Dr. Aaron G. Filler, MD PhD JD FRCS

Medical Director, Institute for Nerve Medicine, Santa Monica, California

Meet Dr. Filler

A globally recognized expert in the treatment of peripheral nerve disorders and the development of nerve imaging technology

Dr. Aaron Filler is the world’s leading expert in treatment of nerve pain. He has revolutionized nerve-pain treatment by inventing several new technologies. One such technology, MR Neurography, enables doctors to use an MRI scanner to examine nerves, previously a difficult-to-impossible tissue to visualize with MR imaging. Dr. Filler’s research in axonal transport is leading to a whole new generation of advanced pain medications. He has developed many new “minimal access” surgery methods that allow him to treat complex nerve problems with small outpatient surgeries. He has also pioneered the use of the Open MRI scanner to do surgeries and other therapies with the ultra-high precision and safety of the magnetic resonance imaging.

At Dr. Filler’s Institute for Nerve Medicine in Santa Monica, California, the key to success remains a very traditional endeavor: listening to the patient and doing a thorough and expert neurological examination. Dr. Filler typically spends more than an hour with each new patient. The results of the initial examination are then strengthened and perfected with application of advanced technology available nowhere else in the world.

Dr. Aaron Filler combines three key components in his treatment of each patient:

  • Compassionate personal attention,
  • Expert medical skills, and
  • The best technology in the world

He combines these components to turn insoluble pain problems into specific treatable diagnoses. Prior to coming to the Institute for Nerve Medicine, many of Dr. Filler’s patients have seen a dozen doctors (or more), experienced failed surgeries, and have even had their very pain questioned. Time and again, Dr. Filler demonstrates that in many of these cases the problem is the doctor and not the patient. A cure is in reach when the best available medical care is brought to bear.

Dr. Filler has an MD from the University of Chicago, a PhD from Harvard University, and is also a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons in England. His medical training included four years of medical school, eight years of neurosurgical training at one of the leading neurosurgery programs in the US, an additional one-year fellowship in neuroimaging at the University of London, another year of training in complex spinal surgery at UCLA and a fellowship in peripheral nerve surgery with Dr. David Kline in New Orleans. He is the inventor on ten major patents, has published more than twenty prominent scientific publications, and has done more than a hundred presentations at scientific and medical meetings. He is also the author of Do You Really Need Back Surgery? from Oxford University Press, a well-received 300-page book for the general public. He enjoys medical staff privileges at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

Dr. Aaron Filler, MD PhD FRCS links


Peripheral Nerve Surgery

Thoracic Outlet Syndrome

Piriformis Syndrome

Nerve Entrapment Syndromes

Brachial Plexus Disorders

Spinal Neurosurgery

Repair of Failed Spinal Surgeries

Cervical Artifical Disk Replacement

Cervical and Lumbar Spine Fusions

Herniated Disks

Image Guided Surgery

Cranial Surgery for Pain Disorders

Microvascular Decompression

Trigeminal Neuralgia


Sub-Occipital Decompression for Arnold-Chiari Malformations

Foramen Magnum Syndrome


BA, University of Chicago

MA, University of Chicago

PhD, Harvard University

MD, University of Chicago

Residency, University of Washington, Seattle

Spine Fellowship, UCLA

Peripheral Nerve Surgery Fellowship, Louisiana State University

JD, Concord School of Law, Kaplan University


Faculty Positions

University of London, UK

University of Washington, Seattle

UCLA, Los Angeles

Adminstrative Positions

Medical Staff,
Cedars Sinai Medical Center

Director, Peripheral Nerve Program, Century City Hospital 2001-2003

Chief of Clinical Services, Neurography Institute

Co-Director Peripheral Nerve Surgery Program, UCLA 1996 – 2001

Director, UCLA Obstetrical Brachial Plexus Program 1999-2001

Associate Director, UCLA Comprehensive Spine Center 1996-2001

Visiting Professorships

University of London: Atkinson Morley’s Hospital, Department of Neurosurgery, October, 1997

Harvard University, Beth Israel/Deaconess Hospital, Department of Anesthesia, November 1999

Read Dr. Filler’s Best-Selling Book

For the half million people who undergo back surgery each year, and the additional million who are seriously contemplating it, Do You Really Need Back Surgery? is a godsend–an informed, reliable guide to when you should consider surgery and when you should not.

Written by an internationally recognized expert in nerve and spinal surgery, Dr. Aaron G. Filler, MD PhD JD FRCS, this highly readable guide covers everything back patients need to know to make informed decisions about their treatment. Featuring 115 illustrations, the book discusses the details of spinal anatomy; the difference between acute, chronic, and recurring pain; shows how to keep the spine healthy; and explains such terms as spurs, stenosis, and slippage. It reveals what clues your physician uses to predict whether a given type of pain is likely to go away with rest and exercise, or may become an emergency. Dr. Filler discusses the risks of surgery, the decisions you may be faced with and what options you have, and your expectations for recovery. He provides detailed explanations of the wide array of spinal injections and surgeries, including discectomies and fusions, as well as innovative procedures such as electrothermic and laser techniques and artificial disks. He explains the various medical imaging and diagnostic tests available and even covers the complexities of health insurance.

The new and extensively revised Second Edition now covers dozens of advanced techniques in spinal diagnostics and treatment as well as advances in new pain medications and new surgeries that minimize recovery time and achieve better outcomes. A new section on the benefits and risks of a wide array of herbal medicines has been added. Finally, the book features two entirely new chapters that describe a series of different nerve entrapment syndromes that can cause headache, neck, shoulder, and arm pain as well as causing buttock and leg pain — but are not caused by spine problems.

Take control today

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    Insurance and Payment Options

    Questions about what insurance plans the Institute for Nerve Medicine accepts?

    We accept all insurance plans (including PPO, POS, etc.) that include out-of-network benefits.

    We have opted out of Medicare.

    We do not insurance-bill any worker’s compensation plan.

    We provide interest-free monthly payment plans for patients with insurance plans that do not fully cover costs of out-of-network and specialty medical services.

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    We work with patients of every budget level and want all patients to have access to the best expert care in this field. Accordingly, billing services are offered as a courtesy to all patients.

    More questions? Call us at 310-314-6410.