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2024/03/11
Doctor Detail

Dr Hey Hwee Weng Dennis

Photo of Dr Hey Hwee Weng Dennis

Designations:

  • Senior Consultant, University Spine Centre, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, National University Hospital
  • Senior Consultant, Division of Spine Surgery, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Alexandra Hospital
  • Director of Clinical Services

Qualifications:

MBBS (Sing), MRCS (Ire), MMED (Orth), MCI (Sing), FRCSEd (Orth)

Specialties/Sub-specialties:

Orthopaedic Surgery

Clinical Disciplines/Programmes:

Healthy Ageing Programme (Age Better), Spine Surgery

Biosketch

Dr. Dennis Hey is a Senior Consultant Spine Surgeon at the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, National University Hospital (NUH), and the Founding Director of Motion-preserving and Minimally-invasive Spine Unit (MMSU), Singapore’s first themed spine unit at Alexandra Hospital. He also holds the positions of Assistant Professor at the Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine (YLLSoM), and Research Director at the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, National University of Singapore (NUS). His academic degrees and professional accreditations are as follows:

  1. Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery degree (MBBS) (NUS)
  2. Masters of Medicine in Orthopaedics (MMed Orth) (NUS)
  3. Masters of Clinical Investigation (MCI) (NUS)
  4. Membership of the Royal College of Surgeons of Ireland (MRCSI)
  5. Fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh in Orthopedics (FRCSEd Ortho)
Dr Hey received comprehensive spine training from over 20 local spine surgeons in Singapore during his early career. He then set aside dedicated time to travel to more than 25 distinguished spine centers in China, Japan, South Korea, India, France, Germany, USA for extended training and exposure. It is therefore unsurprising that Dr Hey has assimilated a variety of different spine surgery techniques to deliver his best to all his patients. In Dr Hey’s opinion, “Patient-specific treatment necessitates proficiency in the full spectrum of surgical skillsets. This comes with a wide clinical exposure and continuous learning. A narrow and biased spine practice due to limited training always lead to suboptimal outcomes.” Today, Dr Hey continues to learn fervently from both his patients and spine colleagues. He spends at least a fortnight each year visiting reputable surgeons abroad in order to continually upgrade his surgical skills and stay abreast of new knowledge, as he believes this is a key to success in the rapidly changing field that is spine surgery.

Dr Hey's clinical practice has evolved over the years out of real-life lessons. Having received specialized training in motion-preserving and minimally-invasive “keyhole” approaches to the spine, he is a firm proponent of these as long as they are beneficial to the patient requiring spine surgery. Having accumulating a huge amount of experience of the years, Dr Hey routinely practices artificial disc replacements for the cervical and lumbar spine, as well as endoscopic spine surgery, benefitting patients whom previously would have been deemed unsuitable candidates for such surgeries. According to Dr Hey “Life is motion. When surgery is required, the ability to preserve spinal motion using the most minimally-invasive approach is what would give excellent outcomes.” As a result of this, Dr Hey established the first themed spine unit in Singapore which focuses on delivering the best surgical care using motion-preserving and keyhole solutions.

Limited by current technology, neural decompression with or without instrumented fusion continues to be the mainstay surgical treatment for most spine conditions. Dr Hey's novel concept of “ligamentous-muscular counterbalancing” (LMC) is slowly revolutionizing the way fusion surgery is being practiced worldwide. In addition, his description of slump-sitting and fulcrum-extension dynamic X-ray views to obtain the best information of the lumbar spine in motion has changed our spine practice locally, and has been widely adopted by numerous spine centers abroad. As a consequence of his own scientific breakthroughs, he has also adopted a unique approach to spinal fusion surgery and considers the spine as a mobile structure, thus performing individualized, spinal realignment strategies. To do this, he makes reference to both the patient's standing and sitting postures, rather than just the standing posture (which is the current convention in spine surgery). This has helped him to reduce surgical complication rates drastically. Dr Hey has received highly specialized training in adult spinal deformity, and can be considered a leader in this field. He is an expert in treating patients with severe spinal deformity requiring long instrumented fusion with spinal realignment. Due to his passion for adult spinal deformity, Dr Hey has spent countless hours unravelling the mysteries of this sophisticated condition, and continues to do so to advance medical knowledge.

Dr Hey is an enthusiastic scientist and teacher. Apart from the above mentioned breakthrough contributions to science, he has published numerous scientific articles in high-tiered spine journals and has been invited to numerous international conferences as a guest speaker including the Scoliosis Research Society (SRS) Annual Scientific Meeting, which is the most prestigious international spine conference for spinal deformity. He views these efforts and opportunities as forms of learning which reinforce his clinical practice and patient care. The numerous teaching and mentoring awards he has received over the years reflect his ever-glowing passion in teaching his colleagues and the next generation. Finally, Dr Hey dedicates all his current and future achievements as a surgeon, scientist, and teacher to Christ, his supportive and loving wife, his 6 energetic kids, as well as his encouraging mentors, friends and colleagues – for without whom the aforementioned would never have been possible.

2024/06/06
1E Kent Ridge Road, NUHS Tower Block, Singapore 119228
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National University Health System
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