​Hong Kong University, Dept of Orthopaedics and Traumatology—Hong Kong SAR

​ ​

Department of Orthopaedics and Traumatology
The University of Hong Kong Kong 
Queen Mary Hospital, Pokfulam Road
Hong Kong
Hong Kong

  Tel: 28554254
Fax: 28174392
Email: ortho1@hkucc.hku.hk


Program director

Kenneth Cheung
University of Hong Kong
Queen Mary Hospital
Hong Kong

Spine team

Kenneth Cheung, Wai-yuen Cheung, Kin Cheung Mak, Yat-Wa Wong

Center description

The Center is staffed by 4 spine surgeons, 2 fellows and residents rotating through the Department. Work can be divided into Clinical Service and Research.


The whole spectrum of spinal surgery is well developed within this Division, which serves as a specialist centre for Hong Kong Island, and a tertiary/quaternary referral centre for the whole of Hong Kong and the region. Even before the formation of the Center, the Spine Division was well known for its research and innovation in spinal surgery. Experience has accumulated over the past forty years, with objective criteria for its success found in the numerous publications in the most reputable international journals, and the continued desire of many doctors from abroad wishing to undertake spine fellowships in our Division.

Over the years, the spectrum of spine pathology has changed significantly, and innovations have kept in parallel with this change. Accordingly, in the 60s, the “Hong Kong Operation” for spinal tuberculosis was developed, in the early 70s the halo-pelvic apparatus, in the early 80s use of a titanium mesh block (one of the earliest form of cages) for anterior spinal fusion, in the late 80s transpedicular decancellation osteotomy for ankylosing spondylitis, in the 90s the fulcrum bending radiograph for scoliosis assessment, and in the new millennium intervertebral disc transplantation, and the discovery of gene mutations in scoliosis and degenerative disc diseases.

The services are provided in two hospitals, Queen Mary Hospital and The Duchess of Kent Children’s Hospital, each taking on a special role. The Duchess of Kent Children’s Hospital is internationally recognised for it’s care of patients with spinal deformities, including in the past, tuberculous kyphosis and post-polio deformities, and in the present day, the care of patients with scoliosis and ankylosing spondylitis. This has attracted many spine surgeons from around the world to visit this hospital. This tradition has continued with the provision of a spine fellowship every 6 months, over the years over 100 fellows from all over the world have been trained. The hospital has expanded to look after adult patients with degenerative spinal conditions and the Centre for Spinal Disorders. This centre provides a comprehensive service for the assessment, treatment and rehabilitation of patients through a multidisciplinary team approach including the orthopaedic surgeon, bioengineer, clinical psychologist, nurse, occupational therapist, pain specialist, physiotherapist, prosthetist, interventional radiologist and social worker. Programmes provided include the treatment of patients with chronic low back pain and failed back surgery.

As only one of 2 designated centers for scoliosis surgery in Hong Kong by the Hospital Authority, the Division has lead this field by being the first to introduce scoliosis screening in Hong Kong (in collaboration with the Department of Health); a psychosocial support programme to help improve brace compliance; preoperative autologous blood donation programme to reduce the risk and requirement for blood bank blood; and intraoperative spinal cord monitoring using combined motor evoked potentials and corticosomatosensory evoked potentials.

Queen Mary Hospital being a Level 1 trauma centre and the University teaching hospital, manages the majority of the patients with acute conditions such as spinal fractures, infections and tumours. The division has its own spinal injuries unit for the management of acute spinal cord injuries, and a Centre for Paraplegic Walking, aimed at helping those with chronic injuries to maintain mobility.

The division has 3 outpatient clinics (scoliosis, post-op follow-up and general spine) and 3 full day operating lists (Monday, Tuesday and Thursday) per week.

Education has always been an important part of our mission, aside from providing for a spine fellowship at The Duchess of Kent Children’s Hospital, the division holds educational courses twice a year for local and regional participants.Within the region, the division is actively involved in Asia-Pacific Orthopaedic Association and has formal agreements with Peking Union Medical Hospital in Beijing, and the Sun Yat Sen University in Guangzhou, China for the formation of collaborative spine centres for the purpose of education and research.


The division has an intensive programme in both basic and clinical research. Research directions for basic research are molecular biology, molecular genetics and gene therapy, biomaterials and biomechanics. Clinical research includes both long term prospective studies and retrospective analyses. Many of the projects are supported by competitive research funding or by companies with venture capital. Successes have included the filing of 5 patents, publications in reputable international journals, and the attraction of venture capital and industry involvement in development. For example, our work on a new bioactive bone cement for vertebroplasty has attracted venture capital involvement, and is now beginning clinical trials, while work on new orthopaedic implants using superelastic materials, is being further developed in collaboration with an industrial partner.

Apart from the clinicians, there are a number of scientists within the Division including 1 Research Assistant Professor and Post-doc fellow working on stem cell research, a Bioengineer, a Geneticist, as well as 2 full time postdoctorate research fellows and a number of postgraduate research students and research assistants. At the time of writing, there are 4 PhDs, 5 MPhils, 2 M.MedSci students and 1 research assistant working within the division.


Approximately 300 procedures performed per year

  • Cervical deformity 
    Adult cervical reconstruction 
    Paediatric cervical reconstruction
  • Cervical trauma 
    Cervical stabilisation
  • Cervical tumor 
    Cervical tumor surgery 
    Craniocervical tumor surgery
  • Degenerative cervical spine 
    Anterior foraminotomy 
    Cervical stabilisation 
    Posterior foraminotomy
  • Degenerative lumbar spine 
    Open stabilisation 
    Percutaneous stabilisation 
    Total disc replacement
  • Osteoporotic spine 
  • Rheumatoid cervical spine 
    C1/C2 stabilisation 
    Craniocervical stabilisation 
    Transoral decompression
  • Sacral tumor 
  • Special procedures 
    Anterior craniocervical reconstructions (transoral/tranfacial procedures) 
    Cervical laminoplasty 
    Closing wedge osteotomies for ankylosing spondylitis 
    Congenital deformities 
    En-bloc spondylectomies 
    Sacroiliac joint fusion
  • Spinal cord injury 
    Intrathecal pump placement
  • Thoracic & lumbar trauma 
    Anterior thoracic and lumbar reconstruction 
    Paediatric spine trauma 
    Thoracic & lumbar stabilisation
  • Thoracic & lumbar tumor 
    Anterior thoracic and lumbar reconstruction 
    En-bloc spondylectomy 
    Intraspinal tumor surgery 
    Thoracic & lumbar stabilisation 
  • Thoracolumbar deformity 
    Ankylosing spondylits osteotomies 
    Congenital deformities 
    Kyphotic deformities 
    Neuromuscular deformities 
    Scoliotic deformities 

Fellowship types

Observerships, Short-term, Long-term

Observership / short-term language requirements


Long-term language requirements



Limited affordable accomodation is available at The Duchess of Kent Children's Hospital. Every effort will be made to accomdodate fellows in these small apartments.