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Charles Branch, Jr., MD

Charles Branch, Jr., MD, an internationally recognized pioneer in spinal surgery, develops surgical techniques that transform the way clinicians perform spinal surgery. He works with industry partners to develop and commercialize numerous state-of-the-art medical devices.

Charles Branch, Jr., MD

About Charles Branch, Jr.

Charles Branch, Jr., MD, earned his medical degree from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School before completing a surgical internship at North Carolina Baptist Hospital in 1982. He also completed two residencies in neurological surgery from North Carolina Baptist Hospital and the University of California, San Francisco before joining the neurosurgery faculty of Wake Forest School of Medicine.

He specializes in posterior lumbar interbody fusion, degenerative spinal disorders and spinal and brain tumors, developing a reputation for ingenuity in spinal surgery and his specific area of expertise: spinal fusion.

Branch’s minimally invasive posterior interbody lumbar fusion technique has transformed the way that clinicians perform spinal fusions. The technique can be done more quickly and safely than standard spinal fusion surgery with minimal tissue damage and faster recovery for patients.

In addition to innovations in surgical techniques, Charles Branch has worked with industry leaders to commercialize numerous state-of-the-art medical devices. For example, he collaborated with Medtronic to develop minimally invasive devices for use in lumbar interbody fusion. His toolkit for interbody spine fusion and a minimally invasive quadrant retractor have become mainstays in Medtronic’s product lines and are now being used all over the world.

With 40 patents to his name and more than 40 articles published in peer-reviewed journals, Branch has achieved international recognition as a pioneer in spinal surgery.

Branch’s innovative thinking has also sparked several major developments within Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, including the development of the Stereotactic Radiosurgery program and bringing the Gamma Knife—a type of radiation therapy used to treat brain tumors—to Wake Forest Baptist, where it was the first of its kind in North Carolina. He also co-founded the Brain Tumor Center of Excellence in 2003 and the Childress Institute for Pediatric Trauma Research in 2008.


Charles Branch, Jr., MD, professor of neurosurgery, chairs the neurosurgery department at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center and specializes in:

  • Posterior lumbar interbody fusion
  • Degenerative spinal disorders
  • Spinal and brain tumors
  • Gamma Knife
  • Stereotactic procedures