Oxford University Hospitals FT launches new spine surgery technique

Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has launched a new daycare pathway for performing lumbar spine surgeries.  

The new Spine Awake Surgery technique alters the method by which conventional operations are carried out where patients have to be put under general anaesthetic before the operation takes place. 

While the procedure uses a combination of spinal anaesthetic and local analgesia to numb the patient from the belly button down, they will be able to remain awake during the operation and go home later that day. 

According to the trust, the technique will help reduce waiting lists, as well as maintain patient safety by keeping them out of the hospital environment and provide faster responses to patient population groups. 

The absence of general anaesthesia, the trust says, will lead to ‘better’ recovery outcomes and reduces cancellation of appointments due to a lack of bed spaces.  

On the new ‘innovative’ surgical technique, Dr Helen Hann, Consultant Anaesthetist, said: “This project is about the whole patient journey. We’ve implemented a one stop clinic where the patients will see the consultants on the same day and can then be booked into the pre-operative clinic so that they only need to visit the hospital once.” 
Mr Murtuza Sikander, Consultant Neurosurgeon and Spinal Surgeon, commented: “What we have done in Oxford, and we are the first group in the UK to achieve this, is to offer a pathway for patients to have spine awake surgery on a day care service. We believe this will be beneficial for both patient outcome and health economics.” 

Professor Meghana Pandit, Chief Medical Officer, Oxford University Hospitals, added: “Spine Awake Surgery reflects the high level of innovation ongoing within our Trust. It is also an innovative way of conducting lumbar surgeries and will help reduce our waiting times, ensuring our patients receive the best care possible.”