Ministry of Health & Prevention – Healthcare Innovation Award for Dr Sherief Elsayed

On February 13th 2020 Dr Sherief Elsayed, Consultant Spinal Surgeon, was presented with an Innovation Award by the Ministry of Health and Prevention, United Arab Emirates.

His award was for his successful introduction of Patient-Specific 3D printing into the operative correction of high-risk Scoliosis deformity.

Dr Sherief Elsayed is employed by NMC Healthcare. His remit is to build NMC Spine - a Center of Excellence for all matters related to the spinal system. NMC Spine is geared to provide compassionate, evidence-based care to the whole of the United Arab Emirates.

Till date a highly successful launch event in the form of multiple CME lectures has taken place. There is also a monthly Spine Multi-Disciplinary meeting running (open to all healthcare professionals, whether they are affiliated to NMC or not) along with a patient pathway that has been created for referring professionals, and more.

NMC Spine brings together all professionals involved in the management of patients with Spine pathology - surgeons, neurologists, physiotherapists, pain physicians, nurses, orthotists, and more.

Scoliosis Correction Surgery

Scoliosis Correction Surgery is high risk. Should things go wrong, any given patient may end up with a spinal cord injury, rendering them paralyzed, and with bladder, bowel and sexual dysfunction. This has a significant effect not only on the patient and their immediate family members but on society as a whole.

The introduction of any technology that reduces the risk of patient harm, particularly in a highly cost-effective manner is therefore very welcome.

For the first time in the United Arab Emirates, and indeed ahead of numerous countries, a patient-specific 3D-printed Spine model and navigated screw-guides were used for the correction of scoliosis in a 16-year-old female. The surgery proceeded without incident and at 3 months follow-up, the patient was able to walk 13,000 steps a day.

Reason For This Award

There are a multitude of reasons as to why this innovation was awarded:

Used for the first time ever in the United Arab Emirates (and indeed multiple other countries), this award was given to Dr. Sherief because his innovation was cost-effective, reduces operating theater time and radiation (to staff and patients), and is reproducible.

Idea Development

This innovation was created in the USA and is now FDA approved. It has been tested on around 500 cadaveric specimens and found to be highly accurate - allowing surgeons to place pedicle screws into the spine with great accuracy.

This is important as a misplaced screw can cause injury to the spinal cord - resulting in paralysis, and loss of bladder and bowel function. Misplaced screws also require a return to the operating theater at a great financial cost but also a significant undertaking for the patient and the healthcare team as a whole.

In addition, there is a significant reputational risk to such mishaps - not only to the surgeon/hospital but to the country as a whole.


A patient with scoliosis has a CT scan of their spine. This is then sent across to a highly specialized laboratory, where an exact replica of the spine is 3D printed. A surgical plan is then undertaken in conjunction with the surgeon. Once the screw trajectories and dimensions are agreed upon, screw guides are then printed to fit the exact spine model. Both the model and screw guides are sterilized and available to the surgeon in the operating theater.


To date, this work has been undertaken several hundred times in the US, but only once in the UAE. It has been very well received by the theater team and will continue to be used to ensure successful, safe correction of scoliosis and other spinal deformities.

The innovation demonstrates significant collaboration between the United Arab Emirates and laboratories/researchers overseas. A significant amount of planning was required to see this through to fruition.

A strong collaboration was required between the UAE hospital, the British distributor, and the American laboratory to ensure that the correct CT was undertaken, the correct treatment plan prepared, there was safe delivery of the final 3D printed specimen, and finally its sterilization and use in the operating theater.

The innovation has been featured in the local press and is now being presented to a number of learned societies. The innovation has consistently been met with enthusiasm and a willingness to learn more.

To book an appointment with Dr. Sherief Elsayed, contact us at

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