Established in 1821, the Singapore General Hospital (SGH) is Singapore's oldest and largest acute tertiary hospital and national referral centre. Its multi-disciplinary approach to medical care affords patients ready access to a wide range of specialties and support services.
SGH is a 1,600 bedded public hospital and accounts for about one third of total acute hospital beds in the public sector and about a quarter of acute beds nationwide. Annually about 70,000 patients are admitted to our wards and another 600,000 attended to at our Specialist Outpatient Clinics. The Department of Orthopaedic Surgery manages 250 inpatient beds and has 26 attending staff.
The department has an Orthopedic Diagnostic Center (ODC) where all patients undergoing surgery are independently evaluated, both preoperatively and postoperatively, by physiotherapists and specially trained technicians. This database allows us to document and research the various outcomes of the different types of surgery that are performed in a prospective and unbiased manner.
The Spine Service is a subdivision of the Department of Orthopedic Surgery and performs over 1,000 spinal surgeries a year. The predominant cases operated on include low back surgery, cervical cases and deformities. There are 6 full-time spine specialists and 2 visiting consultants in the service. They are Clinical Associate Prof (Dr) Tan Seang Beng, who is both the Head of the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and Director for Spine Service, Dr Yue Wai Mun, Dr Guo Chang Ming, Dr John Chen, Dr Benedict Peng and Dr Benjamin Tow.
The Department’s emphasis is on Minimally Invasive Surgery (MIS) and motion preservation spinal surgery. The minimally invasive procedures, more than 350 cases annually, include MIS decompressions, endoscopic surgery, transforaminal lumbar interbody fusions (MIS TLIF) and kyphoplasty. Our spine surgeons also perform cervical and lumbar artificial disc replacements routinely. Some of the other non-fusion technologies such as interspinous spacers and flexible rods are also currently being evaluated at our center.
Other types of spinal surgeries frequently performed include deformity correction for both adolescent idiopathic scoliosis and adult deformities. As Singapore’s National Cancer Center is located at the same campus, spinal tumour surgery involving decompressions and stabilization form another large segment of the service.