Dr Stephen Byrne is a neurosurgeon and complex spine surgeon who completed his training in Australasia. He underwent his neurosurgical training in Melbourne, Adelaide and New Zealand before gaining his Fellowship of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons. Dr Byrne is originally from Scotland and completed medical school at the University of Aberdeen, the oldest English-speaking Medical School in the Western World.
Following completion of his training as a neurosurgeon, Dr Byrne then undertook a combined neurosurgical and orthopaedic complex spinal surgery Fellowship at the John Hunter Hospital in Newcastle. Whilst attached to that unit, the busiest spinal trauma unit in NSW, Dr Byrne became proficient with applying advanced reconstructive and decompressive techniques to the entire spine. He also learned minimally invasive and specialised ‘keyhole’ techniques that he uses for appropriate patients. As such, Dr Byrne is proficient in applying the full range of both minimally invasive and open techniques to treat degenerative, traumatic, neoplastic and infectious problems that can affect the spine.
Prior to joining the Sunshine Coast Brain & Spine, Dr Byrne spent a year researching new treatments for brain cancer with the practice’s sister clinic Brizbrain and Spine and the Newro Foundation.
In addition to spinal surgery, Dr Byrne spent most of his training focusing on cranial neurosurgery and has a broad range of experience with managing patients with brain tumours, pituitary tumours, hydrocephalus, Chiari Malformations and peripheral nerve compression and continues to be actively involved in these areas.
Anterior Spine Surgery: a great way to help nerve pain
Recently I had the pleasure of looking after a very fit and active 70 year old lady. She had previously enjoyed free climbing and hiking and had plans to trek Machu Pichu and to Everest Base Camp over the next 2 years! She presented to her GP with worsening pain radiating down the leg in the region of the L5 dermatome (lateral calf and dorsum of the foot) for 6 months. She struggled with getting around the local shopping centre and with some activities of daily living.
Recently, I had the pleasure of undertaking the first ever ‘O arm’ spinal surgery case at the Buderim Private Hospital. The ‘O arm’ is a sophisticated device that provides surgeon with real-time CT quality imaging intraoperatively during spinal fusion procedures.
Spinal fusion surgery is technically demanding and stressful for both patients and surgeons, it’s vital to have access to the most sophisticated technology in order to reduce the rate of complications.
Most unstable spinal fractures affect the thoracolumbar junction or the cervical spine. Fractures elsewhere in the spinal column tend to be stabilised by the rib cage and rarely cause neurological deficits. Whenever a fracture causes spinal cord compression elsewhere in the thoracic spine, a secondary process such as infection (osteomyelitis) or neoplasm (primary or secondary) is more likely to be present. With advancing age, the transitional cervico-thoracic region is subject to degenerative and osteoporotic changes and spinal cord compression can occur.
Most of the degenerative spinal pathology that we see as specialists as well as in primary care affects the lumbar or cervical spine. This is interesting as the thoracic spine contains a similar number of intervertebral discs and facet joints than the rest of the spine put together. However, the relative immobility of the thoracic region due to the rib cage limits motion-dependent degenerative processes such that most spinal surgeons would really only operate on thoracic disc herniations once or twice over a several year period.