The Spinal Institute(‘Institut de la colonne vertebrale’ or ICV in French) is a non-profit association, created on 18 October 1994 by founder members: Jean-Pierre GRECIET, Jacques SENEGAS, Pierre DAVERAT and Jean-Marc VITAL. Jean Pierre GRECIET was the first president of the association under the initiative of the then, service head, Jacques SENEGAS who wanted to establish a vertebral column scientific reference centre. In 1999, Jean-Marc VITAL succeeded Jacques SENEGAS as service head. Since January 2017, it is Olivier GILLE who is the new head of department, whereas Jean-Marc Vital has become Head of the Pole Surgery.
Spinal Unit 1 is a centre of excellence at Victor Segalen University (also known as the ‘CHU’) in Bordeaux. The service specialises in spinal surgery of all forms, going from minor-invasive surgery to significant spinal deformities, including tumour surgery and traumatology. It’s a large organisation, the clinical and surgical activity of which is important. Seven surgeons work full-time in the department and are involved in research, education and writing the team’s publications. Work is dedicated exclusively to spinal pathologies, which allows the department to train an average of one spinal surgeon every year, putting our unit on the top rung of training provision for spinal pathology in France.
The association was created for the purpose of education and research, to bring together all spinal surgical treatment methodologies.
Two types of training programmes are offered:
- First for doctors, particularly general practitioners, but also for functional physiotherapists and rheumatologists, who tend to be the first to receive referrals regarding patients with spinal column dysfunctions. The training includes updating knowledge regarding the management of these patients, including assessing when a case is urgent enough to necessitate a specialist surgical consultation. Technical advances and surgical care developments are also explained.
- Secondly, for orthopaedic surgeons and neurosurgeons who wish to improve their knowledge in spinal surgery. The Spinal Institute offers them theoretical education as well as practical training using cadavers. These two ‘theoretical and practical’ aspects allow them to explain the techniques used in the Spinal Pathologies Unit and emphasize the indications and the evolution of these techniques over time. This training therefore constitutes a useful update in vertebral surgery.
From the point of view of research, the Spinal Institute helps sponsor scientific studies completed within the department; it also participates in anatomical research work carried out by departmental staff or visitors.
Likewise, the institute opens its doors to foreign surgeons who wish to train in spinal surgery, by proposing diverse bibliographical references which allows them to deepen their theoretical knowledge. They can also practice by working on cadavers in the anatomy laboratory at Victor Segalen University.
Since the year 2000, six years following its creation, the education and research objectives have taken a more structured shape, with two training programmes.
The first concerns vertebral column pathologies and is aimed at doctors. Being a theoretical course, the training fine tunes spinal pathologies diagnostic skills and focuses on technical advances in surgical management.