Spine Program

Welcome to the University of Ottawa Spine Program at The Ottawa Hospital – an amalgamation between the Divisions of Orthopaedic Surgery and Neurosurgery. 

The aim of the Spine Program is to provide the highest standard of clinical services and medical teaching related to the diagnosis and treatment of adult spinal trauma injuries, deformities and degenerative conditions. Complex cervicothoracic and thoracolumbar surgeries performed by surgeons in the Spine Program often involve multi-level anterior and posterior decompression with instrumentation. Advanced spinal surgical procedures also include: microscopic and minimal access surgery, lumbar interbody fusions assisted with computer navigation, en-bloc resections, osteotomies, and adult scoliosis correction. There are 7 dedicated surgeons (Orthopedic Surgery: n=4; Neurosurgery: n=3) practicing elective and urgent spinal care predominantly at the Civic Campus of The Ottawa Hospital. 

The Spine Program is the only adult orthopedic and neurosurgical spine referral centre for the Champlain Local Health Integration Network (LHIN), servicing a catchment population of over 1.2 million people. Between January 1, 2010 and December 31, 2011, surgeons within the Spine Program performed 529 elective and 268 urgent spinal surgical cases, of which fusion of spinal vertebrae was the most common procedure (50% of the 797 cases). A total of 55% of the elective surgical cases were performed as a result of spondylopathies (n=166) and intervertebral disc disorders (n=126), while intervertebral disc disorders (n=64) and neck fractures (n=32) were responsible for 36% of the urgent surgical cases.

Along with providing world-class patient care, surgeons within the Spine Program are actively involved in basic science and clinical research. Currently available research infrastructure includes: prospective spine outcomes databases, biomechanics laboratory, and spinal cord basic science laboratory. The following surgeons have advanced training in research methods and oversee research studies affiliated with the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute: Dr. Eve Tsai (PhD – spinal cord injury and regeneration) and Dr. Stephen Kingwell (MSc (pending) – biomechanics and surgical sciences). Collaborative research support staff include: Dr. Darren Roffey (PhD – Clinical Research Associate), Ms. Gabrielle Papineau (MSc – Spine Physician Assistant), and Ms. Cyndi Jones (BA – Clinical Research Coordinator).

Surgeons within the Spine Program actively partake in teaching activities, including undergraduate, post-graduate, off-service rotations and elective, as well as fellows. Please feel free to request further information related to any aspect of the University of Ottawa Spine Program at The Ottawa Hospital.