Minimally-invasive surgery: Edward Santos, M.D.

Summit Orthopedics spine surgeon Edward Santos, M.D. shares what minimally-invasive surgery options are available at Summit in this Ask the Expert video. Dr. Santos is a fellowship-trained spine surgeon and practices in the Minneapolis and St. Paul metro area in Minnesota and specializes in minimally invasive spine surgery.

Find out: Can I Request Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery?

Dr. Edward Santos’ Approach to Care

“I am committed to providing the best care possible for all of my patients with spine disorders, treating each and every patient as I would treat any member of my family. Patients’ concerns and expectations deserve to be heard. It’s important to have a thorough discussion of both surgical and nonsurgical options, with the goal of relieving pain and restoring function.”

Get insight on: When to Seek Care for Back Symptoms [Video]

Introducing Dr. Edward Santos

In March of 2016, Dr. Edward R. Santos transitioned from his position as an associate professor at the University of Minnesota to his new quarters with Summit Orthopedics as a part of Summit’s spine team. His move was only the most recent leg of a medical journey that began on the other side of the world.

“I grew up in the Philippines,” explains Dr. Santos. “During my medical training, I saw a lot of individuals who suffered from tuberculosis of the spine and other back disorders. Spinal disorders can be debilitating, and I wanted to help these patients. Most spine surgeons do one year of extra spine training—I did two: one year in Australia and another in the Twin Cities. When patients have low back and neck pain, they are often unable to work and function—and that comes at a cost. I was drawn to this specialty because I saw the potential for surgery to relieve pain and to bring these patients back to their normal activities and productivity.”

Spine Surgery – Expert resources from Dr. Edward Santos:

A researcher and educator

Dr. Santos’s academic position provided opportunities to conduct research and to teach the procedures that correct degenerative disorders of the neck and lower back. “For me, it was important to achieve surgical expertise, but it was also important to foster a good relationship with the patients. I take pride in making my patients feel that they are really special, and I strive to get good outcomes.”

He considers it an honor that during his university practice, two of his partners and a former resident asked him to handle their own spine surgeries. “My partners could have asked any spine surgeon perform their surgeries—but they came to me,” he smiles. “For me, that’s the biggest thrill. I think it is an indicator of how well you are trusted, and how well you are practicing your craft.”

A practice focused on changing lives

“I love good outcomes,” he continues. “I remember one patient who had severe spinal stenosis. The condition pinched the nerves in her lower back and she could barely stand or walk for more than 10 to 15 seconds before she’d have to sit down. She said she needed my help because her son was getting married in three months. Her dream was to dance with him at his wedding. Surgery for spinal stenosis is a time-tested surgery that is proven to work. We did the surgery and her outcome was excellent.

A few months later, I received a picture of her with her son on the dance floor at the wedding. On the back of the photo she’d written: “I could not have done this without you, so thank you so much!” That’s what makes me want to get up in the morning and go to work: the difference I can make in people’s lives. It was not a difficult surgery, but it made a huge difference for her.”

Most satisfying aspect of being a physician

“I love being able to help people, and I love interacting with my patients. I want to be the doctor with whom patients can share their fears and concerns and dreams. And when they tell me I’ve changed their life and given them back their life? Without a doubt, that’s the best part of my job.”

Discover Summit’s technologically advanced and award-winning spine surgical care

More Expert resources from Dr. Edward Santos:

Medical School
College of Medicine of the University of the Philippines — Manila, Philippines

Undergraduate Studies
University of the Philippines — Manila, Philippines

Philippine General Hospital — Manila, Philippines


  • Adult Orthopaedic Reconstruction, University of Minnesota — Minneapolis, MN
  • Spine Surgery, Twin Cities Spine Center — Minneapolis, MN
  • Revision Joint Surgery and Transplantation, Holy Spirit Hospital — Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
  • Spine Surgery, Royal Adelaide Hospital — Adelaide, Australia

  • Adult Orthopaedic Reconstruction, University of Minnesota — Minneapolis, MN
  • Spine Surgery, Twin Cities Spine Center — Minneapolis, MN
  • Revision Joint Surgery and Transplantation, Holy Spirit Hospital — Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
  • Spine Surgery, Royal Adelaide Hospital — Adelaide, Australia

  • Voted a “Top Doctor” in Mpls/St. Paul Magazine

  • North American Spine Society
  • American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
  • Minnesota Orthopaedic Society

Basketball, Photography, Social Dancing

Patient Education

Spine Animated Conditions and Treatments Library


Over 90 publications and presentations at local, national, and international levels.
Click here to view the full list >>

comment from patient satisfaction survey

Dr. Santos and staff I believed saved my life. I was seeing someone at another orthopedic group and never once saw the doctor only his assistant. I asked to see the doctor as my arms were going numb and I knew something bad had happened. The said I could not see him for 2 months. I would have never made it that long. I called Summit and was in the next day to see Dr. Santos for a visit. I could not even open a water bottle by this time. Summit orthopedics is all about the patient and I want to thank you. I have been treated amazing and I have called a lot and they always call me right back and tell me to call anytime. I am beyond thankful for the wonderful staff. It will be the only place me and my family will ever go.

Comment from Lisa M.

When I sought out a second opinion regarding spine care, I was led to Dr. Santos and will never look back! He performed a cervical fusion in 2015 when he was still working at the UofM through TRIA. When I found out Dr. Santos was going to work for Summit I immediately had all of my medical records transferred. The drive from Apple Valley to Blaine is 100% worth my time.

Survey Feedback

I have recommended Dr. Santos to several of my friends who have back issues.

Patient Survey Comment

I love Dr. Santos! He really cares for my well-being and wants to help manage my pain. I answers all of my questions and makes me feel like there’s hope for long term pain relief. He also has an awesome way of explaining possible future procedures in a positive manner. Surgery on my neck has always seemed like a scary option, but Dr. Santos explains it in a way that’s noninvasive and optimistic. Plus – he said it’s one of his favorite surgeries to do! I know I will be in good hands if I need this done. He is so positive and truly wants me to live a healthy, happy life!

Comment from patient satisfaction survey:

Dr Santos is an exemplary physician and your staff is wonderful. I am well pleased.

Comment from patient satisfaction survey:

I was treated very very well.  Dr. Santos was exceptionally nice and knowledgeable.

Survey Feedback

Dr. Edward Santos has been my ortho doctor for 6 years. Has done 2 surgeries. I trust him completely. He is the best.

Articles and Videos from Edward Santos, M.D.