By: 10 April 2012

The 2nd to 4th May sees the biennial Britspine conference take place at the Sage, in the vibrant and exciting northern city of Newcastle.

This meeting will be the seventh such meeting, after the 2010 conference in Liverpool. The Britspine conference, although relatively small in the calendar of BOAs and EFORTs, attracts a core and dedicated spine audience, and is always worth attending.

Further on we have a detailed programme (which is subject to change, but the latest version on going to press), and a brief city guide for you newcomers to Newcastle.

We hope you enjoy Britspine 2012, and all Newcastle has to offer.


Wednesday 2nd May 2012

07:30 Registration at the Sage

08:45-09.00 Welcome Address

09:00-10:00 Scientific Papers (All Hall 1) (6 Papers/hour, 6’ presentation; 4’ discussion)

10:00-10:30 Keynote Lecture
Prof Irene Tracey
Imaging Pain, Relief and Mechanism related to Placebo and Nocebo Effects

10:30-11:00 Coffee / Exhibition

11:00-12:00 Scientific Papers- Hall 1- Basic Science Hall 2- New Techniques
12:00-12.30 Keynote Lecture
Prof Eugene Carragee
The BMP Controversy

12:30-13:45 Lunch and Commercial Programmes

13:45-15:45 Scientific Papers- Hall 1 Cervical Spine Hall 2 Scoliosis

15:45-16:15 Tea / Exhibition

16.15-17.15 “If I had neck and arm pain, I would have..” A cervical decompression and fusion – Gerry Towns

A cervical disc replacement – Praveen Mummaneni

17.15-17.30 Changes in regulation of relationship between Industry and Clinicians. Peter Dines

17.30-18.30 Commercial Programme

18.30-20.30 Welcome Reception at the Sage

Thursday 3rd May 2012

08:30-09:30 Scientific Papers- All Hall 1

09:30-10:30 “Minor trauma is the cause of chronic back pain”
For the motion Michael Adams
Against the motion Eugene Carragee

10:30-11:00 Coffee
11:00-12:00 Scientific Papers

Keynote Lecture Jonathan Hill
The right back patient to the right treatment

Lunch and Commercial Program

13.45-14.15 Keynote Lecture
Praveen Mummaneni
Recent Advances in the treatment of Cervical Deformities

14.15-15.35 Scientific Papers (All Hall 1)

15.35-16.00 Tea

16.00-17.00 UKSSB/Britspine AGM

17.00-18.30 BASS AGM

19.30 Britspine Course Dinner- The Discovery Museum (Black Tie)

Friday 4th May 2012

08:30-09:30 Scientific Papers

09.30-10.30 Measuring the Impact of Spinal Disease and the Effect of our Intervention

Outcome Measures for Commissioning & the Registry, Ashley Cole

A brief history of outcome measurement in spinal surgery, Jeremy Fairbank

Should we aim for happy patients or good outcomes? Alison McGregor,

10:30-11:00 Coffee / Exhibition

11:00-11:30 Keynote Lecture Prof Max Aebi: The Classification and treatment of Degenerative Scoliosis

11:30-12:30 Special Poster session – Hall 1 & Hall 2

12.30-13.00 Presentation prizes and Closing remarks



The Sage

© laurent dambies -

As the same venue hosting this year’s Britspine conference, it would be a shame not to mention this unusual yet contemporary building, which has become regarded as a landmark along the‘neo-Newcastle’ quayside. Consisting of curved glass (in all the right places) and a stainless steel structure, the distinctive Sage is primarily used for musical education and performances as well as exhibitions. Three performance spaces are ‘bubbled’ separately from each other in order to prevent noise and vibrations travelling between them. With the Metro Radio Arena up-river covering more jam-packed mainstream concerts, the Sage has a more highbrow agenda, catering for folk music, classical, acoustic and jazz tastes.

Angel of the North

© Ronald Hudson -

Visible from miles around and overlooking the A1 south of the city, this monumental steel sculpture depicting an angel was designed by Antony Gormley, his most prominent work to date. It stands at 20 metres tall and its wingspan covers 54 metres. The wings themselves aren’t perfectly straight, but are angled 3.5º forward, which Gormley used to create “a sense of embrace”. Despite strong opposition among tabloid newspapers and local councillors, the sculpture was completed in 1998 to the sum of £1 million, almost a drop in the ocean considering its contemporary follies. And to this day, it remains a landmark for the northeast. If you’re driving up to Newcastle, take a few minutes out of your day, why not go sit at its feet.

Gateshead Millennium Bridge

© drhfoto -

Built to worldwide acclaim and £22 million, this attractive and striking bridge is fast becoming the newest go-to stock image of a newly regenerated and vibrant Newcastle. Known as a tilt bridge, its two connected arcs (one of which allows for pedestrian or bike traffic) will rotate 40 degrees over five minutes to allow small vessels to pass underneath. Due to its design and movement, many have dubbed it the ‘Blinking Eye Bridge’. Tilt times are updated regularly at the Gateshead Council web site.

On another note, you can’t help but feel sorry that it has surpassed and overshadowed its older brother, the Tyne Bridge, built in 1928 (yet still a distinctive symbol of Tyneside). To add insult to injury, the Millennium Bridge is located a mere 100 metres away, upriver. Both are viewable and walk-able from the Sage. Definitely come for a gander at night-time, when the bridge undergoes numerous colour changes, achieving a very beautiful rainbow effect.

The Castle

© Brendan Howard -

Newcastle’s very name originated from this Norman medieval fortification, and the castle has featured numerously in England’s turbulent and bloody history. Use of the site is dated from Roman times, when it housed a fort and settlement called Pons Aelius, keeping watch over a Tyne River bridge. The stone Castle Keep was built in 1177 by Henry II. The Black Gate was added between 1247 and 1250 by Henry III. The only surviving structures remaining today include the Castle Keep, which is the main stone tower, and the Black Gate, its gatehouse. Both can still be visited for a small fee, and offers some great viewpoints of Newcastle, including the Tyne River and cathedral, as well as the city itself.