Hollywood's Top Doctors: Best Orthopedic Surgeons in Los Angeles

The top M.D.s as vetted by leading medical-database authority Castle Connolly

A version of this story first appeared in the Sept. 19 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.

Hollywood is a town obsessed with its health — and its vanity. So it’s no surprise that everyone has an opinion on who the best doctors in Los Angeles are, from who can keep aging at bay for those all-important close-ups to whom to count on to cure life-threatening illnesses.

To identify the 484 elite physicians who qualified for The Hollywood Reporter’s inaugural list of the top docs in L.A., THR’s editors went two routes. First, THR partnered with the physician-led research team of Castle Connolly, the U.S.' preeminent medical-database authority, to identify the highest-rated practitioners in their specialties, all of whom are nominated by their peers in an extensive survey process of thousands of U.S. doctors each year. Castle Connolly screens these doctors’ medical educations, training, hospital appointments, disciplinary histories and much more. Doctors do not and cannot pay to be included.

THR then went further and surveyed 800 professionals in the film, television, movie and media fields to find out who among these doctors are the most beloved, trusted and go-to physicians in L.A. These 43 industry favorites include Morgan Freeman's holistic internist Dr. Soram Khalsa, Dr. Mehmet Oz's gastroenterologist Dr. Jonathan LaPook, Naomi Watts' NYC dermatologist David Colbert, KISS' Paul Stanley's ear, nose and throat doctor Joe Sugerman, Steve Tisch's favorite neurosurgeon and Dr. Neal ElAttrache, the orthopedist who healed Charlize Theron's herniated disc and Dr. Robert Kay, the surgeon who fixed Starz CEO Chris Albrecht's daughter Tess after a car accident.

More From THR's Top Doctors Issue:

Hollywood's Top Doctors Revealed: Exclusive Survey

See The Doctors With Their Famous Patients

Hollywood's Vaccine Wars: L.A.'s "Entitled" Westsiders Behind City's Epidemic

Hollywood's Biggest Anti-Vaccine Proponents

Hollywood Vaccination Fail: Why L.A. Schoolkids Are Getting Sick

How to Live Forever: The (Mad?) Science Hollywood Is Using to "Cure" Death

"I'm Going to Live Forever": Hollywood Elders' Best Quotes About Aging

Is Working in Hollywood Bad for Your Health?

L.A.'s Emergency Rooms, Rated

Meet the Real-Life McDreamy: The Doctor Behind 'Grey's Anatomy'

Orthopedic Surgery

Sonu S. Ahluwalia
Beverly Hills Orthopedic Group
120 S. Spalding Drive
Beverly Hills 90212
310-659-2910
Also: Cedars-Sinai

Robert M. Bernstein
Cedars-Sinai
444 San Vicente Blvd.
Los Angeles 90048
310-423-5224

Earl Warren Brien
Cedars-Sinai
8700 Beverly Blvd.
Los Angeles 90048
310-423-9887

Susan Bukata
UCLA Health System
1250 16th St.
Santa Monica 90404
310-319-1234

Lawrence D. Dorr
Keck Medicine of USC
1520 San Pablo St.
Los Angeles 90033
323-442-5762

INDUSTRY FAVORITE

Neal S. ElAttrache
Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic
6801 Park Terrace Drive
Los Angeles 90045
310-665-7200
Also: Keck Medical Center of USC

Seeing Ringo Starr throw up a peace sign is something everyone but the drummer himself has always taken for granted. "He couldn't get his arms over [his] head," says the orthopedic surgeon. "After I had taken care of him, he was able to perform again and do that magical sign that he does." Maybe it comes with the territory for a man whose brother-in-law is action star Sylvester Stallone, but Dr.ElAttrache has seen his fair share of torn shoulders, tendons and knees. Some patients, like Charlize Theron, are repeat customers: "When I had a terrible accident on a movie in Germany, herniating a disc in my neck," the actress tells THR, "I got right on a plane to see him. I have since taken many stumbles, and the time and care he has given my crazy, sporty family always moves me. It is truly special when something is broken in your body in a way that makes you feel like you will never be the same again, and someone comes along who not only fixes you up completely -- if not better than before -- but does it in a way that takes away all the fear and makes you feel like you are one of his own. That's when you know how priceless that relationship is."

Thomas J. Grogan
Pacific Coast Sports Medicine
11710 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles 90025
310-873-4414
Also: UCLA Medical Center

Eric E. Johnson
UCLA Health System
100 UCLA Medical Plaza
Los Angeles 90095
310-206-1169

Robert M. Kay
Children's Hospital Los Angeles
4650 Sunset Blvd.
Los Angeles 90027
323-361-2142

Jay R. Lieberman
Keck Medicine of USC
1520 San Pablo St.
Los Angeles 90033
323-442-5860

James V. Luck
403 W. Adams Blvd.
Los Angeles 90007
213-749-8255
Also: UCLA Medical Center

Bert R. Mandelbaum
Santa Monica Orthopaedic & Sports Medicine Group
2020 Santa Monica Blvd. Santa Monica 90404
310-829-2663
Also: Saint John's

Lawrence R. Menendez
Keck Medicine of USC
1520 San Pablo St.
Los Angeles 90033
323-442-5830

M. Ramin Modabber
Santa Monica Orthopaedic & Sports Medicine Group
2020 Santa Monica Blvd.Santa Monica 90404
310-829-2663
Also: Saint John's

Daniel A. Oakes
Keck Medicine of USC
1520 San Pablo St.
Los Angeles 90033
323-442-5860

William L. Oppenheim
UCLA Health System
1225 15th St.
Santa Monica 90404
310-319-1234

INDUSTRY FAVORITE

Scott E. Powell
Stetson Powell
191 S. Buena Vista St.
Burbank 91505
818-848-3030
Also: Providence Saint Joseph; Keck Medical Center of USC

It was Caddyshack that spurred the transition from Sha Na Na singer to orthopedic surgeon for Dr. Powell. On set with Bill Murray and Rodney Dangerfield was veteran actor Henry Wilcoxon, who "stood up at lunch and announced, 'My God, this is the most fun I've ever had on a movie set in my life,' " recalls Powell. "I thought, 'Well, I may as well figure out something else to do' " since he had apparently already achieved a career apex. Powell eventually ended up with an M.D. from Columbia University, but his background in show business helps, as the Keck clinical professor of orthopedic surgery sees a lot of production crew who work below the line. "I see how hardworking people are in Hollywood when they've done 16-hour days and worked on a show that's for four months, and they hurt their shoulder at the beginning of it. So they wind up working through a lot of pain," he notes. But the past doesn't always stay tucked away. After The Office's David Koechner had a successful surgery on his shoulder, he mentioned Powell during an appearance on The Tonight Show With Jay Leno. Cued: a Sha Na Na clip.

Thomas P. Schmalzried
The Joint Replacement Institute
2200 W. 3rd St.
Los Angeles 90057
213-484-7600
Also: St. Vincent's

INDUSTRY FAVORITE

William B. Stetson
Stetson Powell
191 S. Buena Vista St.
Burbank 91505
818-848-3030
Also: Glendale Adventist

Olympic athletes spend their lives fearing the moment a knee pops or shoulder cracks. When that happens, they go to Dr. Stetson, who treats the U.S. men's and women's volleyball teams as well as musicians and stuntmen. During the women's gold medal match at the 2012 Olympics, Stetson saw his work in action. "I felt, 'Wow, this is really something,' " he says. "How many millions of people are seeing this? I am so lucky to be here." His patients feel lucky, too. "What's great about Stetson is that he's an ex-volleyball player and athlete," says Clay Stanley, who competed in his third Olympics in 2012 after a knee surgery performed by Stetson. "I just got married, and he was in my wedding. He brings such positive energy."

Bert J. Thomas
UCLA Health System
1250 16th St.
Santa Monica 90404
424-259-9882

David B. Thordarson
Cedars-Sinai, Orthopaedic
444 S. San Vicente Blvd.
Los Angeles 90048
800-233-2771

Jeffrey C. Wang
Keck Medicine of USC
1520 San Pablo St.
Los Angeles 90033
323-442-5565

Robert G. Watkins
Watkins Spine
4640 Admiralty Way
Marina del Rey 90292
310-448-7890
Also: Marina Del Rey Hospital

Castle Connolly Medical Ltd. is a healthcare research and information company founded in 1991 by a former medical college board chairman and president to help guide consumers to America's top doctors and top hospitals. Castle Connolly's established survey and research process, under the direction of an MD, involves many tens of thousands of physicians as well as academic medical centers, specialty hospitals and regional and community hospitals all across the nation. leadership of leading hospitals.

Castle Connolly's physician-led team of researchers follows a rigorous screening process to select top doctors on both the national and regional levels. Its online nominations process — located at www.castleconnolly.com/nominations — is open to all licensed physicians in America who are able to nominate physicians in any medical specialty and in any part of the country, as well as indicate whether the nominated physicians is, in their opinion, among the best in their region in their medical specialty or among the best in the nation in their medical specialty. Careful screening of doctors' educational and professional experience is essential before final selection is made among those physicians most highly regarded by their peers. The result - we identify the top doctors in America and provide you, the consumer, with detailed information about their education, training and special expertise in our paperback guides, national and regional magazine “Top Doctors” features and online directories.

Doctors do not and cannot pay to be selected and profiled as Castle Connolly Top Doctors

Physicians selected for inclusion in this magazine's "Top Doctors" feature may also appear as Regional Top Doctors online at www.castleconnolly.com, or in one of Castle Connolly's Top Doctors™ guides, such as America's Top Doctors® or America's Top Doctors® for Cancer.

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