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Spinal surgery

What we do

King’s Regional Neurosurgical Unit provides a specialist spinal service for people living in South East London and Kent. We are part of the South East London and Kent Spinal Network.

We are part of the King’s neurosurgery department and our team includes neurosurgeons, physiotherapists, pain relief doctors, neuroradiologists, and a spinal clinical nurse specialist. This means we can offer a wide range of treatments and provide the best possible patient care.

We treat degenerative spinal conditions such as back and neck pain, lumbar, cervical and thoracic problems and sciatica.

We have four neurosurgeons who specialise in complex spinal surgery and the treatment of spinal injuries. We also have a joint complex spine clinic which enables the team to discuss the best treatment options for each patient.

For more information about spinal surgery, visit The British Association of Spine Surgeons and search for ‘patient information’.

British Spine Registry

The British Spine Registry (BSR) is a web-based database that aims to collect information about spinal surgery across the UK. This will help the BSR to find out which spinal operations are the most effective and in which patients they work best. This should improve patient care in the future. For further information about consenting to be included on the Registry see our patient information leaflet and consent form.

Preparing for your appointment

The musculoskeletal (MSK) physiotherapist or hospital consultant who referred you to our service will need to send us your MRI scan, this must have been taken in the past six months. We will not be able to review your case until we have received this scan. We will let you know what treatment plan is decided at the review meeting and if appropriate make an appointment for you to see us. The review meeting usually includes health professionals related to your care. This meeting is known as a multi-disciplinary team (MDT) meeting.

If required, you may be contacted to arrange another MRI scan before your appointment at King’s. Some patients may also need to undergo other investigations before their appointment. If we have confirmed you need further investigations but you have not received a date for these yet, please contact the Spinal Co-ordinator or the MDT Assistant so they can arrange them.

If you have any concerns about your referral, please contact the Spinal Pathway Co-ordinator.

BASS leaflets

The leaflets below, created by the British Association of Spine Surgeons, provide further information about specific spinal surgeries:

If you are booked into King’s for surgery and have any questions or concerns, you can contact us using the details below.


First floor, Willowfield Building, King’s College Hospital, Bessemer Road, SE5 9BG

Contact Details

Patient information leaflets

TitleFile SizeLink
British Spine Registry252 KB
Degenerative cervical myelopathy: preparing you for neck surgery and recovery3 MB
Spinal fractures169 KB

We treat a variety of spinal conditions using procedures that include:

  • discectomy/microdiscectomy
  • laminectomy
  • lumbar spinal fusion
  • anterior cervical discectomy / fusion (ACD/ACDF)
  • cervical laminectomy
  • foraminotomy
  • cervical spinal fusion
  • posterior lumbar interbody fusion (PLIF).

Please note: We do not accept referrals for patients with neck or axial back pain. These patients should be referred to a local musculo-skeletal assessment service.

What is required before referring a patient

We do not accept routine spine referrals directly from GPs. Referrals must come via an MSK Triage and Treat service, in line with the National Back Pain pathway. This promotes review by an MSK Specialist (predominantly advanced practice physiotherapists) to provide the expert spinal assessment, request any diagnostics required, including MRIs, and make the referral for a spine surgery opinion when clinically indicated (NG59).

  • Routine spine referrals to King’s College Hospital Neurosurgery must be accompanied by an MRI scan carried out within the past six months and sent to us via image link or on a CD.
  • Emergency Spine referrals require immediate referral to a local hospital emergency department for assessment and MRI. The local hospital team should escalate to emergency tertiary care at King’s College Hospital as clinically appropriate after discussing with the on-call Neurosurgeon. See Emergency Referrals below.

Booking a patient at King’s

Routine Referrals

Please read the guidelines on the referral form before you make a routine referral to ensure the patient requires a neurosurgical opinion.

All referrals that come into the Neurosurgery Spinal team are initially discussed with the multidisciplinary team and may go on to receive a Neurosurgical outpatient appointment, or referrals may be returned to the referrer with advice regarding patients’ future management if a surgical intervention is not indicated.

  • Routine Spine referrals must come via local Triage and Treat services (not direct from GPs), which must fully complete the Neurosurgery Spinal MDT Referral Form below and email it to King’s College Hospital Neurosurgery Spine team: [email protected]
  • Secondary care consultants can make Spine referrals by fully completing the Neurosurgery Spinal MDT Referral Form and emailing it to King’s College Hospital Neurosurgery Spine team: [email protected]

We prefer to receive routine Spine referrals by email. However, they can also be made by post by fully completing the Neurosurgery Spinal MDT Referral Form and sending it to:

Spinal Team, Department of Neurosurgery
4th Floor, Hambleden Wing Central
King’s College Hospital
Denmark Hill
London SE5 9RS

Emergency Referrals

Please read the guidelines on the referral form below to determine the urgency of the referral.

From hospitals

Go to the acute neurosurgery referrals page for advice on how to refer using the inter-hospital system.

From GPs

Patients should be referred to their local emergency department for urgent assessment.

Other Queries

For other queries as well as advice and guidance on urgent and routine referrals, contact the Spinal Pathway Co-ordinator on 020 3299 5178 or the MDT Assistant on 020 3299 1225.

Referral forms

TitleFile SizeLink
Neurosurgery Spinal MDT referral form69 KB

Key Clinical Staff

Name Role
Prof Keyoumars Ashkan Consultant Neurosurgeon
Mr Sinan Barazi Consultant Neurosurgeon
Mr Sanj Bassi Consultant Neurosurgeon
Mr David Bell Consultant Neurosurgeon
Mr Gordan Grahovac Consultant Neurosurgeon
Mr Richard Gullan Consultant Neurosurgeon
Mr Pandurang Kulkarni Associate Specialist Spinal Neurosurgeon
Mr Irfan Malik Consultant Neurosurgeon
Mr Nick Thomas Consultant Neurosurgeon
Mr Christos Tolias Consultant Neurosurgeon