Patient Care

Our History


National University Spine Institute (NUSI)

Established with a tripartite mission of clinical care, education and research, the National University Spine Institute (NUSI) has been at the forefront of medical innovation and patient care. From our humble beginnings to our current standing as a spine institute recognised in the region, we have consistently set new standards in clinical care, medical research and education.

Explore our journey and significant milestones that have shaped our legacy since 1987 below.

The Division of Spine Surgery was created in the National University Hospital (NUH).

After the University Department of Orthopaedics in Singapore was relocated to the NUH, subspecialty divisions were formed and one of them was the Division of Spine Surgery.

However, the work of spine surgery in the Department in Singapore predates to 1952, where the first fusion surgery for scoliosis was performed. In addition, a postgraduate lecture series on spine surgery was also started in 1982.


First video assisted thoracoscopic anterior discectomy

Four major developments for the Division of Spine Surgery happened in 1996.
  • The Division became the first unit in Singapore to introduce routine neurophysiological monitoring for complex spine reconstruction.
  • The Division established a joint spinal injury rehabilitation programme with the rehabilitation department of Tan Tock Seng Hospital.
  • The Division performed the first video-assisted thoracoscopic anterior discectomy and fusion in Singapore.
  • Postgraduate fellowships in spine surgery were also established and has since trained and benefitted many young and aspiring surgeons in the region.

Professor Wong Hee Kit

Professor Wong Hee Kit was appointed the Head of Division of Spine Surgery in 1997.

The first Head of the Division of Spine Surgery was Professor P Balasubramaniam. When he retired in 1994, Associate Professor Aziz Nather took over as Head of the Division with Professor Wong Hee Kit subsequently succeeding him in 1997.

Scoliosis Screening Programme

Prevalence studies by surgeons from the Division of Spine Surgery were instrumental in determining optimal age points for the nationwide scoliosis screening programme.

The Scoliosis Screening Programme which was the routine examination for spinal deformity, as part of the national school health screening programme was introduced in Singapore in 1981. Subsequently, further studies by Professor P Balasubramaniam, Professor JS Daruwalla (1982) and Professor Wong Hee Kit (1997) in the Division of Spine Surgery provided information to determine the optimal age points for the screening programme.


University Spine Centre Opening

The University Spine Centre was established in Kent Ridge Wing in NUH.

The Centre brought together surgeons, care coordinators, radiologist and physiotherapists to provide patient-centric and seamless care, driven by well-defined clinical pathway protocols.

The Centre also had the first EOS scanner in Singapore.

This unique radio-imaging system allows whole body scanning using low dose X-rays and is based on Nobel prize-winning technology. The machine has become essential to the assessment of spinal deformities in adults and children.


Associate Professor Gabriel Liu

Associate Professor Gabriel Liu succeeded Professor Wong Hee Kit as the Head of the University Spine Centre.
The Centre performed the first robot-assisted spine surgery in Singapore.
The Centre introduced telemedicine and the Zoom spine consultation service for her patients.

National University Spine Institute (NUSI)

The National University Spine Institute (NUSI) was established.

The University Spine Centre integrated with other disciplines to form NUSI. NUSI, a multidisciplinary institute is dedicated to promote clinical excellence, education, research and community care for a healthier Singapore.

With an expanded mission of having “one specialty in multiple locations”, NUSI in NUHS provides spine services in multiple locations including Alexandra Hospital (AH), National University Hospital (NUH) and Ng Teng Fong General Hospital (NTFGH).

NUSI also differentiates itself by providing dedicated sub-specialties within the spine practice, standardised work processes and value driven care across the cluster to address spinal problems. The Institute is dedicated to develop community care programmes in response to the rapid increase for spine care demands in an aging population in Singapore.

The first Head of NUSI is Associate Professor Gabriel Liu.

1E Kent Ridge Road, NUHS Tower Block, Singapore 119228
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