In 2005, I was promoted to the rank of Full Professor at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey-New Jersey Medical School. In that same year, I became the Chair of the AANS/CNS Joint Section on Disorders of the Spine & Peripheral Nerves. It was a very exciting time in the spine world with many new developments.
The most novel addition to the spine world during my time as the Section Chair was the inception of the artificial disc for lumbar spine surgeries. The Charite disc (Depuy Spine) was the first to gain widespread usage and a number of other industrial partners developed and released their own lumbar artificial disc products shortly afterward. The artificial disc became an alternative to the options of either simple decompression versus decompression and fusion with or without spinal instrumentation.
In addition, there was a fair amount of buzz ongoing among numerous leaders of the Spine Section regarding whether “Spine” should break free from “Neurosurgery” as its own specialty. Luckily, cooler heads prevailed and I am proud to say I was one of the leaders to help quell this movement and continue to support that Spine should stay beneath the umbrella of organized Neurosurgery.
The next 17 years have clearly demonstrated that this was a good decision as our collective group of neurosurgical spine surgeons have greatly benefitted over this time frame by maintaining their positions as integral parts of the Neurosurgical community. Progress was made during the 2005–2006 timeframe, and it continues to be made to this day, and it was a very exciting time to be a societal leader during this period.
Robert F. Heary, MD
- 2005–2006 Chair
AANS/CNS Joint Section on Disorders of the Spine & Peripheral Nerves
- Professor of Neurological Surgery
Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine
Nutley, New Jersey
- Chief of Neurosurgery and Medical Director of Spine Services
Mountainside Medical Center
Montclair, New Jersey