Coordinated Health

Christopher Wagener, MD

Department Chair Orthopedic Spine Surgery, Vice Chief of Staff

16 Patient Stories
Christopher Wagener, MD
Department Chair Orthopedic Spine Surgery, Vice Chief of Staff
Dr. Christopher Wagener is a fellowship-trained spine surgeon in Allentown and Bethlehem. Nationally-recognized. Spinal fusion surgery. Minimally invasive spine surgery.

Dr. Christopher Wagener is a board-certified orthopedic spine surgeon for Coordinated Health, part of Lehigh Valley Health Network.

“Many patients mistakenly believe that spine surgery does not work or that they will be worse after a procedure,” says Dr. Christopher Wagener, MD. “New techniques, technology, and diagnostic studies have improved results and returned patients back to their lives.”

Dr. Wagener’s elite training and practice experience has made him one of the nation’s premier surgeons and an expert in spine surgery. He is a graduate of Georgetown University School of Medicine, where he graduated with honors. He performed his orthopedic surgery training at Georgetown University Hospital before completing a spine surgery fellowship at the world-famous Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.

Dr. Wagener has performed thousands of procedures on the neck and back, helping patients to live better lives. His professional interests are in minimally invasive and alternative spine surgery procedures, and he is considered an expert and innovator in the field. He has been on the development team of multiple FDA-approved minimally invasive surgical implants, and an international speaker/expert, author, and instructor on minimally invasive surgical techniques.

Elected by his peers to be part of the Society for Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery, which was limited to fewer than 200 surgeons worldwide during the time of his inclusion, Dr. Wagener has demonstrated a commitment and mastery to this emerging technique.  His reputation and results have made him one of the busiest spine surgeons in his region, performing more than 350 surgeries per year.

“The personalized care you get at Coordinated Health cannot be found at the university setting,” reports Dr. Wagener. “In addition, I personally perform all surgeries along with a hand-picked spine surgery team. There are no residents, fellows, or medical students training and learning on our patients. This increases efficiency and limits complications associated with inexperience.”

Dr. Wagener believes in an honest and up-front approach to his patients’ problems. “I am lucky to have done a lot of spine surgery as well as having access to a network of colleagues to discuss cases,” he notes. “I have a sense of who will benefit from surgery and who will not. In truth, I offer surgery to less than 20 percent of those who seek a surgical opinion. Some people simply won’t get a clinically significant benefit from surgery.”

When Dr. Wagener is not doing spine surgery, he enjoys spending time and traveling with his wife Marie, a dermatologist. In the last few years, he has traveled to England, Peru, Argentina, Brazil/Amazon, Panama, and Nicaragua.

“Seeing and experiencing different parts of the world allows me to connect with all kinds of patients, as well as appreciate what we have at home,” he says. “Without question, it has made me a better person and a better physician.”

He also is an avid fly fisherman, surfer, and recently started playing golf.



University of California, Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, CA, Bachelor of Arts in Biological Sciences with an emphasis in Biochemistry, Magna Cum Laude, 1991-1995


Georgetown University, Department of Physiology, Washington, D.C., Master of Science in Physiology and Biophysics, Graduated with highest distinction, 1996-1997

Medical School

Georgetown University School of Medicine, Washington, D.C., Doctorate of Medicine, Cum Laude, 1997-2001


University of Alabama, Birmingham, Birmingham, AL, Orthopaedic Surgery Internship, 2001-2003


Georgetown University Hospital, Washington, D.C., Orthopaedic Surgery Resident, 2003-2006


Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN, Orthopaedic Spine Surgery Fellowship, 2006-2007

Services Provided

  • Cervical disc replacement surgery
  • Cervical herniated discs
  • Kyphoplasty
  • Lumbar and cervical laminectomies
  • Microdiscectomies
  • Minimally-invasive spine surgery
  • Orthopedic spine surgery
  • Outpatient spine surgery
  • SI joint fusion
  • Spinal cord stimulation implantation
  • Spinal fusion surgery
  • Vertebral compression fractures
  • Vertebroplasty
25 Testimonials
Dr. Christopher Wagener put an end to my chronic back pain
“ I went to Dr.Wagener a year ago. I was in constant pain. I had epidurals with no success. In 2005 I had a spinal fusion of L4&5 but even after that I still had pain and numbness in my right leg. (That surgery was done by another Dr.) After all the tests were done it was decided that I should have surgery again. Dr. Wagener explains everything so anyone can understand and tells you the pros & cons. I had the surgery on June 15, 2011 & it was the best thing I could have done. Had the surgery in Sacred Heart Hospital & had the best care I have ever had in the hospital. I now can say that my back feels better than it has in about 10 years. I would recomend Dr. Wagener to anyone. He is not just knowledgeable but also a nice & caring person. ”
Dr. Wagener Provided Excellent Care
“ I would like like to thank Dr. Chris Wagener and his staff for the excellent care I received when I had my spinal fusion surgery. Everyone was so friendly and caring. Dr. Wagener did an excellent job explaning the whole procedure, my back has been bad for about 20 years, the pain in my leg was gone immediately after surgery, I am finally able to sit and walk for long periods of time with no pain, his surgery was done with extreme precison, and he took great care to see that he had done his surgery exact. Care in the hospital was great and he came into check me several times after surgery to check in on how I felt, thanks to all. ”
Back Surgery a “Miracle”
“ I spent 10 months with severe back and leg pain. I could not walk or stand for more than 10 minutes without experiencing pain. I tried physical therapy, epidural injections, and months with the chiropractor. I did not get relief until Dr. Wagener performed a surgical "miracle" on my back. I am totally pain free thanks to his skills. ”
Dr. Wagener Responds Quickly to Ease Chronic Neck Pain
“ I was at my wits end with chronic neck pain. Just about the time I thought I could no longer bear any more pain I was introduced to Dr. Christopher Wagener. To my good fortune, a dear friend offered Dr. Wagener’s cell phone number to me and implored me to call him for an opinion. I phoned the doctor early on a Tuesday morning expecting to reach voicemail. Much to my surprise, Dr. Wagener answered his cell phone and I managed to stutter and stammer the reason for my call. Still more shocked, he asked if I could be at his Bethlehem office at 3:00 pm that same day. Wow!! He performed spinal fusion surgery the following Monday. When I woke up in recovery, I could sense the chronic pain had ceased. Truly amazing. Four months into my recuperation, I realize now what a phenomenal experience I have endured. I am so thankful this doctor cared enough to listen to my complaints. I’m grateful this doctor had a logical and modern approach for treatment. Most importantly, I found a physician willing to spend more than 10 minutes with me and who reassured me what I was dealing with was real and not just in my head. I simply want to ask, to plea, that you raise awareness in the Lehigh Valley of the hidden gem located at your facility.  His name is Dr. Christopher Wagener. Please help others find him too. ”
Dr. Wagener Eases Leg Pain Through Surgery
“ I had neurogenic intermittent claudication since 1996 and when symptomatic, I had terrible upper right leg pain which caused me to walk like a 90 year old who needed hip replacement. I went to see Dr. Wagener in December 2009 and he told me my options after seeing the X-rays, MRI, and CT scan. He did an anterior and posterior decompression and stabilization surgery at LV Muhlenberg assisted by Dr. Meir Levi and I can’t say enough about the difference. No more leg pain whatsoever. Dr. Wagener, Dr. Meir Levi along with everyone else involved were a true GODSEND. I could never repay them. Thank you so much!! ”
Former Athlete Finds Back Relief
“ I am a 44 yr old former elite athlete would still trains 14 hours/week. After four painful weeks of c6-c7 herniated disk, and one injection, I was scheduled for surgery in early June 2013; I cancelled the day prior because I wanted to try additional injections and acupuncture. Dr. Wagener was fine with the late cancellation- in fact, he wants patients to do everything possible to avoid surgery.This should be appreciated by patients as many surgeons advise surgery as soon as they can. After an additional injection, which limited the pain but did nothing to restore the 40-50% muscle loss now plaguing my right arm, I had a single level c6-c7 ACDF on July 19. Dr. Wagener and his team were wonderful; I have undergone eight major surgeries at other leading institutions, and this experience ranks among the best. Four weeks post surgery I am working, walking, and biking, even as all the random pain and inconvenience I was told to expect are present.However, the important thing is that the atrophied right triceps is slowly returning to normal, and I hope to regain the muscle loss over the course of 12 months. Dr. Wagener and his assistant are courteous but frank, and answer any questions you may have. Another advantage is that they realize that a fit 44 year old will differ from a weak elderly patient or a fit college kid, and thus do not prescribe the same treatment to everyone. Overall I would not hesitate to say you would be challenged to find a better doctor for help with cervical - and lumbar spine issues. ”
The Best in Spine Care
“ I CANNOT THANK DR.'S WAGENER & STOLL ENOUGH! I WOULD ADVISE SOMEONE TO NOT OVERLY WORRY ABOUT NEEDING EPIDURAL INJECTIONS OR SPINE SURGERY IF YOU ARE IN THEIR CARE! My story is a long one of periods of pain due to degenerative disc disease. Suffice it to say that I have been treated , first by Dr. Scott Stoll (for about 7 years with epidural injections & physical therapy) and 2 weeks ago Dr. Chris Wagener performed surgery on my back. I found that Dr.'s Stoll & Wagener were very similar in some important ways. They are both very intelligent, very knowledgeable/up-to-date, & very caring physicians. I never felt rushed at any appointment & always felt that both of these physicians had my best interest in their minds & hearts.They both "went out of their way" to help me! I would be more happy to talk with any patient about my experiences. ”
Dr. Wagener and staff…AWESOME!
“ I started a new job in July 2012. One day at the end of August I woke up with terrible shoulder/neck pain. I avoided the issue not wanting to take time from a new job and look bad. Fortunately for me I have an awesome boss who saw my condition deteriorating quickly and intensely. By the last week in September I was in such horrific pain in the shoulder/neck but had lost all feeling and function in my right arm and hand. She personally called Dr. Luchetti to set up an appointment for me. I was seen that afternoon but Dr. Luchetti knew immediately it was not my shoulder. He was sure it was my neck. He sent me for an MRI that afternoon and got me an appointment with Dr. Wagener for the following Tuesday, October 2, 2012. I never made the October 2nd appointment. Upon review of my MRI Dr. Wagener called me personally to inform me that he needed to see me that day. That was Friday, September 28th. He advised me that I needed emergency surgery to fix 3 herniated discs in my neck. The debris from the damaged discs was creating all of the pain and paralysis and if he did not do the surgery soon the paralysis could become permanent. He said if he had a room he would do the surgery today. I was the very first surgery performed on Monday, October 1, 2012. I woke up from surgery completely pain free (and I stress completely). I gained all function and most feeling back within weeks. Thanks to the AWESOME team of Doctors and the wonderful hospital staff at Coordinated Health Hospital of Allentown, I was back to health and returned to my desk job within a week. According to Dr. Wagener that is unheard of but when you work for a great organization and a wonderful boss who truly cares you want to get back to work and back to a normal life. I recommend Dr. Luchetti and his team and Dr. Wagener and his team to anyone in need of their services. ”
Joelle O. from Palmer, PA
Back Surgery
“ Thank you for my successful back surgery. You are my Miracle Worker. Sincerely, JGP  ”
J G. from Allentown, PA
Anterior Cervical Discectomy And Fusion
“ I started with Coordinated Health this time with severe neck, shoulder and arm pain. Dr. Wagener started me off working with Dr.Kooch who prescribed physical therapy and medication hoping this would solve the problem before proceeding to surgery. When this failed we then tried the epidural shots which only relieved the pain for a few days. I truly appreciate all the work that Dr. Kooch and his staff provided. They were very thorough and took care of all my questions. When the pain continued I opted for the ACDF surgery which I had on 6/18/14 in the Allentown Hospital. I cannot thank Dr. Wagener and his staff enough for putting me at ease with the surgery and the recovery.He met with me before the surgery to answer any last minute questions. I was then visited by the other members of his team and they explained what each would be doing. The nurses in the hospital were terrific! I apologize but I can only recall Amber's name. I have been pain free since the surgery. My many thanks and gratitute go to Dr. Wagener and his surgical team, Dr. Kooch, Jennifer Kapun, and Colin Bowers for getting me "back to my old self". If anyone has similiar problems please do not hesitate to contact Coordinated Health. ”
Paul B. from Easton, PA
Dr Christopher Wagener and his team
“ Dr Wagener is a miracle worker in green scrubs. to say I was terrified to have this surgery is an understatement but I was to the point I could almost not walk an every step I took I cried I was in such agony is an understatement .. I could not wait to get out of bed after a 4 hr surgery the next day to see if I could walk and I could and i HAVENT STOPPED... .i do have issues now with my right hip if it wasnt for that I could probably be zero pain Im going to hold off on that hip as long as I can I dropped 30 lbs since that surgery and Im hoping if I keep going down maybe that pain in my hip will go away too  If your looking for a dr to visit with you daily and hold your hand thats not Dr Wagener but he is there for you when you need him .. by the way he truly loves all his patients so dont be afraid to seek his help if your a candidate 5+ stars to you and your team well done !!!!! ”
Christine D. from Kunkletown, PA
Emergency Surgery – 3 years later
“ I was so used to back pain, but all the sudden I couldnt feel my feet when I walked. I waited two weeks to tell my husband... Dr. Wagener listened intently to how my life was being affected by the quick deterioration in my back. Though the need for surgery could have been put off for a short while, he opted to send me straight to the hospital. Like he had a sixth sense, in the middle of the night, I lost bladder control... The surgery and hospital experience with his entire staff after care were a delight, if such a thing is possible. Smile. It was a hard, long recovery... No cheating here!!! Follow everything Dr. Wagener says and, in my case. So happily, I'm not in a wheel chair. I don't use a walker or a cane. Yes,there is still pain in my back. Heh! He didn't give me a new back! He just put my fractured one back together and back together it stays. I'm one happy patient and will return to him in a heartbeat, if the need ever arises again. Dr. Wagener is a most excellent surgeon. Thank you so very much Dr. Wagener! ”
Mary K. C. from East Stroudsburg, PA
Follow Up 17 Months Later
“ I had the ACDF surgery in June of '14 with Dr. Wagoner performing it. My life is totally different without the neck,arm and shoulder pain. I was a little uncertain if the relief would last but it has. As I stated in the comments after my surgery, my thanks and blessings go out to Dr. Wagener, Dr Kooch, Jennifer Kapun, Colin Bowers and their staff for changing my life. Coordinated Health is number one on my list. ”
Paul B. from Easton, Pa
End of a journey
“ I was on a three year journey until I met Dr Wagener. Like everyone else with chronic back pain...I tried it all ..after 6 epidural,s not working for me I felt like the music stopped..my days were painful. Dr Wagener was highly recommended to me by my family physician, he told me he was a brilliant spinal surgeon. The first time I met him I knew I made the right decision. He was straight with me and I liked that.He said I wasn.t going to get better without spinal fusion . So I said yes....Rods and screws scared me but I had to get better..I had the surgery in L4 andL5 on Sept 30,2015. . Today I went for my 3 month checkup and had x.rays.He was happy with what he saw..I am starting to heal. Again he was straight with me...this will take a year to fully heal. however.....my pain level went from a 9 to a 2...my legs are stronger..I can stand longer... and I can shop !!!!! I still have to behave and still have some surgery pain...but Dr Wagener changed my daily life ..he is wonderful to talk with. Don,t wait another minute..call him today. Grateful the music started.. Rosalie Aiello ”
Rosalie A. from Phillipsburg, NJ
Life Changing
“ Dr. Wagener is a miracle worker. I had so many people telling me to re-think my decision of moving forward with back surgery but I chose to ignore them. I cannot stress how happy I am that I made my own decision and stuck to it. Other people aren’t living with your pain – they don’t know what you’re feeling on the regular and there’s honestly no easy way to explain or portray it to people. I had episodes of low back pain for at least 10 years. It started when I was in high school mainly due to cheerleading and tumbling. This past January I had another episode just from cleaning out my closet. The pain usually did go away on its own but it was never easy dealing with it until it started to subside. After the episode this January I decided I was going to go to Coordinated and do whatever I could to get my back healthier. They sent me for an MRI and found that I had a disc herniation at L4/L5. I was referred to Physical Therapy, I did pain management and epidurals. The epidurals provided very temporary relief. The pain was horrific. It started affecting my left leg, my big toe on my left foot was numb and it was difficult to stay balanced. I couldn’t drive, I couldn’t sit down at work, I also couldn’t stand long either. I didn’t trust my own body. It would take me up to 10 minutes some days to physically get out of the passenger seat and start walking into the office for work. It was a very scary experience. I met with three separate doctors at Coordinated by the time I finally had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Wagener. He suggested the Microdiscectomy since the herniated disc was resting on the left nerve root. I felt so comfortable and truly cared for by Dr. Wagener that I set up the surgery at my initial appointment. I am so happy I did. The procedure was only about 45 minutes and when I woke up my leg pain/numbing/tingling was gone – it was amazing. I could feel and wiggle my big toe again as well. The pain from the surgery itself was literally next to nothing. I would do it all over again in a heartbeat if I’m in that situation ever again. It’s been a month since my surgery and I am pain free. I feel like I have my life back. I highly recommend Dr. Wagener for any spine related surgeries and can honestly say I trust him and his team 100%. Thank you so much!!! ”
Kelsey M. from Nazareth, PA
My visits are always helping me
“ Dr Smith is a very honest and straight forward Dr with his explanations and procedures  ”
John G. from Bangor, Pa
My Surgery
“ Dr Stoll Dr Jason Smith Dr Wagner Jennifer Kaplin thank you for helping me with all my pain issues, your honest professional advice, and for my pain mgt. I pray I get better and with this team of Great Professional Medical Doctors and Jennifer I can only expect the best moving forward Thank each and every one of you John Gerbino ”
John G. from Bangor, Pa
No more pain! Thank you to a phenomenal doctor!
“ I was having lower back and leg pain for almost a year because of a Disc Herniation! (Was walking with a limp). After going through different types of pain management with no success in relieving the pain, I was referred to Dr. Wagener by my chiropractor. All I have to say is WOW..To make a long story short I had to have surgery to relieve the nerve that my disc was pressing on, hence causing my leg pain. Dr. Wagener was extremely precise from my initial appointment to after the surgery, Every piece of information he gave me about after surgery was on point. It has been 3 weeks since my surgery and I have absolutely no more leg pain! I feel amazing and am healing well! This man has magic hands! Dr. Wagener is a phenomenal and amazing doctor. He is definitely my go to doctor from this point forward and I highly recommend him to anyone needing spinal surgery! I also do not want to leave out the staff at Coordinated Health. They were superb, friendly, professional and did not leave my side for a minute! ”
Vicky S. from Bethlehem, Pennsylvania
My Neck and Arm Pain Vanished!
“ This year I got a neck injury while operating machinery. I went to Coordinated Health after home remedies did not work. Dr. Jason Smith and staff helped me through medication and epidural shots. Although that did not work the staff was very gracious to me even after a referral to Dr. C Wagener. After MRI procedure it was decided to perform an ACDF surgery to relieve the pain (and it was conciderable and debilitating). The operation went much more smoothly than I expected with little after operation pain or discomfort . I want to thank Dr. Wagener, his staff, Jen Kapun, CRNP and especially the nursing group at Allentown hospital on Cedar Crest Blvd. ”
Anthony C. from Easton, Pa
Back pain is gone
“ Surgery for disc decompression December 7. Now Dec 25. It is fixed thank the Lord. My entire mood was terrible since the summer. After Dr. Mazza recommended Dr. Wagener I went to visit. In 3 seconds he found my trouble spot. Had a sort of rough spot after waking up from surgery. That's because I had a major anxiety attack after. I was out of it. The nurses were so amazing. Laura Tracy and Debbie. After I woke up they helped me hugely. It was hard to move but I knew my primary concern was fixed, just the incision part hurt. I stayed over night. Private room. I did not want to leave. The food was great and healthy. Don't be nervous it will be okay. Laura was especially nice. I had gas burps badly and she rubbed my back. So nice and patient. Caring and understanding with my meltdown. Lots of different feelings since the summer thinking it will never be fixed. I don't even walk like a robot anymore. I go tomorrow for a follow up. The procedure was disc decompression. Just taking parts off bone that was hitting nerves. If I have any other issues besides my back I'm going back to Coordinated Health. Neck knee foot etc. Thank you everyone.  ”
Lucas S. from Effort , Pa
Caring Back Doctor
“ I was at a point where I couldn't stand any longer without shooting nerve pain going down my legs. Dr. Wagener took the time to talk to me and care, which meant so much. And I truly believe he cares for his patients, which earns trust. I no longer experience back pain and I'm now doing Crossfit. I thank him so much for helping me. God bless you. ”
Kim Y. from Zion Grove, PA
“ Dr. Christopher Wagener took the time to explain the procedure and showed me the utmost care that many doctors lack in today's time. I really felt he cares about his patients and making them feel better. He performed spinal surgery on me a few years ago and I'm fully recovered. I now do cross fit and do not experience any back pain. He saved my life! Thank you so much. ”
Kim Y. from Zion Grove, PA
Dr. Wagener saved my life
“ I spent a year and a half suffering leg and low back pain, struggling to sit, stand, bend over, you name it. I couldn't put shoes or socks on for a year. I tried other things and could not get any relief from epidurals or PT. One of my friends had a similar procedure done with Dr. Wagener and highly recommended that I see him. I cannot thank that person enough, he had me in and out of the office within minutes of my arrival for all my appointments no waiting around and they scheduled my MRI for the same day so we did not have to drive back and forth from home which was an hour away. At 19 years old, I was at the point where I couldn't bare living with it anymore and after getting the microdisectomy, I've gone on to play college football again and have felt better than I ever have. Dr. Wagener honestly saved my life and allowed me to get back to the things I love to do most. Since the procedure, I have recommended him to many friends all who have had positive experiences. If there's one doctor you need to see, it's Dr. Wagener. ”
Ryan N. from Hatfield, PA
Thank God for you!
“ Dr. Wagener performed surgery on my back after another doctor messed it up really bad. I was in pain for almost 16 months listening to my other doctor. I couldn't even stand for longer than 20 seconds, I felt like a knife was going from my knee to my ankle. My other doctor from LVH said there was nothing wrong with me! I finally went for a second opinion and thank God I did. Dr. Wagener saved me! He operated on me and I walked out of there a new person! Thank you so much! ”
Donna M. from Allentown, PA
If you read just one, please read this testimonial
“ Dr. Wagener literally changed the arc of my life on Aug. 5, 2019 when he completed what essentially was two and one half fusions. He told me he was going to completely clear our around the nerves as best as he could, fuse L3/4 and L4/5 with tissue and metal, and see what he could do on the right side of L5/S1, which looked on the scan like two incisors growing toward each other! He managed to get tissue material between them and constructed a 'column' around them so that nerve regeneration would 'grown down the column' and not get mangled in between the vertebrae. Dr. Wagener is fantastic and loves his work, but only operates on those who his years of experience tells him puts the odds of success in your favor. His entire team is wonderful, from Nurse Melissa S. at 1503, Nurse Jenn K. at 1621, Clinic Manager Kim S. and my rehab contact, Dana P., I cannot express how supportive, professional , and attentive everyone is in their dedication to your successful outcome at Coordinated Health. I had two previous surgeries in 01/2017 and 05/2018, and I believe this will be the total relief I prayed for. It will be 11 weeks tomorrow and my severe sciatic pain is gone, my back if healing fine and I no longer need Tylenol or my back brace, and my feet are slowly returning to normal. Normal healing can take six to twelve months, and in some cases, eighteen months. My advice is to go with Dr. Wagener if he feels he can help you. He and his entire team are dedicated to making you well, and they are very, very good at what they do. I have no words to thank them sufficiently for what they accomplished for me. I'm back to walking my dogs in the morning, something that had become almost impossible for the last six months. Thank you Dr. Wagener, and "The Team". ”
Randall H. from Mechanicsburg, PA
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