Neurosurgery: Overcome your back pain

Last updated: 11-11-2020

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Neurosurgery: Overcome your back pain

Back pain is a common problem for Australians with up to 80 per cent of the population experiencing back pain at some point in their lives. The Australian Bureau of Statistics found that 3.7 million Australians or one in six people had chronic back problems.​

With statistics like this it is good to know there are experts here locally who can help you if your issue worsens and requires a neurosurgeon.

Wollongong Private Hospital’s neurosurgery unit offers treatment of disorders of the brain, spine and peripheral nerves including:

Neurosurgeon Dr Peter Moloney said the bulk of the spinal neurosurgeon’s work stems from wear and tear changes or acute injuries of the neck and back. 

“By themselves degenerative conditions of the back and neck give rise to local pain. When nerves in these regions become damaged there is added arm pain (brachalgia) or leg pain (sciatica),” he said. “A damaged disc hurts where it is and causes neck pain or back pain. A pinched nerve hurts where it goes to and causes arm pain or leg pain.

“Leg pain or arm pain will usually result in an earlier referral to a neurosurgeon.

“Not all back and leg pain will require surgery. Sometimes simpler measures such as anti inflammatories, simple analgesia, physiotherapy, weight loss and the passage of time will suffice or injection therapy into joints or around the nerves or into the spinal canal itself may be of benefit.

“If surgery is needed it may just be a relatively straight forward decompression of the affected nerve or nerves done with a short hospital stay. If more extensive surgery is needed it will require more time in hospital and may need to be done from the back, the side, the front or a combination of these.

“Sometimes the surgery is done as open door surgery or keyhole surgery. There are positives and negatives for each approach and suitability depends on what is wrong, what needs to be done and how to achieve it safely and effectively.”

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Wollongong Private Hospital has state-of-the-art operating theatres with the latest surgical equipment, staffed by highly experienced neurosurgeons Dr Ravi Kumar Cherukuri, Dr Jerry Day, Associate Professor Matthias Jaeger and Dr Peter Moloney as well as theatre staff with neurosurgical training.

The hospital offers modern and comfortable accommodation including private room and ensuite, high level of post-operative care from a nursing team trained to care for neurosurgical patients and recovery includes streamlined access to specialised neurological rehabilitation programs.

With this experienced team, Illawarra patients no longer need to travel to Sydney to access quality brain and spinal treatment.

Wollongong Private Hospital uses the Mazor Robotics Renaissance guidance system, with only one other hospital in NSW offering this technology.

“The Mazor Robotic system is being utilised for the placement of pedicle screws during spinal fusion surgeries,” Dr Moloney said.

“The images of a specially conducted CT scan are entered into the Mazor software which enables calculation of screw length, diameter and safe trajectory into the pedicle. 

“This information then programs the robotic system to guide the surgeon in the screw insertion. This leads to safer surgery, less hardware complications and therefore better outcomes.”

Wollongong Private Hospital is part of the Ramsay Health Care group - Australia’s leading private hospital provider - and is an Australian owned and operated company.

Wollongong Private Hospital is located at 360-364 Crown Street, Wollongong or find out more at

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