Brigham & Women's Hospital

Thomas S. Thornhill, MD

Thomas S. Thornhill, M.D.

John B. and Buckminster Brown Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery
Harvard medical school

2012-13 Chief's Report | BWH Chief's Report 2012-2013 PDF

Spine Service (Dr. Chris Bono)


The spine service has continued to strengthen over the past year. Drs. Ferrone and Harris have developed an outstanding combined spine tumor service. In addition, they have initiated a multi-disciplinary spine oncology conference that meets once a week to discuss interesting and challenging cases which includes medical oncology, radiation oncology, radiology, neurosurgery faculty members. The service was sad to see Amanda Steinberg return to New York in March, who served as a physician assistant for Drs. Bono and Harris over the past 6 years. Her devotion to the spine service was exemplary, not to mention her service as lead PA for the department. We will be welcoming her replacement, Cara Patten, PA in mid-June, who will work with both Drs. Bono and Estok. Steady as ever, Dr. Brick continues to have a bustling spine practice. As he will soon turn 60 years old, Dr. Brick will finally rotate off of the spine call schedule!


The combined BWH-MGH spine fellowship aged one more year. This year’s fellows have done a great job here at BWH. Rayhan Jalal will be moving back to Canada to complete another fellowship. Ravi Ramachandran, who joined us after completing his residency at Yale, will be crossing the country to join a private practice in California. Phillipe Phan, a Parisian who joined us via Canada, will be starting an academic position at Ottawa Hospital.


The spine service has been steadily productive. We are nearing completion of a randomized controlled trial of different postoperative restriction regimens following lumbar discectomy. From that database of information, one of our fellows, Ravi Ramachandran has completed a rather interesting study correlating preoperative function with improvements following surgery. Dr. Harris has hit it big once again with a trio of studies regarding the outcomes of spinal epidural abscesses. One of his papers recently was awarded “Best Clinical Paper” at the annual meeting of the International Society for the Advancement of Spinal Surgery in Vancouver, BC, co-authored by Sang Kim, one of last year’s residency graduates, who is currently completing his spine fellowship at Washington University in St Louis. At the most recent annual meeting of the North American Spine Society, one of Dr. Bono’s papers (co-authored by Andrew Simpson) that examined inconsistencies between published abstracts and manuscripts was the number 2 paper in the “Best Paper Session”. This work is currently under review at The Spine Journal.


Beyond these works, the spine attendings at BWH continue to be extremely active in both the academic and organizational arenas. Since May of 2012, Dr. Bono has had 11 additional paper’s published, in addition to a number of book chapters, and several others that are in press; Dr. Harris has had 4 spine publications. Notably, Dr. Harris is the Spine Section editor for the forthcoming edition of Orthopaedic Knowledge Update (OKU). Dr. Ferrone has recently co-authored an important paper concerning the effects of radiation and postoperative wound complications in the extremity and trunk.


Within the past year, Dr. Harris has become a member of the board of directors of the North American Spine Society in addition to serving as the chair of the Governance Committee. Dr. Bono has assumed the role of Treasurer for the North American Spine Society, while starting a new task force de novo that is developing coverage policy recommendations for spine care. Both Dr.s Harris and Bono have given numerous paper presentations around the world and grounds lectures at many prominent institutions. Dr. Bono oversaw the recent meeting of the International Society for the Advancement of Spinal Surgery as overall program chair. In October, he was the 15th Annual Leach Visiting Professor at Boston University, and in May he was a visiting professor and lecturer at the 42nd annual meeting of the Japanese Society for Spinal Surgery and Research in Okinawa. Dr. Bono continues to service as deputy editor of orthopaedic surgery for The Spine Journal and deputy editor of CME for JAAOS. Dr. Bono has also assumed a second term as the chair of the Spine Special Interest Examination for the AAOS.

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