About Our Board Certified Spine Surgeons

All of Long Island Spine Specialists' medical professionals have extensive training and unparalleled experience in care of the spine, and remain current about the newest advances in surgical and non-surgical therapies through continuing medical education. As pioneers in minimally invasive and laser surgery, our surgeons train other physicians on new approved technologies.

We have privileges at many hospitals throughout Long Island, including St. Catherine of Siena Medical Center, Huntington Hospital, Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center, North Shore University Hospital - Manhasset, St. Francis Hospital, St. Charles Hospital, Peconic Bay Medical Center and North Shore Ambulatory Surgical Center.

Our Surgical Specialists:


Thomas J. Dowling, Jr., M.D.

Dr. Dowling is the founding partner of Long Island Spine Specialists, P.C. He is a Board Certified Orthopaedic Spine Surgeon with extensive fellowship training in spinal disorders with both orthopaedic and neurosurgical Fellowships.

He is known for his perseverance and commitment to achieve the best possible outcome for his patients by using nonoperative methods or surgical treatment when indicated. Dr. Dowling has served on the Board of Directors of the New York State Society of Orthopaedic Surgeons and the Catholic Health Services of Long Island. He holds appointments in healthcare and community organizations, lectures both nationally and internationally, and has authored numerous articles and book chapters in professional publications.

Dr. Dowling’s compassion for his patients and quality of his care is evident by his receiving Top Doctor Awards for numerous years from Castle Connolly since its inception. His commitment to give “Back” to the community is demonstrated through numerous charitable endeavors.

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Laurence E. Mermelstein, M.D.

Dr. Mermelstein is a Board Certified Orthopaedic Surgeon with additional Fellowship training and extensive experience in pediatric and adult spinal deformities, sports-related spinal injuries, and degenerative and traumatic conditions of the neck and back. He is recognized as one of the leading experts in managing the care and treatment of the pediatric scoliosis patient and is an active member of the premier Scoliosis Research Society.

As the first surgeon on Long Island to perform the Posterolateral Endoscopic Discectomy procedure, he continues to lead the field in laser surgery and minimally-invasive techniques, which reduce pain and the risk of infection while also making recovery quicker. He has pioneered new intra-operative neurophysiological monitoring procedures to improve surgical safety. His expertise includes complex reconstructive spine surgery, disc arthroplasty (disc replacement), and pediatric scoliosis, and laser surgery. Highly respected in the field of spine, he has lectured extensively at national and international meetings regarding spinal biomechanics and instrumentation.

Dr. Mermelstein’s passion for spine care is reflected in his willingness to share his knowledge and expertise by providing professional seminars and community lectures on spine health.

Dr. Mermelstein’s commitment to give “Back” is evident by his partnering with charitable organizations dedicated to improving the lives of children around the world, donating his time and skills to provide life altering surgery to improve the quality of their lives.

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Hargovind DeWal, M.D.

Dr. DeWal is a Board Certified Orthopaedic Surgeon with advanced Fellowship training in neurosurgery of the spine. He is committed to the latest advancements in spine surgery, offering patients the newest, most up-to-date technologies. His clinical practice includes microsurgery, minimally invasive surgery, fusion, and non-fusion procedures. He treats patients of all ages with a variety of spinal disorders including stenosis, spinal cord compression, disc bulges, or herniations, and he specializes in treatment of athletic spine injuries and scoliosis correction.

Dr. DeWal serves as Section Chief of Spine Surgery at St. Catherine of Siena Medical Center. His commitment to the community is evident by the many educational seminars he provides to hospital staff, school nurses, and the community on topics including scoliosis screening, postoperative care, and advanced innovative minimally invasive/laser technology. He has authored several book chapters, published numerous articles related to the spine, and lectured to professionals at national meetings.

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Sushil K. Basra, M.D.

Dr. Basra is a Board Certified Orthopaedic Surgeon concentrating his practice, exclusively, on spine care. He treats a full spectrum of degenerative and traumatic conditions of the cervical, thoracic, and lumbar spine, including scoliosis, kyphosis, spinal fracture, tumors, disc herniation, and stenosis. His expertise is in minimally invasive spine surgery with extensive experience in deformity and revision surgery for complex spinal disorders. His skills and accomplishments in the replacement of damaged discs with artificial discs, as well as, his motion preservation surgical skills make him a leader in the field of spine.

Dr. Basra has a special interest in workplace related injuries and is committed to providing comprehensive and individualized assessment for each patient. Dr. Basra recommends the most innovative, up-to-date, and clinically proven treatment plans. Dr. Basra strongly believes in giving “Back” to the community through free education, offering knowledgeable, informative lectures and seminars to both community and professional groups. He has been featured as an expert medical speaker on radio. He has also published numerous articles relating to treatment of the spine.

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Christopher Frendo, D.O.

Dr. Frendo is a Board Certified Orthopaedic Spine Surgeon with comprehensive Fellowship training in Spine. He has extensive experience in spinal surgery and research. He has performed studies on orthobiologics for spinal fusion and on motion preservation. He is devoted to the evaluation and management of a broad spectrum of adult and pediatric spinal disorders including complex deformities, degenerative, traumatic, infectious, and neoplastic conditions of the spine. He provides expertise in minimally invasive spine surgery, as well as, complex spinal reconstruction for the treatment of degenerative disorders and deformities of the spine.

He is a distinguished speaker giving lectures at national meetings on the evaluation and management of disorders of the spine. He is also involved with the education and training of orthopaedic residents.

Dr. Frendo’s commitment to giving “Back” is evident by his dedication to our community providing lectures to the public educating them on the latest in spinal care, as well as, providing free scoliosis screenings at Community Health Fairs and local schools.

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Daniel E. Choi, M.D.

Dr. Choi is a fellowship trained spine surgeon with a special focus on minimally invasive spine surgery. He completed the prestigious combined neurosurgical and orthopaedic spine surgery fellowship at Harvard Medical School where he worked closely with many world renowned spine surgeons.

Dr. Choi has extensive experience in the treatment of the entire spectrum of cervical, thoracic, and lumbar spine disorders. His special interests include microsurgery, interbody fusions, revision surgery, and robotic spine surgery. He has authored numerous articles and textbook chapters and has presented his research at both national and international spine surgical meetings.

Dr. Choi's guiding philosophy is simple: every patient is treated as if he were treating his own family member, with compassion and respect. His goals are to ensure that his patients understand all aspects of their condition and to explore all possible nonoperative treatments prior to considering surgery. Dr. Choi strongly believes in giving "Back" to the community and is involved in numerous educational ventures to spread spinal health awareness throughout Long Island.

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