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Spine and brain services at The London Clinic

Back pain is a common problem, which affects four in five people at some point in their lives. Often pain is due to a sprain or muscle pain but often it is due to conditions that require further investigation.

Our dedicated orthopaedic and neurosurgical consultants can help to assess, diagnose and treat your back pain.

We have a range of diagnostic imaging available to ensure your consultant has all the information necessary to make a specific diagnosis and therefore tailor a treatment plan to you. 

We are fully equipped for all types of spinal operations including resection of spinal tumours, spinal instrumentation and spinal cord stimulation. 

We also help patients with long-term spinal problems, including chronic spinal pain that cannot be treated surgically.  


Investigating spinal problems

Back pain and neck pain are common complaints and both have a wide variety of causes. Systematic investigation needs to be done to use different types of imaging to visualise any fractures, tears or other abnormalities.


X-ray facilities at The London Clinic allow for diagnostic X-rays for spinal conditions and also for follow-up X-rays to monitor the success of surgical treatment. Your consultant will book the facilities for you and order any special equipment depending on whether you need to be sitting, standing or lying down for X-ray imaging. 

CT scans

CT scans provide an accurate picture of the bones in the spine, and can be used to detect fractures, disc problems, bone erosion and if bone has been destroyed by the growth of a tumour.

MRI scans

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a very good technique for visualising the soft tissue as well as the bones of the spine. At The London Clinic we have the latest MRI scanners available on-site and bookings for investigations can usually be made very quickly.

Spinal problems are often diagnosed by having an MRI scan in a position that does not involve lying flat in the scanner. The exact position will depend on your spine and the assessment by your consultant.


Discography uses modified X-rays to take detailed images of the verterbral discs, which can help diagnosed a range of disc problems.

Bone scans

We use 2 different bone scanning techniques to investigate if there is any inflammatory damage in the joints or the bones themselves, and also to measure bone density:

  • Inflammatory damage is assessed using a scan involving different isotopes, most often Technetium99, a radioactive isotope that is injected into a vein before the scan. Imaging will then reveal any areas of active inflammation, and it can also detect the presence of bone tumours. Radioactive isotope scanning can highlight inflammation within the vertebral joints in the spine and can also show how well a bone fracture is healing.
  • A dexa bone densitometry scanner can assess whether osteoporosis is present, or whether the bones are losing density because of another underlying problem. Women are prone to developing osteoporosis after the menopause and this can lead to various spinal abnormalities and problems. We need to check all patients who need a spinal fusion as osteoporosis can reduce the chances of a successful outcome.

The Neurosciences Unit

The neurosciences unit is a major specialty at The London Clinic, which incorporates consultants and staff with expertise in neurology and neurosurgery. If you come to the neurosciences unit for your treatment you will have access to some of the finest consultants in London.

We also offer a dedicated multi-disciplinary team of neuroscience nurses and physiotherapists, as well as a speech therapist and dietician.

Neurologists and neurosurgeons work closely together in multi-discipline teams. 

The overall management and treatment plan for patients is overseen by the neurologist and the neurosurgeon provides surgical expertise when required.

The Spine Team

Our spinal nursing team, led by Catherin Cullinane, is dedicated to looking after patients with spinal problems. They work closely with consultant spinal surgeons to make sure you are cared for by nurses who know just what you need.

The team of over 20 people is made up of healthcare assistants, specialist nurses, sisters and managers.

Catherine is dedicated to training her team up to the most exceptional standards.

In her own words, “One day I will be an old lady and these nurses will be looking after me. This is my opportunity to train them to do this properly.”