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Michael J. Lee, MD

Dr. Lee is a surgical oncologist who cares for patients who have sarcoma.

Patient Care Philosophy:

The care of a cancer patient goes well beyond the science of the disease. Although my job is to provide information on treatment options, I focus on listening to the patient’s concerns, needs, and fears. Often times patients are hit with a bombshell diagnosis of cancer and are overwhelmed. I see my role as a physician to treat the human spirit as well as the medical illness.

Dr. Lee's Resume


  • Medical Director 6SE
  • Assistant Professor Orthopaedic Surgery, University of Washington School of Medicine 

Clinical Expertise

Anterior cervical discectomy/corpectomy, cervical laminectomy, cervical fusion (anterior & posterior), cervical laminaplasty, kyphoplasty, lumbar, laminectomy, microdiscectomy, lumbar fusion (posterior-lateral, interbody)


Herniated disc, spinal stenosis, myelopathy, radiculopathy, spinal spondylolisthesis, spinal spondylolysis, osteoporotic compression fracture, adult deformity

Education And Training

  • Medical Degree: Northwestern University Medical School, Chicago IL
  • Residency: Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland OH
  • Fellowship: Rush University Medical Center, Chicago IL

Dr. Lee's Story

Michael Lee, MD decided to become a doctor because he liked working with people.

“I find helping people to be an incredibly gratifying and rewarding experience,” he says, “whether that is in a philanthropic, medical, or personal context.  I wanted to be in a position where I can have a real impact on peoples’ lives and being a physician allows me to do that.”

Caring for cancer patients is much more complex than the care for other spine patients, though. Dr. Lee says that, “often times, there is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ answer.  Determining the optimal care for cancer patients, whether it is medical, radiation, palliative, or surgical can be a challenge.” 

To find the right course of action for each individual patient requires getting to know the patient beyond the science. “To me, this is the key to determining the best care for each patient and thus far it has been a richly rewarding human experience,” he says.
Dr. Lee is involved in a myriad of research efforts ranging from laboratory work in biomechanical spine lab to research in quality care metrics, to research in the safety and effectiveness of spine surgery. 

“The area that I am most involved in now is safety in spine surgery,” Lee says. “My goal is to better define the safety of spine surgery and to ultimately predict the likelihood for a complication based on a patient’s individual profile.  Such a tool will assist physicians and patients alike in the course of decision-making for surgery.”

Outside of work, Dr. Lee spends the majority of his time with his family.  “I have been told by many that no one ever regrets spending too much time with their family, whereas people often regret not spending enough time, particularly when they were young,” he says. “While my children are young and impressionable and still think that Dad is cool, I plan to spend the majority of my time and effort outside of work with them.”