Joseph R. O’Brien, MD


Joseph R. O’Brien, MD

Board Certified in Orthopaedic Surgery, Dr. O’Brien specializes in minimally invasive spine surgery and revision of failed spine surgery. A graduate of Vanderbilt University and the George Washington School of Medicine, Dr. O’Brien completed his training at the Johns Hopkins University Medical Center with a fellowship in spinal reconstructive surgery. Dr. O’Brien has previously served as an associate professor for Orthopaedic Surgery & Neurological Surgery and the Medical Director of Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery at the George Washington University.


Minimally Invasive Surgery of the Cervical, Thoracic, and Lumbar Spine


Dr. O’Brien performs surgery at Suburban Hospital, George Washington University Hospital, and Virginia Hospital Center.


Vanderbilt University
Nashville, TN
BA in Chemistry


Emory University
Atlanta, GA
Master of Public Health


George Washington University
School of Medicine
Washington, DC


University of Maryland / Shock Trauma
Baltimore, Maryland


Johns Hopkins University
Baltimore, MD
Spinal Reconstructive Surgery



  • Academy of Orthopaedic Surgery
  • Cervical Spine Research Society
  • Scoliosis Research Society
  • Spine Arthroplasty Society

Contact Details

Dr. O’Brien holds clinic in both Arlington, VA and Bethesda, MD – please inform a representative when scheduling an appointment if you’d prefer a particular location.

You may contact him via email.

This e-mail account is checked and responded to by Dr. O’Brien’s medical assistant, Monday through Friday during normal business hours. This email WILL NOT be checked during evenings, weekends or holidays. Messages can also be sent through our Patient Portal.

This e-mail is not intended for emergencies or time-sensitive issues. Your message will typically receive a response within 48 hours. We appreciate your patience.

Surgery Scheduling for Dr. O’Brien: Contact Angeline Valencia – by email or call (240) 395-1722.

Please note, if you have an urgent medical issue or other urgent matter please call the main office at (301) 530-1010. An on-call doctor is available at this number during evenings, weekends and holidays.

Thank you for allowing us to be a part of your care.

Dr. O'Brien Testimonial

I have been a patient of Dr O’Brien for several years. I was very impressed with his kindness and patience. What truly told me he was the right one, is when he gave me his email address and told me if I had any questions to please email him. After we scheduled my back surgery, I was scared. I sent Dr. O’Brien an email, stressing…

- M.H.

Dr. O'Brien Testimonial

I saw Dr O’Brien as a 3rd consult for my spondylolisthesis and L5S1 herniation. My condition had worsened over the last decade and I was headed for a dead nerve and drop foot in the near future. I’m a career fireman so this would have been a condition that would have retired me. I had put off back surgery for many years under the impression…

- B.C.

Dr. O'Brien Testimonial

After a very long, painful journey I was fortunate enough to have Dr. Joseph O’Brien perform an ACDF Level C5-6, C6-7 in February 2018, and Microdiscectomy Level 4/5 | May 31st. He is an outstanding Spinal surgeon, the absolute best. His level of expertise demonstrates that he has spent years perfecting and researching this particular field. He is compassionate and really cares about communicating with…

- R.P.

Dr. O'Brien Testimonial

Dr. O’Brien, Upon a short time ago, I realized that I did not give you a complete or accurate report of how I was feeling, because I had not stood up yet. Because I had focused on that, the fact that I slept through the night without waking up with the stabbing pain on my spinal cord. I slept through the night for the first…

- J.R.

Dr. O'Brien Testimonial

Late last year, I was told I would need knee surgery. I visited Dr. O’Brien, and he examined the MRI and concluded that all I needed was PT. He was right! I had one steroid injection and PT and now walk 5 miles with no knee problems. THANK YOU for your good advice and a conservative approach. You are seriously good!

- R.E.

Dr. O'Brien Testimonial

I’m going to start by saying that Dr. O’Brien has given me my life back. I started having problems about 7 months ago. Initially, it was back pain but it quickly progressed to a horrible nerve, groin, and buttock pain on the right side. I saw one neurosurgeon who suggested epidurals. 4 epidurals and one diagnostic block later, my symptoms were only getting worse. My…

- M.B.

Dr. O'Brien Testimonial

Dr. O’Brien – I just returned from our family trip to Kenya…I wanted to personally thank you for making it possible for me to take this trip of a life time with my children and grandchildren. It was, at times, physically demanding with the very bumpy jeep rides—climbing up and down — and 16 hours of flying to and from Nairobi. My back was 100%…

- S. W.

Dr. O'Brien Testimonial

Dr. O’Brien, Just a quick note to again thank you very much for the terrific surgery you performed on my back this past [month]. I feel confident that you have put me back on the road to good back health. I truly appreciate your time and effort and for your being able to do everything that you did for me.

- C. H.

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For over 50 years, OrthoBethesda has provided Maryland with quality orthopedic treatment. Contact us or easily call at (301) 530-1010 to make an appointment with us today!