Minimally Invasive Spine Centers Of Excellence

Meet The San Diego Team

Lead by board-certified orthopedic spine surgeon, Dr. Choll Kim, the San Diego Office offers a personalized experience for the evaluation and treatment of your spine.  There are no phone trees and a live person answers when you call.

Laser Endoscopic Spine Surgery (LESS)

Laser endoscopic spine surgery (LESS) is a revolutionary minimally invasive procedure for the effective treatment of disc herniations, radiculopathy, and sciatica. This is a same-day procedure with little to no recovery time.

Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery (MIS)

• What is MIS?
• What types of problems are treated?
• What surgery options are there?
• What does it mean to be a Center of Excellence (MIS-COE)?

Latest News From Dr. Kim's Office

Check back here for more info on behind-the-scenes, video testimonials, recovery, and more

Back Pain, Back Surgery, And The LESS Procedure With Dr. Choll Kim
- Natalie Jill

Listen to the podcast below!

Dustin S.
Dustin S.
Procedure: Left L4-5 Laser Endoscopic Spine Surgery (LESS)
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I could not be more satisfied with the results of my surgery. After doing research and meeting with several surgeons, I knew I was in good hands when I met Dr. Kim. I could sense his passion for what he does right away. 

On the day of my procedure, I was a bit nervous about the amount of pain I would have during my recovery. Much to my surprise, I never felt pain at any time during my recovery. I expected to at least have pain around the incision... but nothing.  

I hadn't realized how much pain I had endured over the years until it was finally gone. A day after surgery, Dr. Kim texted me to see how I was doing. I have never had a doctor personally follow up with me the day after surgery and give me a direct line to contact them should I need anything. 

I have and will continue to recommend Dr. Kim to anyone who suffers from back or neck pain!”
Jeanne J.
Jeanne J.
Procedure: Right L4-5 MIS TLIF
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I am not sure where to begin-I suffered for over a year and a half with severe back pain. 

I had several Epidurals - which worked for a short while and then things just got worse and worse.  I was in so much pain day and night and then my friend recommend I call and get a phone diagnosis with Dr. Choll Kim. 

Besides being “over the top qualified” he was so reassuring over the phone and he felt he could really help me.  Following our phone call - I went to see him and was immediately ready to do the surgery - I did not feel like I was a number - he was so gracious and reassuring - even though he said I wouldn’t like him for the first 3 months. 

It has been 6 months now and there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think of him and what he did for me - no pain - I have my life and smile back.  He is the best!!!!”
Cathleen F.
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I'm an X-ray tech and I have worked with Doctors for over 30 years. To me personality and ability are synergistic for both doctors and their patients.

When I needed back surgery Dr. Kim was recommended by one of the techs I work with, she said that all his patients loved him and his staff. Dr. Kim and his staff held my hand through every step of the process. I was treated with respect, I had the procedure explained to me, I was made to feel calm and relaxed. Dr. Choll Kim's personality is infectious and spreads warmth and confidence throughout the office. I never had to wait long for an appointment and his staff is without reproach. Especially Josh, always friendly and prompt to answer emails or complete disability or work forms.

After a few months of recovery and rehabilitation My back is pain free. I'm not going to lie, recovery's rough, but in two weeks I'll be able to ride my horse again. I am able to pick up my grand babies. Thank you Spine Institute of San Diego!
Daniel F.
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I had been experiencing minimal sleep due to repeated leg spasms, plus intolerable back pain with awful burning sensation extending down my right leg in addition to losing stability and motor coordination in my right foot (drop foot).

Having reached my maximum tolerance, I went to Dr Choll Kim for resolution of these on-going symptoms which were stemming from, as he detected, the L4-5 Spondylolisthesis and severe Stenosis.

Seven days post-op, I have obtained substantial relief from those horrendous symptoms. This is much more benefit than I ever would have anticipated. Dr Choll Kim and his staff were so welcoming, helpful, courteous, professional and most personable. (Too bad he doesn’t do dental work too?)

I thank you Dr Choll Kim and your marvelous staff for my dramatic positive outcome and my new outlook each morning when I awake from a decent night sleep.
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In 2012, Dr. Kim treated me for severe pain in both my legs due to bulging L3-L4, L4-L5, and L5-S1 discs with moderate bilateral neuroforaminal narrowing and a small posterior annular tear in one of the discs.

I had sciatica pain for years, but it had become debilitating in 2012.

Dr. Kim performed a minimally invasive discectomy on my L5-S1 disc, which eliminated the pain.

It's been over 4 years since the surgery and I still have no pain.

I highly recommend Dr. Kim.
Rossana K.
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About 3 months ago, Dr Kim performed a double spinal fusion surgery, L3-L5. I went from not being able to stand up for more than 5 minutes to walking as much as I want, pain free and numbness free. I feel like I finally have my life back. The surgery recovery was absolutely amazing. I was home the same day after a 6 hour surgery. I was able to walk soon after I woke up from anesthesia, a prerequisite for release. This was a minimally invasive surgery and therefore the length of recovery has been a A LOT shorter than traditional surgery. I strongly recommend Dr Kim and his staff. The confidence, professionalism, knowledge and finally compassion make Dr. Kim an amazing doctor. I am so incredibly thankful to him: I am back at doing Zumba, dancing, and hiking. All in 3 months after surgery!!!!! If you, like me, are scared of having spine surgery because you are afraid that you will be stuck in bed for months....well, Dr. Choll Kim is the surgeon to go for.

If I had 100 stars to rate this surgeon and the whole staff, I would use them all!!

Thank you Dr Kim for giving me my life back!
Mike B.
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I highly recommend Dr Kim if you're looking to chose a spine surgeon.

Just celebrated my 70th birthday and 1 year post surgery totally pain free. Diagnosed with grade 1 spondylolisthesis at L4-L5 with severe stenosis. Had 6 ESI's over a period of 2 years before finally deciding on surgery.

Dr Kim performed a 6 hour 2 level MIS TLIF at L4-S1.

I can't say enough good things about Dr Kim, his staff, my experience at Alvarado Hospital, and my follow up care. My recovery was swift. I feel both gratitude and fortunate that I'm able once again to walk/hike, bike, golf, bowl, ski and most of all, live pain free.

I would also recommend checking out Dr Kim's YouTube surgical videos. They reflect a highly skilled state of the art surgeon with a friendly self confident attitude.

Thank you Dr Kim!
Ann B.
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I had an outstanding outcome due to Dr. Choll Kim's expertise and personalized approach to resolving the onset of crippling spinal stenosis and complications due to a compressed lower spine from an old injury decades earlier.

Although I was scared, I trusted Dr. Kim to treat me a carefully as he would his own mother. I'm glad I went forward with the reconstruction of my lower spine providing me with lasting relief from stenosis and compression of my lower spine.

Thank you! Dr. Kim.

About Choll Kim, MD PhD

Choll Kim, MD PhD

  • Received PhD degree in Molecular Biology from UCLA in 1992
  • Graduated with Honors, cum laude, from Harvard Medical School in 1996
  • Finished Fellowship in Spine Surgery at the Mayo Clinic in 2002
  • Founded Society for Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery (SMISS) in 2006
in Practice
LESS procedures
MIS procedures
Years in Practice
LESS procedures performed
MIS procedures performed