On Wednesday 27th September., Mr James Wilson-MacDonald, a consultant spinal surgeon, addressed the Medical Society on the topic of "Spinal Surgery".
He began by highlighting the different conditions that might require intervention by spinal surgery, such as a cancerous tumour. He went on to discuss the importance of anatomy and having a knowledge of it when performing spinal surgery, such as a deep understanding of the blood vessels, muscles and organs a spinal surgeon might encounter. We learnt that contrary to common thought, the spine is located in the middle of the trunk as opposed to towards the back, and the different approaches one has to take to reach the spine as a result. Then he moved onto the importance of research and discussed the pros and cons of whether or not to fuse vertebrae, as well as the use of instrumentation. Another aspect of research shown to us was the use of titanium ribs (or "growing rods") which can be used to treat children who have congenital scoliosis. This results in increased quality of life by curing their condition, as well as allowing them to continue growing, as opposed to fusing vertebrae which would prevent growth.
Mr Wilson-MacDonald then went on to discuss clinical negligence in the spinal surgical field, giving the example of the highest monetary court settlement to a patient for clinical negligence in spinal surgery, which paid out around £11.5 million.
Questions asked at the end ranged from "How do we artificially emulate the manner in which a disc works in implants?" to "How do you deal with infections in spinal surgery?" to "What sport leads to the most spinal injuries?"