Patient Testimonials

The Jon Wilhite Story



Doctor Bhatia and his team has been treating me for 5 years now, they all feel like part of my family. When you are in constant back pain it's hard to be positive about anything, and even more Difficult to trust a surgeon. I have never met a surgeon that it only is one of the top in the country but also has thee best bed side manors and has a heart of gold. His PA Floricia is such a wonderful, smart, loyal, beautiful in and out, hard working Angel. I have emailed her I'm sure at least 100 times in the last 5 years and she has always returned my email within a few hours, Doctor Bhatia has as well. I had a fusion surgery on my L5-S1 a few years ago and then a year later Doctor Bhatia removes my bolts and screws from the fusion since they were causing me so much pain. Stop looking and book with Doctor Bhatia and his amazing team, you won't regret it!!!! Just so you know it does take a while to get in to see him, yes he's that good and he is usually 30 minutes late But there is a reason for that, he spends a lot of time with each patient to really understand and figure out what is going on with you. So please be patient and know you are in wonderful hands!


I had an excellent outcome from C-spine surgery. The Doctor was courteous and kind and I am a difficult fearful patient. He was very patient. His staff is not always knowledgeable and can sometime seem uncaring. Followup care is scheduled by his staff. As long as you do not defer from their schedule, everything goes fine. His staff leaves something to be desired, but the doctor is excellent.


I've been going to Doctor Bhatia for a few years now, hands down one of the most passionate, considerate, extremely dedicated surgeons I have encountered. He is a brilliant man which is I portent but then add the best bed side manors, perfect doctor. When I first met up with Bhatia a few years ago he said I wasn't ready for a fusion lumbar and I would know when I was. I appreciated the fact he just didn't try to cut me open unless. He really thought I needed it. A year ago I was bone on bone and we both agreed it was time. It was a long recovery but having him by my side and his oh so amazing PA, Floricia has all been worth it. They both treat you like there are no other patients and you are it. I hifelt recommend him and his team. UCI is a wonderful hospital with great nurses and wonderful care.


I have to be honest, I've been a patient of Dr Bhatia since 2009. He was my second opinion at that time. I've seen some of the negative reviews but I've only seen an amazing side of this doctor. To be fair I go to the Costa Mesa office and make my appointment the first of the day so I haven't experienced wait times. The UCI/Orange Clinic usually has a significant wait and it isn't a fancy place. He is an amazing Dr with an amazing bedside manner. He has done surgery on my lower back twice, it isn't fun but he has helped my pain tremendously. But I agree, it is always a good idea to get a second opinion. The UCI Hospital is amazing.


Doctor Bhatia is incredibly smart, conservative , very friendly and excellent at what he does. I just had a L5-S1 fusion and cyst at Douglas Hospital UCI for 5 days. I went to 4 doctors before I decided this is where I belonged. This was a four year battle with non stop back pain. I had degenerative disc disease in my early 30's. They said my disc looked like an. 80 year old disc. I tried everything from PT, injections, nerve burning, anti inflammatory diet, Pilates I even purchased a reformer machine , acupuncture, meds and finally couldn't stand the pain anymore. Two years ago I went to see Doctor Bhatia and he didn't think I was ready yet, I was still pretty active even though I had pain and I had young boys at home that really needed their momma. So mid Feb two years later the pain got worse and I couldn't stand it anymore I went back to Doctor Bhatias office. Even though it had been two years he treated me like we were friends, he listened to me, he answered all my questions and my new MRI showed I was bone on bone and it was time to have an L5-S1 fusion. Don't look anymore, go see Bhatia he is so worth it!!!! Oh and I love love love his PA Floricia, she is so sweet and caring. I adore her. She always gets back to my emails right away and really does care about me which is humbling .


I have been in a lot of lower back pain for over three years. I have done everything they have asked. From injections, pt, yoga, Pilates , rest, meds.... When I saw Doctor Bhatia almost two years ago he said I wasn't ready. I have to admit at the time I was upset but mentally was not ready for a L5 fusion. After trying everything I can safely say with confidence I am ready for surgery. Today I spent a good amount of time with Doctor Bhatia, he answered all my questions, is sending me out for ct scan X-ray but told me i am ready for the surgery. I know he an excellent surgeon and I will be in great hands. His office us extremely professional and very sweet. I didn't wait @ all and doctor bhatia was not rushed with me and waited until I was finished with all my questions . I will write a review after my surgery .


I have been a patient of Dr Bhatia for more than four years and had lumbar fusion in 10/09. I love him and his staff, they are extremely responsive to my needs. I wasn't thrilled with the UCI clinic but have since switched to their Costa Mesa Office. Going to Dr Bhatia and having surgery was the best decision of my life. Every time I have a followup I feel that he will be supporting me for years to come. His PA is also wonderful. I can count on her to meet any of my requests for prescriptions or anything else I need for my continued back health. I highly recommend Dr Bharia.


Dr. Nitin Bhatia is extremely knowledgeable and thoughtful both during his diagnosis, surgical care and post-op visit. I had a spinal fusion and laminectomy due to all the nerve pain I was having down both legs. Post-op, I was walking the next day and flew home in 4 days. What makes Dr. Bhatia unique from other Orthopedic Surgeons is that he has a fellowship in both spine and neuro. Combined with his passion for this patients well-being makes him a 4 out of 4-star surgeon.


My husband and I saw 4 other ortho guys before Dr.Bhatia. @ told him he did not need surgery, 1 wanted to gut him like a fish and 1 was a little too conservative and potentially could have convinced us that less surgery was the way to go. First, I have to say, I don't know who was working in his office when someone went and was treated rudely. We saw him in the office in Newport Beach and the front office woman working there was about THE NICEST Dr. office admin person I have ever met. We got an appt within a week of requesting one, waited maybe 10-15 minutes max, I really don't think it was even that long. Saw the PA in about 10 minutes and after her eval saw Dr. Bhatia in about 10 minutes. He was compassionate and explained everything in a way that helped us understand the situation. I will right another review later but I think Dr.Bhatia is TOP NOTCH, he has LOTS of education and has helped some pretty high profiled people. I give him and "A+" so far. I am sure I will not be disappointed. We schedule my husbands surgery this week. I would recommend him. When we went to see him initially for third opinion, and went there thinking we were probably going to go with our 2nd opinion. Half way through our office visit we both decided, "this is our guy". Thanks Dr. Bhatia!


OUTSTANDING DOCTOR--very professional and compassionate. Surgery by Dr. Bhatia was a complete success. I would highly recommend him to anyone suffering with a spine problem.


I saw a bunch of surgeons in Orange County. Dr. Bhatia was the only one who actually explained my problem and my options. I did ultimately have surgery with him and it went great! His credentials are amazing too.


Here we are a year after my spinal fusion, let's just say I've seen Doctor Bhatia and his amazing PA more then some of my family members. Sadly I have genetic back issues that won't be getting better but I know I am in good hands with a Doctor Bhatia. Next week he is going in to take out my bolts and screws from my fusion last year and shave off my tail bone since it is causing some issues.
Doctor Bhatia and his team is extremely professional, he is smart, kind the best bed side manors I have ever seen. He doesn't rush to cut you open, he listens and comes up with the best possible plan.
Again! Don't think twice, go see Bhatia if you have back or neck pain.


I would recommend Dr Bhatia to anyone. I work in healthcare and have been on both sides of the healthcare giving/receiving relationship. I can say confidently that this office does it right. I had such a good experience from start to finish. The whole office was ultra-professional and when I came out I felt that all of my questions were answered. Dr. Bhatia was so knowledgeable, evidence based, and, most importantly, personable. If my own mother has spinal issues, I'll be sending her there. That's the strongest recommendation I can give.


The best doctor I have encountered.....performed a 4 level fusion....going into postoperative week 4....recovering nicely....dr bhatia is the kindness physician, super caring, a great personality, would definitely recommend him....


Dr. Bhatia is an excellent.physician. He's got savvy medical expertise as well as a kind bedside manner. He's also conservative about recommending surgery. His office staff are friendly and efficient.


My boyfriend had an early morning appointment with Dr. Bhatia for an L5-S1 herniation he has struggled with for almost a year. Bhatia took extra time to go over an MRI with him and even provided emotional support/understanding in a professional way. Dr. Bhatia did not push for surgery which was reassuring, and my boyfriend left his office with a great excercise sheet and a reference for a good doctor who could provide additional help. We left knowing exactly what my boyfriends next plan of action was to be. Until this visit we both had felt a little lost.
He is a class act and his physicians assistant was great as well.
His front desk ladies were also very lovely and they had a Keurig coffee machine and TV for while I waited,. This was not an "in and out" session. Dr. Bhatia went above and beyond, and we are very pleased!


I saw Dr. Bhatia after my uncle recommended him to me. I am so happy he did. I went to Newport Orthopedic Center to get an epidural (avoid Newport Orthopedic if you can) and saw Dr. Bhatia following that procedure for my herniated disc at L5-S1. He has the best bedside manner of any doctor I've seen. He took his time with me and had a conservative approach to surgery. I even called him a week later to schedule a surgery because my epidural didn't help as much as I hoped and he said to see him in a few weeks (after the second epidural) and to wait on surgery. His first choice is to avoid it if possible. I feel like some doctors would schedule that appointment just to make money.
His P.A. was also very friendly and helpful. If you have questions, feel free to use the email listed on their website as they will respond.
Now, if I could just find a Primary Care doctor with the same level of expertise, compassion and attitude. :-)
I highly recommend Dr. Bhatia.


Dr. Bhatia is perhaps the most skilled spinal surgeon in the United States. His extensive back surgery on me when I was 59 for multiple ruptured discs and severe spinal stenosis literally saved my life. Recovery was free of all pain after around a week and I did not take any pain pills past 10 days. There is no better surgeon and his confidence and demeanor as a person is unmatched. I was told by country club orthopedists just to live with the pain and take shots. Thankfully I sought out Dr. Bhatia instead!! Playing golf now twice per week and a 14HDCP!!


Dr.Bhatia is fantastic! I had spine surgery in April to fuse the first and second bones in my neck and I wouldn't want to have gone to anyone else! He was my second opinion due to the first doctor saying everything was fine(which it wasn't). He has a great bedside manor and actually takes the time to listen to your concerns. His PA is also very nice and they both have available appointments when you need to get in. He's the best!


I got lucky to have this surgeon. I had some pain that I believed to be another recurring inguinal hernia that I had while in the Army. A lengthy 6 months of trying to figure it out with the VA finally ruled that out. I lived down the street from UC Irvine Medical Center at the time and figured since they were a teaching hospital with many residents in various disciplines along with being the only Level 1 trauma center in Orange County, they must have good medical care. I saw a general physician who referred me to Dr Bhatia who is at UCI a few days a week. He is super nice and friendly and his entire staff there are as well. I first saw him in summer 2011 and he sent me off for an MRI. Sure enough I had a herniated L5 S1. He said I was too young for surgery (I was 33 at the time) and said the body will usually adapt to this injury and over time I would feel much better. He sent me off with some medication and sure enough he was right. I would have very painful flare ups every few months or so but nothing I couldn't handle periodically. He recommended I see a pain management doctor but I passed and just did the exercises on a sheet he provided me along with my normal exercise routine. Fast forward to summer 2013 something happened and I was in constant pain nearly 24/7. Sometimes it was crushing and debilitating and sometimes it was just a sensation I would feel in my back and left leg. I saw him again, we do another MRI, and I finally started seeing the pain doctor he recommended. He still wanted to wait to do surgery on me. 3 epidurals with the pain doctor did nothing so Dr. Bhatia said it was time for surgery. I scheduled the surgery for a few months later primarily because work is slower around the holiday season. By the time surgery day came I could barely stand on my feet for 20-30 minutes without being in so much pain I could barely walk. Anyway, Dr Bhatia explained the whole process to me and my family in a way that was easy to comprehend. His PA was the same and very friendly. On November 10 he performed a microdiscectomy on me and the wifey and the rest of my family were very impressed with his professionalism and his overall demeanor during the entire process. The same day I was able to walk, albeit slowly, but aside from pain from the surgical site I felt much better. He and my pain doctor both told me that I would feel immediate relief but some pain would last for several months to a year due to having the nerve being compressed for so long. It's been 3 weeks since the surgery and I have had some bad days, some good days, and some so so days. Overall I feel progress and that I am moving in the right direction. I would highly recommend him if you live in OC. If you have any reservations about seeing him, just Google "Nick Adenhart Dr. Bhatia." Adenhart is the Angels pitcher that was tragically killed by a drunk driver. There was one survivor in the crash who was internally decapitated. Dr Bhatia was his surgeon who reattached the guy's spine to his skull. Not only did the victim survive, he is walking and talking. Incredible. I was nervous of course about surgery but always felt I was in good hands with Dr Bhatia, his staff, and UCI Medical Center. I figured if he could reattach skulls, my surgery was child's play compared to that. When I said that to him he told me that my surgery was just as important to him as that one was and he would put in the same care and attention as he did with that surgery to mine. He is a sharp guy and a class act with a great personality. I highly recommend him.


Dr. Bhatia was fantastic. I had excruciating pain in my lower back. I already had my MRI but the Newport Beach Doctor I was seeing could not get me in for a moth and a half to read it (absurd!). That's when we asked an ER physician friend of ours for a referral. He told us about Dr. Bhatia and boy was that a great recommendation. Dr. Bhatia was also scheduling out about a month but I called his office inquiring about cancelations and they got me right in. His bedside manners were great. Super professional and seemed like he truly cared. I had a disk herniation and he did not want to do surgery. He first wanted to take the conservative approach and suggested an epidural and some PT afterwards. By going to him, he saved me about a month of agonizing pain waiting for the other doc to see me. Got the appointment to do the epidural right away and hopefully I am on my way to recovery. I would highly recommend Dr. Bhatia.


Simply the best orthopedic spine surgeon on the planet. I had surgery with Dr. Bhatia 2 years ago. The day after, I felt better than I had in years! All pain was gone. I have a degenerative condition related to psoriatic arthritis and need more surgeries. Dr. Bhatia is the ONLY doc who I will let cut me. He and his PA, Florica are beyond comparison. They have amazing bedside manner and treat patients like family. I wish all docs were like Nitin Bhatia. I can't say enough good about him.


After many months of pain due to spondylolisthesis and 3 epidural injections, I decided to have back surgery. I was referred to Dr. Bhatia. He patiently explained my condition and the fusion procedure. I had visited 4 other orthopedic doctors but from the first moments I met Dr. Bhatia, I knew I found my surgeon. He is the best. it has been over two years since my back surgery and I feel great! no more pain and I can go hiking, to gym, swim, lift weighs... I highly recommend him.


An Angel is what he is!!! I'm a complicated case and have had two surgeries performed by Bhatia and he still wants me to check in with him. I am now seeing his partner Gupta regarding Scapula Winging and they both talk all the time and Doctor Bhatia is concerned about me and how I am doing. Both surgeries were a success and sadly I think I may need more in the future. But I know I have an Angel by my side... and his PA! Florica is the best. Stop looking, promise you he is worth the wait!


This man is my hero. I've had lumbar fusion surgery in 2009 And 2014. Without these two successful surgeries I would be living in constant pain. I would recommend him to anyone. A major plus is a wonderful personality and bedside matter.


As I write this review, I am 3.5 weeks out from surgery. I had a lumbar fusion of L4&5 with instrumentation and I'm doing very well. Starting with my first visit, for the purpose getting a second surgical opinion, I was very comfortable with Dr Bhatia and his staff. He took his time, made sure all my questions were answered and that I felt comfortable with the information provided. His surgical staff at UCI was and is amazing. There is no doubt as to why he has such an amazing reputation.

A Patient’s Story: From Crippling Back Pain to a Return to Active Motherhood



Kalei Watt is an energetic mother of three young girls. She loves to exercise at a gym, play tennis and participate in all the activities involved in raising her children.
In late 2006, a car accident changed that. The accident caused discs in her lower back to shift out of position, creating excruciating pain as the bones of her spine rubbed against each other. Her doctor prescribed a heavy regimen of pain-killing drugs.
“I was told I had to take them, but it was awful,” Watt said. “I drive a lot because of my girls, and getting in and out of the car used to kill me. I would cry right in front of my kids, the pain was so bad.”
“I couldn’t live like that. I needed to be healthy again and have a clear head. I had to figure out a better way.”
She was referred to Dr. Nitin Bhatia, a fellowship-trained orthopedic spine surgeon and co-director of the UC Irvine Comprehensive Spine Program. Dr. Bhatia determined that Watt was a candidate for a minimally invasive fusion procedure in which he would screw together her L5 vertebra and the bone just below it, the sacrum, or S1.
“I had been anti-surgery but at that point I was willing to do whatever it took,” Watt said.
In late October 2007, Dr. Bhatia made two tiny incisions in Watt’s lower back to insert the surgical instruments and materials, then fused the bones. Watt was up and moving the next day. Within six weeks, Watt was completely mobile and pain-free, even stopping the Tylenol she took post-surgery.
She has nothing but praise for Dr. Bhatia. He always had time for her questions and concerns, she said. “Throughout the whole process he has been calming, kind, thorough, and I have never felt rushed.”
The active mother’s recovery is near complete. “I’ve been on zero medications for the past 1-1/2 months,” Watt said. “I can bend over and pick up things. Dr. Bhatia thinks I might be able to play tennis soon…Dr. Bhatia gave me my life back.”

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