;39(1):e31-5.
  • Fehlings MG, Tetrault L, Nater A, Choma T, Harrop J, Mroz T, Santaguida C, Smith JS. The Aging of the global population: The changing epidemiology of disease and spinal disorders. Neurosurgery 77Suppl4:S1-5, Oct 2015.
  • Pfeiffer, F, Choma T, Kueny R. Finite element analysis of pedicle screw in artificial bone samples with and without supplemental cement augmentation. Comput Methods Biomech Biomed Engin. 2015;18(13):1459-1467.

View Full List of Publications