Scott Leary, M.D.

Dr. Scott P. Leary is a spine fellowship trained neurosurgeon at the Senta Clinic. His clinical practice and research focuses on the comprehensive care of spinal disorders, including spinal stenosis, degenerative disc disease, spinal trauma, scoliosis, failed spine surgery syndrome, spinal tumors, and the evaluation of neck and back pain. He completed both neurosurgical spine training and an advanced orthopedic spine fellowship, a distinct combination that is unique in the San Diego medical community.

Dr. Leary was born in Vancouver and raised in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. He was awarded an academic scholarship to attend Brigham Young University where he graduated with honors. He obtained his medial degree from the prestigious Washington University in St. Louis, where his medical school class was ranked #1 in the nation. He completed neurosurgery training at the Los Angeles County – University of Southern California Medical Center in Los Angeles, California. During his training he concluded a fellowship in Stereotactic Radiosurgery under the guidance of Dr. Michael Apuzzo, one of the most respected and decorated neurosurgeons in the world today. Dr. Leary also spent a year as Clinical Instructor of Neurosurgery for the Los Angeles County Hospital, a level one trauma center.

Dr. Leary completed a complex spine fellowship with renowned orthopedic surgeon Dr. John Regan in Los Angeles. During his fellowship he gained expertise in minimally-invasive spine surgery, artificial disc replacement, endoscopic spine surgery, dynamic spinal stabilization, and complex spinal reconstructive procedures.

Accomplishments include publishing several articles in peer-reviewed journals, including three special articles that were featured on the cover of the international journal Neurosurgery. He also travels the country to educate other surgeons on the nuances of spinal instrumentation and reconstruction.

Maintaining his commitment to cutting edge innovation, Dr. Leary is active in clinical research and currently serves as the principal investigator for three national FDA clinical trials for the treatment of symptomatic degenerative disc disease and spinal stenosis.

Since joining the Senta Clinic, Dr. Leary has been honored as one of America’s Top Surgeons by the Consumers Research Council. He has been featured on television and in print as an expert on brain tumors and back pain, and for performing novel surgical procedures. He was honored as a finalist for the Health Care Champion Award for Innovation and Research in San Diego by the San Diego Business Journal.


Most recently Dr. Leary was selected to be on the cover of the 2009 Scripps Annual Report. The photo featured on the cover of the report was then chosen by Scripps Hospital for a marketing campaign that included more than 80 billboards throughout San Diego County, bus stop signs and internet banners. The story which appeared in the 2009 report went on to be highlighted in multiple newspaper articles, a radio ad and two morning shows; San Diego 6 Morning Show and KUSI Morning Show.


  • Cervical disc herniation
  • Thoracic disc herniation
  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Spinal fractures
  • Kyphosis
  • Non-malignant tumors
  • Malignancy
  • Spinal stenosis
  • Spondylolisthesis
  • Scoliosis


Dr. Leary is leading authority in the field of Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery (MISS), developing a number of new approaches that reduce patient recovery time and improve outcomes.


Dr. Leary is one of only a few in the world to utilize a new surgical technique called Video-Assisted Thoracic Spine Surgery (VATS), which involves the delicate maneuvering of surgical instruments through a few small incisions, aided by tiny cameras and a video monitor.

Instead of large three-inch incisions, Dr. Leary frequently uses endoscopic instruments with cameras and cutting tips to access the spine. He is one of a handful of spine surgeons in the nation able to perform surgery on the thoracic spine (middle back) with these scopes and instruments. By operating through a tiny half-inch incision, the minimally invasive technique lessens the risk of surgery and speeds patient recovery. Video-assisted thoracic spine surgery is available at Dr. Leary’s private practice.


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Surgery may relieve unrelenting pain from whiplash, other neck pain, and headaches. It may mean restoring your lower back so you can lift your kids again, or simply return to work.