Atman Desai, MD, FAANS, FACS, is a Associate Professor of Neurosurgery and Director of Neurosurgical Spine Oncology at Stanford University. Dr. Desai received his medical degree from the University of Cambridge. He completed his residency in Neurological Surgery at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center and completed a further fellowship in Spinal Oncology and Complex Spinal Reconstruction at Johns Hopkins Hospital. His clinical practice focuses on the surgical treatment of spine and spinal cord tumors. His research interests include the study and development of artificial intelligence and augmented reality in spine surgery, and the use of smartphone and wearable technology to accurately measure spine health.

Professional Summary

Professional Education
  • Fellowship: Johns Hopkins Neurosurgery Spine Fellowship (2014) MD
  • Residency: Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center Neurosurgery Residency (2013) NH
  • Internship: Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center Neurosurgery Residency (2007) NH
  • Board Certification, American Board of Neurological Surgery (2018)
  • Medical Education: University of Cambridge School of Clinical Medicine (2005) England
  • MA, University of Cambridge (2006)
  • BA, University of Cambridge (2002)

Honors & Awards
  • Alpha Omega Alpha, Dartmouth College
  • Henry Roy Dean Award, University of Cambridge
  • NREF Post-Residency Clinical Fellowship Award, Neurosurgery Research and Education Foundation

Administrative Appointments
  • Co-Director, Neurosurgery Quality Council, STANFORD UNIVERSITY (2018 - Present)
  • Director of Neurosurgical Spine Oncology, Stanford University (2015 - Present)
  • Neurosurgery WellMD Director, Stanford School of Medicine (2020 - Present)


Practice Locations

Neurological Spine Disorders Clinic Palo Alto, CA
Palo Alto, CA

213 Quarry Road

Palo Alto , CA 94304

(650) 723-6469

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Stanford Neuroscience Health Center Stanford, CA
Stanford, CA

213 Quarry Road

Stanford , CA 94305

(650) 723-6469

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Neurosurgery Program Palo Alto, CA
Palo Alto, CA

CyberKnife Program at the Neuroscience Health Center Palo Alto, CA
Palo Alto, CA

213 Quarry Road

Palo Alto , CA 94304

(650) 725-0084

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Patient Ratings

(135 Ratings)

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Patient Reviews

(191 reviews)

Nice kind somewhat helpful
Dr. Desai is very personable and makes communicating about health issues very comfortable. He also is extremely skilled and has solved a serious back problem for me. I am very happy with my results and his entire team are awesome. I’m very grateful.
Both the NP and doctor are very compassionate and thorough in addressing my problems.
Good bedside manners, very good reputation
Dr. Desai is very knowledgeable in his field. He takes one step at a time, ruling out problems. I like that he is in no rush for surgery until we tried other measures first.
Excellent Doctor and great service.
Dr. Desai is very patient. He answered all questions about my condition and was willing to considered suggestions made by myself or my daughter. I am very happy with the end result.
I found the interaction to be extremely pleasant and it gave me enough confidence to immediately decide that his treatment plan was the way to go. He is very engaging, listened to everything that I said, had very good answers for all of my questions and gave very good reasons for his plan. It probably helped him that I had prepared my questions, and knew what to ask, so he could interact with me in a more detailed manner.
Professional, knowledgeable and nice. Answered all my questions and made me comfortable knowing he would be the surgeon. I will be in good hands when it comes time for surgery.
Dr Desai is Highly recommended. He is very patient and listens well to his patients needs.
Atman Desai is a wonderful Dr. so knowledgeable and patient. He is an excellent surgeon.
Doctor Desai is excellent in communicating the information I needed in a very clear and concise way. He listens well and gives practical advise on treatment for my specific medical condition.
He explained it very well.
Dr. Desai was attentive to questions and concerns I had, as he has always been during all appointments with him. I appreciate the time he spends answering my questions and concerns. I am very happy with Dr. Desai!
We met him in person a couple of months ago and was very nice and professional.
I received excellent, caring attention at my appointment
Extremely happy
Dr Desai is caring and a great listener. He is thorough in conveying his thoughts about what may be going on and possibilities of plans for the future.
He has an excellent ability to communicate with patients. Given the COVID situation he and his staff should be considered heroic. I can't imagine the pressure. I have suffered from spinal stenosis for six years. I am an athletic person who became an invalid. He has given me my life back. His skill has provided me and my wife an entire new window of hiking, biking, skiing and simply STANDING and talking with people. Thank you, thank you, thank you Dr Desai and staff. I hope that this message is passed on to all the OR group, residents, nurses and assistants. "For all you do, this new life is because of you!"
Always friendly and caring . Explains any questions .
He is best of all time.
Dr. Desai was very informative and took time to explain things to me. I did not feel he was rushing through my appointment with him.
I like dealing with Dr DESAI, had a good meeting.
Nice and knowledgeable doctor have liked him from the beginning. I would recommend him.
My surgeon and Hospital stay were both excellent.
He’s very informative and answered all my questions
Excellent Doctor
Excellent professional staff
Thank you dr Desai After many many years suffering from back pain finally one doctor spoke the truth about my back and what I need to do (surgery) made me so happy hope I will never use walker again
He is very compassionate and explained the surgery very well! He made me understand why my surgery had to be pushed back!
Very happy with my results and the explanation of findings.
Really enjoyed my conversation with Dr Desai
Very engaging, personable, confident and knowledgeable. Appreciated his time and patience.
I was very happy
He is so patient, knowledgeable, and smart.
He is great !!
The doctor is a very skilled doctor. He performed my surgery with great skill and did so with little complications. I feel very confident in his knowledge, skills, and ability to explain the procedure beforehand and questions during checkups. He also is a very nice and caring person. I would recommend him to anyone having back problems. Also his staff is efficient and helpful besides making patient feel at ease. Love them all.
Very efficient
I am extremely grateful for Dr Desai taking on my complicated spinal issues, and even more so for my ability to once again be able to walk! Thank you!!!!
Just want to thank Dr. Desai for his attentiveness and willingness to spend time exploring a ride range of health and surgery-related topics. And of course a thanks to Dr. Desai for his excellent skills and care by the team
I am very comfortable with Dr Desai medical plans and trust his opinions.
Dr Desai takes the time to explain the medical problem and address my concerns.
Excellent visit. Very helpful in clarifying questions I had
Very clear in explaing my problem very courteous!
I am very pleased with Dr.Atman Desai. He shows he cares and I believe he does his best as a surgeon.
Excellent Dr I am super glad he is my Dr
Dr was very helpful. He answered all my questions perfectly.
Extremely satisfied with results
Excellently friendly manner and explores all possibilities
He listens with kindness .
Very informative
I have extreme confidence in Dr Desai. He always takes the time to listen and respond. He never gives me the impression that he is rushed and addresses all my issues.
I am so pleased that Dr. Atman Desai was my Surgent. I felt very confident about him doing my surgery and I am not disappointed. Meeting him he made me feel very comfortable, he was very patient with me.and explained everything so I would understand . He shows how much he cares and that means a lot. I may need more surgery in the near future and I will definitely want Dr. Desai to do my surgery. He’s a great doctor and I don’t see where he can make any improvements. Thank You Stanford for Dr. Desai
First impression: I think he's excellent... compassionate, easy to speak with & thorough. I'm looking forward to my next appointment.
I feel luxky to be in his care!
Very personable. Dr. Desai gives the time to listen and answer each question.
Dr. Desai is awesome. He's friendly, very thorough with his explanations and an amazing surgeon. I'm grateful.
excellent bedside manner. In other words he treated me with respect at all times and he’s a good listener and answered my questions with respect I did not talk down to me.
Thanks,, very informative visit
Very professional, explained my condition in layman’s terms which made it very easy to understand. Highly recommend this doctor.
Dr. Desai explained the issue with my lower back clearly. He was very patient with my questions. Highly recommend this doctor.
Thank you Dr. Desai.
Dr. Desai is wonderful in listening and caring about your health issues.
Dr. Desai is one of the best doctors I've ever experienced.
Explained everything regarding the problem & surgery. Answered all our questions.
Even though he was running late, Dr. Desai took his time with me answering all my questions. He never made like he was needing to get to his next patient!
I saw Dr. Desai, a pre-op NP and a pre-anesthesia NP in the same day. I'm not certain which one that this survey is in regards to. However, I can tell you that all 3 were phenomenal. I have every faith that they will take excellent care of me, my surgery will go well, and they will make sure that my recovery is uneventful. In my mind that is perfect. And not only that but they were so sweet and so pleasant and made a rough day OK.
good experience
Very nice and caring doctor.
Dr. A. Desai is best doctor I have. He has all qualities of best physician. Thank you for your care. Take care & be safe.
Explained everything so that I understood what he was talking about.
Dr. Desai shared his knowledge and expertise. I was very grateful for the outcome & success of my surgery!
Dr. Desai took the time to explain everything in terms my husband and I could easily understand. During my very 1st visit, he was very confident, and put me and my family at ease. Dr. Desai and his team are highly knowledgeable. I left his office with no guarantees; yet, I was full of hope. He took the time to listen and explain the medical process for my health condition. Before my surgery, I met each member of the Stanford team that was in the operating room. The team was friendly, passionate about helping others, and confident. It put me at ease. The Stanford Hospital team (who was still learning where everything was located) was phenomenal!! You provided the best patient care I've ever experience, from beginning to end. I can't "thank you" enough. THANK YOU!!
Thanks again.
Dr. Desai genuinely concerned in my issue and ensure that we obtained the best outcome.
I am so happy with Dr. Desai and the care he and most of his staff have provided. I'm thankful my health insurance has allowed me to use Stanford for not one but two major surgeries, and both have gone beautifully. Dr. Desai is a kind and extremely excellent surgeon, and I have already recommended him to others.
Very knowledgeable
Dr Desai is really good at listening to my concerns and then addressing them.
Dr. Desai is exceptional. He is highly skilled and wonderful at treating and caring for his patients. His surgery allowed me to regain my ability to walk when a non-Stanford doctor suggested I accept being in a wheelchair. I will be forever grateful to Dr. Desai & his staff at Stanford. Stanford is amazing, & Stanford is lucky to have Dr. Desai!
Dr. Desai is an excellent surgeon, doctor, and caring individual. He makes sure you understand. I would recommend him and his NP Soik-Hain Tay-Kelley, they are very caring and loving, respectful, and friendly.
Dr. gave me a clean understanding of my condition and steps needed in the future to help improve it.
My provider are all very good, professional, A1 in service provided. Esp. Dr. Desai.Kepp up the good work and thank you for your care. Nurse Jhoeland Maypha and Joy Sabing,NP are good caregivers too.
Explained use of some medicines side effects that I was unaware of from a former physician who prescribed it.
Dr. was focused and listened to my concerns & more than that gave me confidence in the correctness of the info he provided.
Dr. Desai is an excellent provider and was right up-front with me, which is what I most valued during my visit. He explained everything going on with me in detail and stated clearly the path I should follow in improving my health. Thank you, Dr. Desai. You're the best.
Dr. Desai explained procedure very well.
Dr. Atman Desai is amazing! Compassionate and Competent is the highest compliment for a physician and Dr. Desai is an excellent embodiment of these qualities!
The doctor and staff are always kind and caring with every Stanford appointments.
all experiences very good, thus far
Dr. Desai is amazing! He acts like he genuinely cares and wants to figure out what is going on and how to fix it!
I was seen by a PA who did a quick physical assessment, and she treated me with respect and professionalism. I was then seen by my doctor (Dr. Atman Desai) who did a FANTASTIC job of explaining to me what he felt I needed done for my back (in terms of surgery this time). He used the spine model, and let me interact with something tactile so that I could understand where the affected discs/vertebrae were. He also showed me on the internet some of the hardware examples that they use for the surgery. Dr. Desai, as he was the last time I saw him in 2017, was very kind, professional, understanding, and I felt he had my best interest in mind. I feel completely comfortable having him do my upcoming spinal fusion surgery. The one thing we didn't discuss was the medications aspect (i.e. pain medications after surgery or in the interim while I wait for surgery).
Dr. Desai was very caring. Listened to my medical problems and called about the x-ray results the same day -
Quite good,
Very happy to have found Stamford Health Care.
Well done again.
Dr. Altman Desai is such a wonderful, caring Doctor! I highly recommend him!!!
Dr. Desai is an amazing doctor. I am incredibly grateful to him for performing my spine surgery and providing me the opportunity to recover from a bacterial infection that had attacked my spine. Stanford is lucky to have him, but patients are even more lucky to have him perform a surgery and provide care! The level of expertise and care at Stanford is amazing, and I am changing my insurance to be able to obtain future care at Stanford, in-network, based on the truly incredible experience I have had with Dr. Desai and his team. Words truly cannot express the level of gratitude I feel, but I hope that this provides an indication of how very grateful I am to Dr. Desai and his team at Stanford!
Very happy.
Nurse practitioner and Dr. Desai were excellent in providing my care.
I have the highest regard and respect for Dr. Desai. He is my all time favorite doctor without exception. I trust him completely.
Dr. Desai and both nurse practitioners who worked with me calmed my fears with detailed answers and clear dedication to making me comfortable. Best medical experience I've ever had, and I'm old.
Good care provider.
Dr. explained EVERYTHING VERY thorough. He also let me know that my doctor should have listened to my concerns. I know he truly cares for his patients.
Great experience with care provider
Wonderful MD. Kind, patience.
excellent, kept his promise, he did it and I am realved from my sickness.
I have never been more satisfied with a Doctor than I was with the Doctor who came into the room and examined me and explained everything so I could understand. He was outstanding and very through.
Dr. Desai is always very easy to sommunicate with.
I love my doctor!
Dr. Desai is brilliant, compassionate, kind, patient, understanding and clearly at the top of his profession. I trust him completely. He is my favorite doctor in a long lifetime. I feel immediately better after a visit with him.
very good
We never felt rushed or like a number. Our concerns were anticipated and addressed.
I have recommended Stanford to several people
The doctor was great but support staff not so much. They ran the operation like a mill instead of a top rate hospital. The only one that showed concern was the doctor. I had my urgent surgery rescheduled 3 times to the point where I had to go to UCSF.
For over two months I've had one "cure" provided and it had no impact. Everything else )appointments) have been for tests.
Dr. Desai was very kind and clearly communicated the information regarding my current health concerns and answered all my questions thoughtfully. His recommendations were helpful and gave me a sense of confidence and direction in my way forward.
I am very satisfied with my current provider
My experience is always good w/Dr. Desai and his staff. They are all very caring & thoughtful.
all good
Dr. Desai, AWESOME.
Dr. DeSai is very compassionate, knowledgeable yet unassuming. He listened to my concerns & questions & fully explained.
He was excellent in every way!
I had a great experience with Dr. Desai. The operation was very successful and Dr. Desai is a very kind and caring person.
I am extremely grateful to be under the care of Dr. Desai. My confidence in him made a scary diagnosis a lot easier to deal with.
I would recommend any of my Doctors to anybody.
Very professional services, high quality patient care.
Very thoughtful answers to my questions, full explanation of procedure; forthright about recovery process--length of time etc
Dr. Atman Desai is an excellent doctor. He is knowledgeable, kind and caring, and he took time to explain my condition in a manner that I understood.
Outstanding team of professionals
I have had a very wonderful experience with the care I have received from Su na Park and Dr Desai. I have already recommended him to others.
I felt comfortable, not rushed thank you, Dr. Desai and Suna Park for your very personal concern.
This is the first place I have been that listen to me and understands what I have thank you -
My doctor/surgeon is the very best. I have complete confidence in his care. The outcome of my surgeries has been excellent.
All the time, thanks.
Great team!!!
excellent communication and professionalism. Paid attention to my concerns and I felt Dr. Desai was attentive to my condition and cared about me as a patient. He made sure to provide me with all options of follow up care.
I tell everyone I see that Stanford did, such a good job!
We appreciated the kind & patient approach that all of the team had during our visits. Dr. Desai & Suna Park were excellent. We appreciated not being pressured into a decision.
Dr. DeSai is a superior provider
Dr. Desai is an outstanding doctor and wonderful person!
Both Dr. Desai and NP Park were excellent in their diagnosis and treatment explanations of options.
The doctors are excellent. They really take the time to consult with you and don't make you feel rushed or uncomfortable. They try to answer all your questions. Awesome job Stanford! Truly the way all patients would like to be treated by their perspective healthcare providers.
Dr. Desai is outstanding in every way. I never feel rushed during my visits and he has always reviewed my file and is ready to discuss my progress. He listens carefully to every question and provides complete and easy to understand answers. I do not know how he can teach, perform surgeries, meet with patients, publish and still treat patients as if they are the most important part of his day--he is amazing!
Class act all the way.
once the information was discussed, I felt quite informed about the problem, course of action to be taken and comfortable in a potential decision I am going to make
Dr. Desai takes plenty of time answering questions and making sure you feel comfortable with the information. I never feel rushed here, which is impressive considering how busy the clinic is.
Dr. Atman Desai is an excellent physician. He is very kind, caring, compassionate, concerned and professional. He spent a lot of time discussing my problems with me, answering my questions and addressing my concerns and fears.
Dr. Desai did not seem to be fully engaged with me, seemed to be pre-occupied and did not provide me with understandable information on expectations going forward and I left with a feeling of concern as to what I should be doing as we "wait and see" For Pain management Dr. Leong was terrific. I was not informed that a fellow to Dr. Kao would be doing the proceedure again not enough information before and after epidural
Dr. Desai is very helpful, informative, & presents treatment options clearly. He has been great with the execution of treatment as well. My surgery was successful & recovery was as expected.
Extremely professional, polite, concerned, and informative.
provider wasn't concerned about who will take care of me on the following steps, as he referred me to clinics I was already been referred lack of understanding my situation . no follow up for prescription refill.
I felt my condition was well thought out and what I was to do was best.
Very satisfied with care.
Didn't like the 3 month wait until surgery, since surgery is needed.
I would NOT recommend this doctor to anyone. He did not show concern or take take the time to full explain to me my condition. Stanford has a name but they need to back it up with more than just a name.
I had many questions and he was very patient with me.
I feel secure & with confidence.
Already have recommended Dr. to others. Have great confidence in Dr. Desai.
The reason I marked fair for follow up care is because I wasn't given instructions on follow up after my physical therapy is complete. I am not sure if I go back to Stanford or just call. My PT does not automatically send information and keeps asking when I go back or if I will have more PT appts.
I have every confidence in Dr. Desai and Stephanie. I feel I am receiving exceptional care.
All very good.
Excellent experience!!
Felt like I was bothering/taking up his time (rushed).
Great job, keep it up!
He is a very good listener.
He was very kind and explained things very well. The NP was also very helpful and kind.
Care provider not able to provide information other care providers did provide at later appointment referral.
Dr. Desai Rocks! He is an excellent surgeon and care provider (in office consult). He really did a great suture and is very compassionate.
I have had several conditions that have caused me a great deal of discomfort for several years. Thus far I do not feel that I have had adequate answers as to the cause. I would like to what is causing my symptoms, the prognosis, a treatment plan.
Very knowledgeable and gave good advice.
Incredible neurosurgeon
Dr. Atman Desai is excellent. The best!
vary nice
Excellent care.
not the surgeon i wanted to see, but he's very good, but i would have preferred to see someone with considerable experience in c-spine decompression surgery
None - only good exper.
She is a very good provider, she know her job well, she is excellent provider.
A very good experience.

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