Transforming the lives of 200 young people

Posted on in Services

Senior radiographer Brendon Whitehead, Stryker business manager Simon De Vita - who presented the team with a special cake - senior ODP Kirsty Lewis and consultant surgeons Waleed Hekal and Zak

The children’s scoliosis and spinal team at The James Cook University Hospital is celebrating after performing its 200th paediatric spinal deformity operation.

Spinal deformity surgery at the Middlesbrough hospital has changed the lives of 200 young people over the past decade, with many of them going on to enjoy their own careers in the NHS.

The surgery is carried out using Stryker’s Complex Deformity Mesa Technology – streamlined instrumentation designed to tackle the most difficult correction manoeuvres.

It was first performed at James Cook by consultant surgeons Waleed Hekal and Raman Kaylan in 2010, and more recently by Mr Hekal and Zak Choudhury.

Over the years the team has achieved excellent results, with no major complications, no infections and curve corrections well above the accepted 50% standard.

The service continues to develop and the 200th case also saw the introduction of the Brainlab Spinal Navigation system which aids the surgeons to achieve even better accuracy and enables them to use less radiation during the procedure.

Mr Choudhury said: “This is a team effort from start to finish. Even though we are at the sharp end, so to speak, there have probably been more than 200 people involved in the 200 cases. It is a real honour to be able to provide such a good service for the children, but we couldn’t do it without such good support. We are truly lucky to have such a skilled and dedicated team.

Cheryl Honeyman, specialist nurse, said: “The surgery has changed the lives of all these young people, many of whom have gone on to work in the NHS, citing their positive experiences of surgery and care as the driving force behind their career decision.

“Patients keep in touch with us for many years after surgery and often share news of academic achievements, weddings and babies. We consider ourselves part of their extended families.”

Mr Hekal thanked the whole team involved with the care of paediatric spine patients including anaesthetists Dave Booth, Fiona Smith and Kate Woods, paediatric respiratory nurse specialist Carol Barwick, children’s outpatients, the children’s ward, the paediatric critical care unit, physiotherapists, radiographers, medical illustration and the clinical technologists.

Mr Choudhury added: “We now have the cutting edge technology of the Brainlab system to help us achieve even better results in the future. Here’s to the next 200 cases!”