The Spinal surgical service is one of the units within the University of Cape Town Division of Orthopaedic Surgery. The Division has 10 full time consultants, 12 part-timers, 19 registrars and 4 fellows. Of these, 4 consultants, 1 registrar and 2 fellows run the spine service.
The adult service is housed at the 950 bedded Groote Schuur Hospital, best known for Prof Christian Barnard and the world’s first heart transplant. Here we run a 21 bedded Acute Spine injury service with 180 admissions per year. In addition, we perform weekly surgery for Tuberculous spondylodiscitis plus a smattering of general elective spine surgery. We co-operate with the neurosurgical service to offer diverse opinion and training to our registrars. We run annual pig based live tissue spine complications courses and cadaver based spine approaches / instrumentation courses on site.
Our paediatric service is located at the Red Cross Childrens hospital, the biggest paediatric hospital in the southern hemisphere. Here we provide a national deformity and TB myelopathy service in state of the art theatres.
Visits to our service provide a unique view of first world care in a third world environment where gross pathology presents due to the high burden of disease but managed uniquely by internationally benchmarked surgeons. Of course, being in Cape Town adds another dimension to the visit!
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