The fellowship is funded by Orthopaedic Research UK (ORUK), the British Association of Spine Surgeons (BASS) and the British Scoliosis Society (BSS) and the project will run for three years. The team is led by Professor Adrian Gardner – consultant spine surgeon at the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital and Jean-Baptiste Souppez – senior lecturer mechanical, biomedical and design engineering at Aston University.
The idea for the project came about following a discussion between colleagues about a patient presenting with a multi-level degenerative cervical spine with multi-level spondylolisthesis. Multiple vertebra in the patient’s neck were compressing on each other and several of these vertebra were pushed forwards creating an unstable spine.
Professor Gardner said: “I was able to make recommendations, however this was based on training over the years and experience. For example, there are multiple ways to approach this kind of injury – you could go in from the front (anterior) or the back (posterior), but the decision is largely down to how you’ve been trained. It occurred to me that a physical model could be used to better understand the pathology and use scientific evidence to inform surgical solutions for our patients here at the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital and across the globe.”