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Minimally Invasive Spinal Surgery Fellowship at Mater Neurosciences Centre Brisbane

Monday 4 May 2020

In 2019, the Mater Neurosciences Centre Brisbane (formerly Mater Centre for Neurosciences) became the first institution in Australia to offer an accredited fellowship position to train surgeons in minimally invasive spinal surgery techniques. Mater and the surgeons at the Brisbane Clinical Neuroscience Centre (BCNC) have been pioneers of these techniques within Australia, which offer patients reduced operating times, faster recovery, earlier discharge and reduced levels of post-operative pain following spinal surgery. 

The Mater Neuroscience Centre Brisbane Fellowship in Minimally Invasive Spinal Surgery is accredited under the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons Post-Fellowship Education and Training (PFET) programme and offers successful applicants the opportunity to spend a year at Mater learning and adopting these techniques. The surgeons at Mater and BCNC have now performed in excess of 3700 of these minimally invasive procedures and have published in peer-reviewed journals and presented extensively at scientific meetings both locally and overseas.

The inaugural fellow was Dr Bart De Boer, a neurosurgeon from the Netherlands, who recently returned home to his first consultant appointment after his year of training. The current fellow is Dr Imogen Ibbett, a locally-trained neurosurgeon.


Image 1: Inaugural fellow Dr Bart De Boer undertaking his 500th case at Mater
Image 2: Minimally invasive placement of pedicle screws

The BCNC surgeons at Mater have combined the use of minimally invasive techniques with on-table real-time O-arm imaging, neuro-navigation and nerve monitoring to provide efficient, safe and effective strategies for the management of a wide range of spinal pathologies. Cases such as lumbar fusions that would previously have required post-operative stays of 7-10 days are now routinely discharged on the second or third post-operative day. Discectomies can be routinely undertaken as day case procedures and most lumbar decompressions are discharged within 24 hours of admission.

Recently, the minimally invasive spinal surgery service has expanded to Central Queensland where the BCNC Neurosurgeons are performing day case spinal surgeries at Mater Private Hospital Rockhampton.

Image 3: using spinal navigation technology

Story and images courtesy of  BCNC Neurosurgeon, Dr Martin Wood.

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