Frederick B. Harris, MD, MS, FAANS, is a Board Certified Neurosurgeon with 18 years of experience in treating patients with both spine and brain pathologies. Dr. Harris previously had a career as an Engineer at NASA and the Department of Defense and changed careers to pursue his dream of becoming a Neurosurgeon. His special areas of interest include complex cervical, thoracic and lumbar surgery, adult spinal deformity/scoliosis treatment, revision surgery of the cervical, thoracic and lumbar spine, minimally invasive spinal surgery for herniated disk and lumbar fusions, spinal tumors both inside and outside the spinal cord and spinal canal, brain tumors, adult Chiari malformations, traumatic brain injury and sports related brain injury.
Dr. Harris believes in carefully listening to and understanding the concerns, symptoms and fears of each patient, while clearly explaining their neurological condition and plan of treatment to their satisfaction. He would like each patient and their family members to leave his office with the comfort and understanding of their next phase of care with all questions answered.
Neurosurgery, including brain tumors, adult Chiari malformations, traumatic brain injury, and sports related brain injury
Spine and neck care, including decompression of cervical stenosis and herniated disk (anterior and posterior approaches), artificial cervical disk replacement, complex cervical surgery including cervical fusions, cervical fractures, chin on chest syndrome, and cervical revision surgery
Lumbar surgery, including minimally invasive spinal surgery for herniated disk and lumbar fusions, resection of synovial cyst, revision surgery of failed back surgical syndrome, open anterior and posterior lumbar fusions, surgery for all grades of spondylolisthesis, and treatment of fractures of the lumbar and thoracic spine
Spinal tumors/oncology, including tumors of the spine and spinal cord both primary and metastatic
Spinal deformity, including correction of scoliosis and kyphoscoliosis, failed back surgical syndrome, flat back syndrome, and high grade spondylolisthesis
Robotic-assisted complex spine surgery, including scoliosis correction, revision fusion surgery, and degenerative spinal fusions
Board Certified, American Board of Neurological Surgery
University of Tennessee-Memphis Health Science Center, Department of Neurological Surgery, Memphis, Tennessee
The Ohio State University College of Medicine, Columbus, Ohio
University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, Master of Science in Biomedical Engineering
Southern University and A&M College, Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering
Hospital & Surgery Center Affiliations
Eagan Orthopedic Surgery Center
M Health Fairview Ridges
M Health Fairview Southdale
Minnesota Valley Surgery Center
American Association of Neurological Surgeons, Active Member
Congress of Neurological Surgeons, Active Member
North American Spine Society, Member
Achievements & Awards
Fairview Health Foundation Champion of Care award (2015)
Top Doctor award Duluth-Superior News Tribune (2010)
Richard L. Desaussure Jr. MD Excellence in Neurosurgery Award (2007)
National Medical Fellowships, Inc. NMF Scholar (1998 and 1999)
Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard U./Merck, Summer Research Trainee Program (1998)
Samuel J. Roessler Research Fellowship, The Ohio State University College of Medicine (1998)
National Medical Fellowships, Inc. NMF Scholar (1997)
Biomedical Engineering Graduate Research Fellowship, U. of Texas SWMC at Dallas (1994)
The State of Texas Graduate Research Assistantship, U. of Texas SWMC at Dallas (1994)
Southern University Chancellor’s Scholarship
Southern University Engineering Scholarship
Dean’s List, College of Engineering, Southern University
Staff Neurosurgeon, Fairview Southdale and Ridges Spine and Brain Clinic, Edina, Burnsville and Fridley, MN (2014 – 2019)
Staff Neurosurgeon, Section of Neurosurgery, Essentia Health East, Duluth, MN (2007 – 2014)
I am so appreciative of Dr. Harris, his time, his talented surgical hands (among other staff), and how he went above and beyond by meeting with me and performing surgery on my back. His dedication to helping me so promptly means more than words can express. I thank you immensely.
January 24, 2023
Dr. Harris performed L4-5 spinal fusion in December 2022. I want to thank him for a great post-op experience. I am very thankful for the pain relief he has provided me. I have been very cautious but the progress has been above my expectations. Thank you for finally giving me hope of an active life again. I want people to know how much your surgical skills are appreciated by your patients.
January 10, 2023
I want to thank Dr. Harris for being willing to schedule me for surgery on his day off, when he and his family were trying to leave for Florida. I was a brand new patient he had never met. I am astounded at his kindness and generosity. Immediate surgery was the best Christmas present I have ever received. Also, many thanks to his family who allowed him to do my surgery that day. I was in pain and not sleeping well since my injury in November 2022. Initially, I was told the surgery could take a few weeks to be scheduled. I was going to be patient and wait for my surgery, but I didn’t understand that my broken disc could move and cause the possible loss of bladder and bowel function. I am an active person and definitely would have done something to make that worse. My family and I are so grateful for Dr. Harris. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
September 8, 2022
It is my 2-year anniversary from brain surgery this September. I just wanted to thank Dr. Harris for all that he did for me and my family. My brain is now clear of tumors. There’s no doubt it’s been a roller coaster ride but I’m still here. I lost use of my right leg in December. By April it started to come back and I am now doing PT to try and gain more strength. I am happy and that I can at least balance and kind of walk on it. It’s not pretty but it’s better than having no use at all. A continued work in progress. None of the chemo seemed to work for me but the Avastin treatments are doing a great job. Words can’t match how incredibly grateful we are that God placed us in Dr. Harris’ path. Figuring out what was wrong with me: WOW!! Completing surgery: AMAZING!! Giving me more time with my husband, kids, family and grandchildren: PRICELESS!! He is forever in our hearts and part of our crazy family. Bless you Dr. Harris.
July 6, 2022
I had gone in to TCO for arm numbness and was hoping to get a PT referral. I was not expecting to find out I needed a cervical fusion and was very surprised in the office to find out I was going to have a major surgery. This was due to the fact that I had spinal cord impingement on MRI. I was scared and nervous. Dr. Harris and his NP, Lisa Benedetto, spent time answering all my questions. I never felt rushed or hurried along during my appts. On the day of surgery, Dr. Harris stopped in to see me before surgery and spent time talking with me about what to expect during/after surgery. He wasn’t rushed at all and made me feel more comfortable. The surgery itself was honestly easier than I was expecting. I had numbness in my left arm almost all the time before surgery. After surgery, this has completely resolved. Pain management was very good after surgery. They were clear on restrictions and possible side effects from surgery, so I knew what to expect at every stage. Jenny, the care coordinator, was able to help me to coordinate disability with my employer and was very helpful. She answered questions left on voicemail or via email in a timely manner. I did call to ask a question a few weeks after surgery, and the response time getting back to me was very short. Staff at TCO is all great, but this team (Dr Harris, Lisa Benedetto, and Jenny) all surpassed my expectations. I would 100% recommend this doctor for any issues involving your spinal cord, neck, or back.
March 2, 2022
Dr. Harris gave me my life back. I cannot thank him enough for that! I hope he knows what a gift he is to the world. I am so grateful to have found him.
August 24, 2021
It was so nice to meet Dr. Harris and consult with him on August 16, 2021. I am very grateful for him taking the time to listen and explain to me in detail what may be the most positive outcome of a surgical intervention. There has not been reason to be very hopeful for quite a few years and I am glad I was guided to him as a surgeon. Thank you again, so very much, for taking my case. Wishing good health to all!
June 22, 2021
Mary Jane S.
My mother, Nancy, was a patient of Dr. Harris in June of 2016. He and his staff performed a life changing operation. Dr. Harris is an honorary member of the family…only if he wants to be!
April 6, 2021
had my first back surgery in 1998. It was a L4-L5 discectomy. I did not recover well from that surgery. I was left with a lot of scar tissue that was interfering with nerves and causing lots of pain. I had my second back surgery in 2000, which was also a L4-L5 discectomy. This surgery left even more scar tissue and so my journey with pain continued.
For the next twenty years, I battled with low back pain, low leg pain and foot pain. I lost count of how many steroid injections I received in this time frame (I am guessing around 30). I had to treat my pain with pain medication. I was taking a narcotic pain medication for 22 years. Not too many days went by that I didn’t need to take the pills. I also had three RFAs (radio frequency ablation) and plenty of physical therapy.
In late 2019, my back pain, leg and foot pain were becoming unbearable. My pain specialist recommended I go see Dr. Frederick Harris, which turned out to be the greatest advice I have ever received. My first impression of Dr. Harris was awesome! He was friendly, patient and a great listener. I knew right away that I liked him and, most importantly, I trusted him. He ordered an MRI so that he could see exactly what was going on with my low back.
I went home and read Dr. Harris’ bio on the TCO web site. He was working as an engineer for NASA. But he know in his heart, he was here to make a difference in people’s lives. He decided to chase him dream of becoming a neurosurgeon.
My second appointment was where I learned I had a herniation at L4-L5 and L5-S1. I also learned that I broke my back! The bone that held L5 and S1 vertebrae’s together had broken clean through and my spine shifted out of place. Dr. Harris performed my 3rd back surgery. He removed the disks between L4-L5 and L5-S1, removed the broken bone, fused L4 through S1 with metal spacers, two rods and six screws. He also, very meticulously, freed up all the nerves from scar tissue. This is what separates Dr. Harris from everyone else!
My full recovery took a year but I feel great! I don’t need any pain medication or treatments. I do stretching and an exercise program daily to keep my back and core strong. I am looking forward to playing golf this summer. The results of this surgery has changed my life! Dr. Frederick Harris is an angel sent from heaven! Thank you for following your dreams. I can’t thank you enough Dr. Harris, but THANK YOU!
October 22, 2020
I want to thank Dr. Harris so much for taking care of me and getting me back on my feet. When it looked like it may be days before a spot was open for surgery, it felt like he moved mountains and went above and beyond to make things happen and got me into surgery first thing the next day. That was the care and relief I needed. He has an incredible team working with him that got results. I would like to thank them as well, as I know they also went out of their way to provide me with great care in such a short time. Dr. Harris is an absolute miracle worker, the relief from pain due to the herniated disc was immediate and such a huge relief. He is a GREAT surgeon, great man, and hero to me.
August 13, 2020
Dr. Harris and his team truly changed my life! Numbness and pain in my arms and hands along with continuous back pain had greatly reduced my abilities to do anything. Walking was very difficult and being able to do normal things was impossible. They evaluated my situation and Dr. Harris fully explained his plan to correct my spinal issues. I had previous back surgeries along with fusion and knew the painful process and recovery. Following 2 long surgery procedures my recovery was much less painful then my previous experience and I feel that I have gotten my life back! I can walk without pain, no longer have pain or numbness in my arms or hands and am slowly getting back to things I have not done for years. I am truly grateful to Dr. Harris and his staff for their fine work and kindness.
May 26, 2020
Dr. Harris performed spine surgery on me to alleviate a compressed L4-L5 vertebrae. I would have the surgery done again in a heartbeat. I am now able to walk, swim and move about in a more normal way. His surgical skill is remarkable and his personal care with his patients, his surgical team and the nurses is widely appreciated. Thanks to his listening skills and his ability to interpret, the procedure it was comforting to have him as my surgeon.
October 29, 2019
Dr. Harris is a miracle worker. I had severe back pain for at least 2 years, but was kind of leery about who to go to for this back pain. My primary doctor, Dr. Jason Nowak of Fairview, suggested Dr. Harris. When viewing the MRI, Dr. Harris looked at me and said “I can fix this”. I pondered for a month and checked other doctor’s bios. When I read Dr. Harris’ bio, I was amazed. I went with him and I’m glad I did. He explained the procedure, recovery time and 3-day hospital stay. He even came to check up on Mother’s Day. If you’re suffering from spinal pain or some other nerve pain, I would recommend Dr. Harris in a heartbeat.
April 12, 2019
In September of 2017, I had come to the end of my proverbial rope. After a fall in 1978 of approximately 30 feet, I had some 14 major back and neck surgeries and was now in so much pain I was ready to give up. Seven years earlier the head of Neurosurgery at a very prominent hospital told me when I came for a much anticipated appointment, “if anyone ever tells you they can help you they’re pulling your leg”. I left devastated, in tears and did not really know how much longer or how much worse things could get.
Things indeed did get worse and over the next seven years my 6 foot 6 inch frame folded over too about 5’7”. The pain was completely over the top when I decided I had two choices; one very final, the other was search for a surgeon capable and willing to save my life. I started searching for Twin Cities Neurosurgeons and actually read the bio’s when I stumbled on Dr. Harris. In bold type he stated that he specialized in brain and complex spinal surgery. I had no choice but to see if he was serious, my appointment was made.
His staff treated me with a great deal of respect and seemed to streamline the process because the next thing I knew I was standing in front of Dr. Harris being told that he could help me! He warned me that it would be the worst thing I had ever been through and I kind-of chuckled because I had been through staph infections of the spine, multiple 3+ level fusions, I didn’t think I had anything to lose.
The 13 hour surgery was all that Dr. Harris promised. He removed a four level bad fusion done in 1988 and then went on to fuse virtually everything but the kitchen sink. I was up and walking the first day after surgery with huge grin on my face as I again stood 6ft 5in tall. In May of 2018, seven months after surgery I played golf for the first time in ten years without any increased pain. Yes my swing was really ugly but it didn’t matter, it was fantastic. The improvement in my quality of life cannot be understated, you need to be patient and persistent and understand you have a very long road ahead and the possibility of a much better outlook for tomorrow.
The recovery took a little over a year but Dr. Harris most definitely saved my life on October the 19th, 2017.