Rochester, Minnesota


Spinner.Robert@mayo.edu Clinical Profile


The research interests of Robert J. Spinner, M.D., are twofold: his clinical research relates to imaging features of benign and malignant nerve tumors, while his basic research centers on the development and evaluation of a novel nerve tube as a possible alternative for peripheral nerve graft repair.

Focus areas

Clinical research

  • Establishing the formation of intraneural ganglia
  • Identifying imaging features of nerve tumors
  • Determining patterns of metastasis (perineural spread) of malignant nerve tumors

Basic research

  • Studying the properties of a novel nerve tube made of a flexible, easy-to-suture biomaterial called polycaprolactone fumarate (PCLF) that was invented at Mayo Clinic
  • Investigating the influence of a multichannel structure on the support of regeneration across large nerve gaps and improving the accuracy of regeneration by separately guiding groups of regenerating axons in rat models

Significance to patient care

Dr. Spinner's clinical research is aimed at understanding mechanisms of formation and spread of benign and malignant nerve tumors, which can improve treatments and outcomes. Additionally, his work to establish the diagnosis of nerve tumors on imaging can improve treatment and eliminate the need for an open or needle biopsy.

Dr. Spinner's basic research will help determine safety and efficacy of nerve tubes (compared with the clinical gold standard, autografts) in rats in comparison with the gold standard, autografts. Dr. Spinner's team will then translate their findings to use in humans. Advantages of nerve tubes versus repair with an autograft are that there is no donor-site morbidity — pain, sensory abnormality, separate incisions, and so on — and that the nerve tubes can be produced in different sizes and dimensions.

Professional highlights

  • Chair, Department of Neurosurgery, Mayo Clinic, 2015-present
  • Kline Lecturer, American Association of Neurological Surgeons, 2016
  • Secretary, American Association for Hand Surgery, 2013-2016
  • President, American Society for Peripheral Nerve, 2012-2013
  • Burton M. Onofrio, M.D., Professor of Neurosurgery, 2011
  • President, Peripheral nerve, Joint sections, American Association of Neurological Surgeons-Congress of Neurological Surgeons, 2009-2011
  • President, Sunderland Society (international peripheral nerve study group), 2007-2008
  • Editorial board, Neurosurgery journal; World Neurosurgery journal; Microsurgery journal; Mayo Clinic Proceedings; Clinical Anatomy journal


Primary Appointment

  1. Consultant, Department of Neurologic Surgery

Joint Appointment

  1. Consultant, Division of Hand Surgery, Department of Orthopedic Surgery
  2. Consultant, Department of Orthopedic Surgery
  3. Consultant, Department of Anatomy

Administrative Appointment

  1. Chair, Department of Neurologic Surgery

Academic Rank

  1. Professor of Neurosurgery
  2. Professor of Orthopedics
  3. Professor of Anatomy


  1. Chief Resident - Neurologic Surgery Mayo School of Graduate Medical Education, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine
  2. Fellow - Peripheral Nerve Surgery (Dr. David Kline) Louisiana State University Medical Center
  3. Resident - Neurologic Surgery Mayo School of Graduate Medical Education, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine
  4. Chief Resident - Orthopaedic Surgery Duke University Medical Center
  5. Resident - Orthopaedic Surgery Duke University Medical Center
  6. Junior Assistant Resident - General and Thoracic Surgery Duke University Medical Center
  7. Internship - General and Thoracic Surgery Duke University Medical Center
  8. Research Fellowship - Luce Scholars Program. Orthopaedic Surgery and Traumatology Prince of Wales Hospital, Hong Kong
  9. MD Mayo Medical School, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine
  10. MD/PhD Student Experimental Pathology, Historical Programs, Programs, Mayo Graduate School, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine
  11. MST - Greek and Latin Literature Christ Church College, University of Oxford
  12. BS - Humanities and Science Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Clinical Studies

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