St George Private Hospital
Part of Ramsay Health Care

Spine Surgeons


St George Private Spinal Surgeons: We’ve Got Your Back!

Sep 10, 2015

St George Private Hospital celebrates its 20th anniversary this year with a $36m renovation – including three new theatres soon to be completed, which will help accommodate the region’s growing number of patients with spinal issues.

“In years past, spinal surgery has often been perceived as a high-stakes medical option with poor outcomes,” says Orthopaedic Spine Surgeon Dr Geoffrey Rosenberg.

“However for people undergoing spinal surgery today, better diagnostic tools, techniques  and training mean a large majority of patients can expect a significant improvement in back pain and mobility.

Dr Rosenberg says that Australians spend $464m a year on out of hospital expenses and $560m in hospital for back pain - now officially the number 1 burden of disease in Australia compared to no 6 in the world according to the latest figures from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.

“Spinal pain can cause colossal levels of suffering and depression and newer techniques including arthroplasty (disc replacement) and minimally invasive spine procedures can be life-changing for someone living with that kind of pain,” said Dr Rosenberg.

He said St George Private spinal patients will benefit from three new theatres which will open in 2016 as well as a high-tech O-arm surgical operating system, which allows surgeons high quality imaging in real time during surgery.

“This means more accurate assessment intra-operatively during insertion of implants (rods, screws, cages).”

However he said spinal surgery should not be the first stop for everyone and that St George Public/Private spine surgeons will be holding a GP workshop this month (Wed September 16) to help educate local doctors about recognising which patients are best candidates for surgery.

“For GPs and co-hosted with GPs, we will also be looking at pre-operative workup tests, post-surgical complications as well as non-surgical options such as injections, physiotherapy and acupuncture,” said Dr Rosenberg.

Breakout table: Pain In Australia     Source: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, May 2015

  • One in seven Australians (14 per cent) reported back problems in 2011-12 – or three million people.
  • More than two in five Australians with back pain (or 44 %) reported some level of activity limitation – (difficulty in tasks and activities associated with mobility, communication or self-care).
  • According to the Global Burden of Disease estimates, low back pain is ranked first in Australia compared to sixth in the world.
  • More than 3.7 million GP encounters per year in Australia relate to back pain.
  • Today spinal surgery is performed by both orthopaedic and neurosurgeons.