Ernest H. Sponzilli, M.D.

Ernest Sponzilli, MD - Mt.Tam Orthopedics & Spine Center from Paul H. Kim, MD on Vimeo.

Dr Ernest Sponzilli | Pain Management Doctor San Francisco | Marin County CADr Sponzilli feels a genuine honor to have the opportunity to serve you. As a reflection of this he has been awarded 3 separate board certifications to offer you exceptional care and expertise. Experience is critical when performing precision percutaneous spinal interventions and incisionless/ bloodless surgeries.

Dr Sponzilli esteems himself as one of the highest volume providers of intervention spine care in northern California. Specializing in interventional pain care management Dr S has successfully performed over 1000 interventional pain procedures annually for the past 15 years since beginning his career at Mt tam in 1999. His special clinical skills include neurodiagnostics, peripheral nerve and joint blocks, cervical thoracic and lumbar epidural steroid injections, radiofrequency desensitization, fracture augmentation, percutaneous discectomy, thermal annuloplasty, and spinal stimulator implantation.

Dr. Sponzilli's current research interest centers on novel regenerative therapies involving the use of advanced orthobiologic therapies including irap1, prp bmac and adsc for the treatment of arthritis, tendinosis, and degenerative disease. While these treatments can play a role in one's recovery Dr. Sponzilli firmly believes in taking a broader whole life perspective identifying modifiable lifestyle factors that contribute to the development of injury and disease.

Dr. Sponzilli is a native of the bay area and lives with his wife and 4 young children.

In addition to his practice experience, Dr. Sponzilli is also involved with several professional organizations, including:

  • American Board of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Fellow
  • American Board of Interventional Pain Physicians, Fellow
  • American Board of Anaesthesiology, Pain Management Subspecialty, Diplomate
  • American Academy of Physical Medicine Rehabilitation
  • American Society of Interventional Pain Physicians

Dr. Sponzilli is also an active staff member at Marin General Hospital and Marin Specialty Surgery Center. Dr. Sponzilli’s work has appeared in many publications, and he has also offered his medical services to local organizations.

View Testimonials


"For two years, back pain had become my constant companion. It gradually got to the point, where I could no longer stand or walk for more than 20 minutes. My wife and daughter had forgotten what it looked like to see me laugh or smile. Over the years, I had tried every alternative for back repair imaginable. I finally went to see Dr. Su. He has a very professional, calm, sure manner. After examining my MRI, he said they could help me. I went in to see Dr. Sponzilli for an epidural injection. I was nervous going in, but everyone on staff was very kind and took time to chat with me to get me comfortable. Dr Sponzilli came to speak with me just prior to the procedure, he too, has a wonderful, kind easygoing, but confident way about him. I felt very relaxed. A very quick half hour later, I walked to my wife's car with zero pain. It's only day two, but I am amazed and actually having trouble believing, I'm totally pain free. I'm no longer walking bent over and debilitated. I'm 51 but feeling like a little boy,I understand, it's early yet, but I had to thank everyone there for giving me my life back. Thank you!" Matt G.

"When Dr. Stuart in Orthopedics told me in no uncertain terms that they could "fix" congenital back defects that had kept me in pain for over 5 decades I was naturally skeptical. Both Drs Byers and Su have impressive resume's and national reputations as spine surgeons so I approached the prospect of a positive outcome in confidence. That confidence was reinforced with my first and subsequent meetings with Dr. Su. He went over the very conservative steps we would take before actually opting for surgery. He explained the general procedure and referred me to Dr. Sponzilli to see if an epidural would offer relief. An MRI revealed that the nerve compression in my misaligned vertebrae was severe enough to require surgery. By that time I was unable to walk a hundred feet without severe lumbar and sciatic pain down both legs. Dr. Sponzilli's best and caring efforts led to minimal relief. When surgery became the only option Dr.Su did a very thorough work-up taking all the time I needed to answer all of my questions and calm my concerns. He was compassionate, interested, concerned and reassuring. After considering all of the obligations and commitments in my life he scheduled the surgery for July 11h, 2011. There were minor complications in the recovery process, but overall, no worse than one might expect from a double fusion, laminectomy and lumbar copectomy. Serious, extensive surgery to say the least that I later found out involved both Dr. Su and Dr. Byers. I writing this a few days before Thanksgiving out of an overwhelming feeling of gratitude to Dr.s Su and Byers for giving me a new life. I am pain free for the first time in over five decades. Let me repeat I am pain free! Every single benefit proposed by Dr. Su has come true! I can move like kid. As the follow-PT continues, every day get's better. That's not bad for a 72 year old guy whose movements have been restricted by pain, all of my life. My entire attitude and outlook on life has changed. I had no idea how debilitating physically and psychologically the pain had been. All I can say is I am forever in your debt. Thank you." Gerald J.

"To both Dr. Su for diagnosis, and Dr. Sponzilli for the proceedure, I thank you on the first anniversary of my proceedure for giving me a life back.. The six months leading up to my proceedure were a painful time filled with frustration and the inability to participate in the activities whilch give my life joy and meaning. False diagnosis and a string of doctors with no answers led me to you. I am now pain free at one year, gardening, walking, exercising and living a normal life. I am very grateful for your skilled diagnosis and treatment. I hope that I don't need to see you again, but if I do, I feel confident that you will treat me with the same professional respect and care. You don't know what it has meant to me. Thank you!" Patricia P.

"Dr. Robert Byers, Dr. Ernest Sponzilli, and N.P. Lisa Elvin of Mt. Tam Spine Center have worked together to successfully minimize the impact of injuries to the lower lumbar region of my spine since my initial injury in 1995. The vast knowledge and experience each brings to bear has been the core component of fifteen years of successfully managing multiple spine injuries utilizing progressive, effective spine care.

Skilled, educated, and experienced in this specialized field; the Mt. Tam Spine team is quite simply the best. Their ability to effectively address acute and or chronic symptoms, coupled with the fact they undoubtedly are, and have remained, some of the most genuine and kind people I've had the pleasure of knowing, makes them a hard team to beat. Also, the comprehensive discussions on treatment options and procedures have been key to reducing any anxiety I might have, not to mention the team's empathy and willingness to talk me through a procedure.

In addition, there is dedicated staff, which work tirelessly to ensure medical needs are addressed and questions answered. On more than a few occasions, letters have been drafted and sent to my insurance carrier to ensure I have unfettered access to coverage and benefits that carriers conveniently forget about; the Mt. Tam team was quick to act, and relentless in pursuit.

As is evidenced by my history of injury and treatment, the aforementioned fact-based observations, evaluations, and comments are rooted in a professional relationship that has been and continues to be the linchpin of my care. Additionally, close friends I've sent to be evaluated and treated at Mt. Tam Spine Center aren't shy about their own success stories, as they too feel fortunate to be in such capable, caring hands." Grant W.

Dr. Sponzilli's CV

  • Fellow, American Board of PM&R, #5831. Expires Dec.31, 2018.
    Certified July 1, 1998, Re-Certified July 1, 2008.
  • Fellow, American Board of Interventional Pain Physicians, Certificate #370.
    Certified March 2007.
  • Diplomate, American Board of Anaesthesiology, Pain Management Subspecialty, #183. Expires 2021.
    Certified Sept. 15, 2001, Re-Certified 2008.
  • Member, American Academy of Physical Medicine Rehabilitation, ID# 63745.
  • Member, American Academy of Pain Management, ID# 00035861
  • Member, American Society of Interventional Pain Physicians, ID# 2006312.
  • CA License G078425
  • DEA BS4278049
  • Fluoroscopy Supervisor License # RHC 144714
  • UPIN #: G66122 NPI: 1497709984
Professional Experience
  • Staff Physician, Mt. Tam Orthopedics Spine Center & MRI, Larkspur, CA., March 1999-present.
    Spine Care, Pain Management, Neurodiagnosis; Active Staff member, Marin General Hospital, Marin Specialty Surgery Center.
    John Keohane, MD, Chief Executive Officer
    Neurodiagnosis and Electrophysiology; Interventional Pain Management including SpinalDiagnostics, epidural, radiofrequency therapies, intradicsal therapies, spinal augmentation.
  • Intervention Pain Management Clinical Instructor/Quality Assurance Supervisor.
    Instructor, International Spinal Intervention Society, January 2008.
    Marin Specialty Surgery Center: 2001 to present.
    UCSF/American Society of Anaesthesia, Oct. 2003: Intradiscal Therapies (Nucleoplasty).
    Arthrocare Cervical Nucleoplasty Discectomy: 2005.
    Pleasanton Surgery Center, Sept. 2003: Intradiscal Therapies (IDET, Nucleoplasty).
    Kaiser Permanente-Richmond, Oct. 2002: Radiofrequency Lesioning.
  • Associate Physician, Kaiser Permanente, Richmond Campus, 1997-1999
    Director, Division of Spine Medicine.
    901 Nevin Ave., Richmond 94801
    Timothy Batchelder, MD, Physician in Chief
  • Urgent Care/Occupation Medicine Physician
    Advantage Care Health Care Network, Los Angeles CA 1994-1997
  • Artificial Intelligence Software Engineer
    Department of Risk Management, Kaiser of Walnut Creek, CA 1987
  • UCLA Multicampus PM&R Residency Program; 1993-1997
    Director: A.M. Erika Scremin, MD
    Dept PMR, West Los Angeles VAMC W117 Wilshire and Sawtelle Blvds., Los Angeles CA 90073
    (310) 268-3342
  • UCLA Dept of Neuroscience Master’s Program 1995-1997
    Director: Igor Spigelman, MD
    Dept, Physiological Sciences, 405 Hildard Ave., Los Angeles CA 90024-1568
    (310) 825-3891
    Thesis: Calcium Chelators in Brain Resuscitation
    Additional Coursework in Pain Physiology, Neurodevelopment/Regeneration, Myology,
    Brain Mapping/Imaging, Neural Rhythmicity, Learning & Memory
  • Kaiser Permanente San Francisco, 1992-1993
    Internship, Department of Internal Medicine
    2425 Geary Blvd., San Francisco CA 94115
    (415) 202-4983
    Director: Aileen Dillon, MD
  • Albany Medical College Albany, NY Medical Doctorate, 1992
    Albany NY 12208
  • University of California, Berkeley: B.A. Applied Mathematics/Computer Science, 1985
    Berkeley CA 94720
Supplemental Training
  • Sonosite Musculoskeletal Ultrasound, Sept 2009, San Francisco, CA
    Director: Don Buford, MD
  • American Society Interventional Board Review, March 2007. Memphis TN.
    Director: Prithvi Raj, MD
  • American Society Interventional Pain Physicians Certification: Memphis TN, March 2007
    Directors: Prithvi Raj, MD, and Gabor Racz, MD
  • Advanced Bionics: Spinal Cord Stimulation. Henderson, NC. April 2006
    Director: Dr. Joseph Dunn
  • Stryker Intervention Pain: Vertebroplasty. Palo Alto, CA Oct. 09, 2004
    Director: John Mathis, MD
  • International Spinal Injection Society: Discography. Memphis, TN, Oct. 2003
    Director; Charles Aprill, MD, Program Director
  • International Spinal Injection Society: Radiofrequency Lesioning. Memphis, TN, Oct. 2002
    Director; Charles Aprill, MD, Program Director
  • Arthrocare Spine: Cervical Nucleoplasty. UCSF, Oct. 2003
    Director: Richard Derby, MD
    Lumbar Nucleoplasty. San Diego, CA July 2002
    Director Sam Maywood, MD
  • Clinical Education Services: Radiofrequency Lesioning/Interdiscal Therapies, Chicago, IL, Nov. 2001
    Director: Bhupinder Saini, MD
  • International Spinal Injection Society: Advanced Cervical Injections, New Orleans, LA, Oct. 2000
    Directors: Robert Wright, MD and Ray Baker, MD, Program Directors.
  • World Institute of Pain: Advanced Pain Management Technique, Hungary, Sept. 1999
    Directors: Gabor Racz, MD and Prithvi Raj, MD
  • IDET/Lumbar Disc Puncture Workshop: Stanford University, March/July 1999
    Director: Joel Saal, MD
  • Dept Anaesthesiology, West Los Angeles VAMC, 1995-1997
    Director: Kevin Win, MD
  • Rancho Los Amigos Medical Center, 1993-1997
    Director Jacqueline Perry, MD
  • 10th International Clinical Neurophysiology/EMG Symposium, October 1995
    Director: Jim Kimura, MD
  • Stanford University Musculoskeletal Pain Update, March 1995
    Director: Elaine Date, MD
  • 1994-1997: UCLA Dept. of Neuroscience/Physiology Science
    Neurophysiology: Conduction Master’s/PhD level basic science study on brain resuscitation
    in ischemia and anoxia.
  • 1991: Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY
    Bioengineering: Examined principles of prosthetic design
  • 1991-1991: Radiation Oncology Center, Walnut Creek, CA
    Epidemiology: Retrospective case analysis on 208 prostate cancer patients
  • SCS and Gangliolytic Therapies in Chronic Pelvic Pain, presented at the Marin Pelvic Pain Society, 2008.
  • Radiofrequency Neurolysis, presented at the UCSF Spinal State of the Art Series, 2007
    Drs. David Bradford, Philip Weinstein Moderators
  • Nonoperative Spinal Interventional Care, presented at Marin General Hospital’s AB487 Pain Lecture Series March 2004.
  • Spine Care Update,presented at Marin General Hospital’s Grand Rounds, February 2000.
  • Spine Care Update, presented at Novato Community Hospital Grand Rounds, July 1999.
  • ‘POEMS Syndrome: Electrophysiologic and Neuropathologic Correlates,’ presented at the 43rd American Association of EMG Symposium. October 1996, Minneapolis, MN.
  • ‘Phreno-Musculocutaneous Synkinesis,’ presented at the 10th International Congress of Electromyography October 1995, Kyoto, Japan.
  • ‘Hypometabolism of the Caudate in Post Stroke Depression,’ present at the Association of Academic Physiatrist Annual Congress, March 1995, Scottsdale, AZ.
  • ‘Fuzzy Sets and Their Application to Rheumatologic Diagnosis,’ Student Paper Competition, 15th Annual Symposium on Computer Applications in Medical Care, sponsored by the NLM/NIH, Washington DC, Nov., 1991
  • ‘Methods for Modeling Soft Tissue Histeresis,’ Rensselaer Polytechnic, NY, 1992
  • ‘Acute Onset Dementia in a Bipolar Patient,’ presented at Albany Medical College Psychiatry Annual Retrospective in 1991
Community Experience
  • 1997: Public Health: “Wellness at the Workplace,” “Reducing Job Injuries”
    Richmond Chamber of Commerce
  • 1995-present: Sculptor/Art Auction-Fund Raiser Donator
    Taylor Foundation for Pediatric HIV, Lafayette, CA
  • 1986-1987: English Teacher
    Xi’an Foreign Language Institute, Xi’an, China
  • 1980-present: Youth Soccer Coach
    Orinda Youth Association, Orinda, CA. Acalanes High School, Lafayette, CA. Lafayette Moraga Soccer Club, Lafayette, CA. Bethlehem Youth Soccer Club, Bethlehem, NY. Real Madrid Soccer Club, Los Angeles, CA
  • 1983-1985: Summer Camp Director/Administrative Board Member
    Lafayette Moraga Soccer Club, Lafayette, CA
  • 1985-1988: Coaching Instructor
    California Youth Soccer Association, Northern California Region 

    • Junior Olympic Soccer Player
  • U.S. Junior Olympic Team, USA
  • 1996: Best Research in Progress, UCLA PM&R Program
  • 1991: Reader’s Digest International Medical Assistance Program
  • 1985: US Olympic Committee National Coaching Award
Special Skills
  • Spanish
  • French
  • Mandarin Chinese proficiency
  • Computer Engineering