Meet The Team

The Spine Connection Team

We are a diverse team of spine surgeons, doctors and patient facilitation experts from Germany, Thailand and Australia.  Our specialists are leaders in their field, and together we deliver proven and trusted medical-travel solutions for patients living anywhere in the world.

From cutting edge motion-preserving implants, to precise robotic spine surgery, regenerative cell therapies and intensive rehabilitation, we provide extensive patient solutions in one place. We are specialised, and we change lives.

Patient Organization

Jake Lemon

Director | Patient Services
Spine Connection

Speciality:
  • Spine Patient Facilitation
  • Medical Travel Protocols
  • Integration of Global Hospitals & Specialists
Jake is Director of the Patient Services Team at Spine Connection and has assisted patients requiring overseas orthopaedic surgery for 7 years.

Partnered with Asia-Pacific’s largest medical travel group, he gained valuable experience recognising patient needs for before, during, and after overseas medical treatment.

In 2013 Jake pioneered medical travel dedicated for spine surgery for Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and South Africa by working with local doctors, medical researchers and overseas surgeons through the SkyGen Company. Spine Connection now delivers these services to all patients around the world, including the USA and Europe.

Jake continues to bring international hospitals and leading specialists together, allowing spine patients to receive high-level care no matter where they live. His responsibility is to ensure patients are assisted through every part of the journey, with medical outcome and patient experience both the No.1 priority.
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Malte Petersen

Director | Patient Services
ONZ International

Speciality:
  • Spine Patient Facilitation
  • Medical Travel Protocols
  • Pioneer of Overseas Spine Surgery (25yrs)
For over 25 years Malte has been working as a mediator between thousands of international spine patients, hospitals, and surgeons in Germany. In 2012 Malte was asked to become head of the international department of ONZ, and his expertise is key to assisting all Spine Connection patients during their time in Germany.

The German Spine Specialists involve Malte in all their thought processes, decisions, diagnosis, complication management, follow-up procedures if required – due to his role as spokesman and because of his ability to communicate with empathy in all cultures. In his career he has accompanied and evaluated over 10,000 spinal patients and their cases around the world. The surgeons appreciate Malte Petersen at eye level as an expert interlocutor.
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Germany

Dr. Bierstedt

Neurosurgeon Spine Surgeon
ONZ International

Speciality:
  • Artificial Disc Replacement
    (Cervical + Lumbar)
  • Total Lumbar Facet Replacement
  • Anterior Approach Lumbar Interventions
Dr. Thomas Bierstedt is one of Germany’s leading motion-preserving spine surgeons. He conducts 350-400 annual spinal surgeries of all degrees of difficulty. About 50% are motion-preserving interventions, e.g. artificial disc replacement in lumbar and cervical spine, along with lumbar facet replacement.

He is an adviser and involved in the development of different implants and instruments for the companies LDR, PremiaSpine and Signus. In addition, Dr. Bierstedt is a training surgeon to junior surgeons in various surgical procedures.

He appears regularly as a speaker for state-of-the-art surgical techniques at national and international symposia and congresses.
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Dr. Illerhaus

Neurosurgeon Spine Surgeon
ONZ International

Speciality:
  • Artificial Disc Replacement
    (Cervical + Lumbar)
  • Total Lumbar Facet Replacement
  • Anterior Approach Lumbar Interventions
Dr. Bernd Illerhaus is one of Germany’s leading motion-preserving spine surgeons. He performs some 400 spine interventions annually. His special emphasis is on motion-preserving disc replacement surgery and lumbar facet replacement surgery.

Dr. Illerhaus is a referenced surgeon, consultant and co-developer of different implants and instruments for companies Spine Art / Sanofi Aventis, Tessy and Spinal Kinetics.

He trains and shares his experience and knowledge with other specialists by offering hands-on operation courses and workshops. He also appears regularly as a speaker for various surgical techniques at national and international symposia and congresses
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Dr. Ostermann

Neurosurgeon Spine Surgeon
ONZ International

Speciality:
  • Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery
  • Endoscopic interventions
    (Cervical & Lumbar)
  • Spinal Decompression
Dr. Guido Ostermann is a recognised expert within Germany for minimally invasive and endoscopic interventions of the cervical, thoracic and lumbar spine. He performs about 350 surgeries per year and is a consultant and reference surgeon for companies like Spine Art / Sanofi Aventis, OMT and Joymax.

His patients benefit from small incisions, less blood loss, muscle sparing, and a very low risk of infections. Combined with the experience of Dr. Beirstedt and Dr. Illerhaus, the ONZ Team collaborate on patient cases to offer the most appropriate and safest solution.
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Dr. Vieregge

Medical Director
Medicos Aufschalke Rehabilitation Centre

Speciality:
  • Spine Surgery Rehabilitation
  • Sports Performance & Athlete Rehabilitation
Dr. Ulrich Vieregge is the Medical Director at Medicos Aufschalke, where all Spine Connection Germany patients learn to move confidently again after hospital discharge.

Dr. Vieregge believes in a wholistic approach to rehabilitation, where the body and mind learn to work together for the best possible outcome. He liaises with certified orthopaedic specialists, sports and nutritional scientists, sports coaches, physiotherapists and psychologists to ensure our patients receive the support they need during their 6-8 sessions per day.

Our patients enjoy his character, sense of humour and caring nature during their recovery.
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Maik Muller

Rehabilitation Trainer
Medicos Aufschalke Rehabilitation Centre

Speciality:
  • Spine Surgery Rehabilitation
  • Sports Performance & Athlete Rehabilitation
From the 150+ strong team at Medicos Aufschalke, Maike is the main physical trainer assisting Spine Connection patients.

He has completed his Masters in Sports Science and his clients enjoy his strong yet friendly support and guidance during their recovery from spine surgery in Germany.
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Thailand

Dr. Verapan

Neurosurgeon Spine Surgeon
Bumrungrad International Hospital

Speciality:
  • Instructor: Full Endoscopic Spine Surgery (Thailand & Germany)
  • Instructor: Computer Assisted Spine Surgery (Thailand)
  • Minimally Invasive & Robotic Surgery
Dr. Verapan Kuansongtham Graduated from the prestigious Mahidol university in 1991 and is a registered member of the Thai Board of Neurosurgery.

Advanced training accomplishments include:

  • Full Endoscopic Spine Surgery with Dr. Sebastian Ruetten at St. Anna Hospital. (Germany, 2008)
  • Aneurysm and Skull base surgery with Professor Takanori Fukushima in Pittsburgh. (USA, 1997)
  • Skull base surgery with Prof. Madjid Samii, Hannover. (Germany, 1997)
  • Minimally invasive neurosurgery with Professor Axel Perneczky, Mainz. (Germany, 1996)

Dr. Verapan is Director of the Bumrungrad Spine Institute in Thailand and is regarded as the No. 1 expert in the Asia-Pacific region for full-endoscopic spine fusion surgery in the Lumbar, Thoracic & Cervical Spine. He is affiliated with St. Anna Hospital in Herne, Germany, and he jointly organizes annual training courses for spine surgeons in Asia, while remaining a co-instructor in Germany where he also trains international surgeons. He speaks German, English, French and Thai.
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Dr. Withawin

Neurosurgeon Spine Surgeon
Bumrungrad International Hospital

Speciality:
  • Instructor: Full Endoscopic Spine Surgery (Thailand & Germany)
  • Instructor: Computer Assisted Spine Surgery (Thailand)
  • Minimally Invasive & Robotic Surgery
Dr. Withawin Kesornsak Graduated from the prestigious Mahidol University in 2003 and is a registered member of the Thai Board of Neurosurgery.

Advanced training accomplishments include:

  • Full-Endoscopic spine surgery with Dr. Sebastian Ruetten at St. Anna Hospital in Herne. (Germany, 2012)
  • Computer Assisted 3D Navigation for Cervical, Thoracic and Lumbar Spine surgery (Thailand, Since 2013)
  • Spinal Cord Stimulation and Intrathecal Workshop (Thailand, 2014)
  • AO Spine Fellow at Queen’s Medical Centre, Nottingham. (UK, 2016)

Dr. Withawin practices alongside Dr. Verapan (Director) and Dr. Thanet at the revered Bumrungrad Spine Institute, Asia-Pacific’s first and only accredited training facility for full endoscopic spine fusion. Their Spine Institute also extended their services with the new Mazor-X Robotic Spine Surgery Platform.
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Dr. Tayard

Orthopaedic Spine Surgeon
Bangkok Spine Academy
& Samitivej Chinatown

Speciality:
  • Minimally Invasive Surgery (Asia-Pacific)
  • Lumbar OLIF25 & OLIF51
    (Asia-Pacific)
  • Cervical, Thoracic & Lumbar
Dr. Tayard Buranakarl is Director and Co-Founder of the Bangkok Spine Academy, and Vice-President of the Thai Spine Society. He completed his first overseas training fellowship in year 2000, graduating from UCLA School of Medicine (California, USA).

Special Accomplishments:
  • Medtronic Surgeon Instructor (Asia-Pacific, Current)
  • First Direct Lateral Interbody Fusion (DLIF) in Thailand
  • First SI Joint Fusion in Thailand
  • First OLIF51 in ASEAN Group of Countries
  • Medtronic Key Opinion Leader for OLIF51 (International)

Dr. Tayard brings his skill and experience to our team so we can better assist local and overseas patients looking for faster, more affordable, and superior solutions.

His area of speciality relevant to our patients is multi-level cervical interventions, scoliosis surgery, and reconstructive lumbar surgeries using the very latest Minimally Invasive Surgery (MIS) techniques. This includes Oblique Lateral Interbody Fusion (OLIF), Transforaminal Lumbar Interbody Fusion (TLIF) and Direct Lateral Interbody Fusion (DLIF). Performing these surgeries using percutaneous keyhole methods (unlike open surgery) allows patients to benefit from less blood loss, preserving muscle and connective tissue, and ultimately a faster recovery time.
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Assoc. Prof. Tawechai

Orthopaedic Spine Surgeon
World Medical Hospital

Speciality:
  • Minimally Invasive Endoscopic Surgery
  • Spine Reconstruction (Full Spine)
  • Spine Decompression & Disc Surgery
Dr. Tawechai Tejapongvorachai is a spine surgeon at World Medical Hospital in Bangkok.

With 27 years practising orthopaedic surgery, Dr. Tawechai is widely respected as an Associate Professor at the prestigious Chulalongkorn University Hospital in Bangkok, where he trains the young spine surgeons of tomorrow.

Dr. Tawechai holds a fellowship of Spinal Surgery from the University Hospital of Cleveland (USA) and a Clinical Fellowship in Orthopaedic Surgery from the University of Hong Kong. His skillset and reputation are a welcome addition to the Spine Connection team.
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Dr. Weerasak

Orthopaedic Spine Surgeon
World Medical Hospital

Speciality:
  • Spinal Deformities
  • Spine Decompression & Disc Surgery
  • Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation
Dr. Weerasak Singhatanadgige has worked graduated from prestigious Chulalongkorn University and is a registered member of the Thai Board of Orthopedics.

He holds a fellowship in cervical spine surgery from Washington University (USA) in 2014, and a Fellowship in Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery from Rush University, Chicago (USA) in 2015.

He specialises in trauma and multisystem trauma, surgery of the spine, disc surgery, spinal deformities and spinal cord injury rehabilitation.
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Dr. Htut

Medical Director
Stem Cells 21

Speciality:
  • Stem Cell Therapy
    (Orthopaedic Conditions)
  • Immunotherapy
  • Degenerative Disease
Dr. Thein Htut is the Medical Director at both Stem Cells 21 Regenerative Medicine and Immunotherapy clinics in Bangkok. He has been a Medical Doctor for 40 years, with a surgical background he has a long history working in England, Germany, Israel, Singapore and Thailand.

Dr. Htut has worked in the field of Regenerative Medicine for 15 years, and liaises between patients, treating doctors, specialists and all 30+ staff at SC21 to ensure patients have the best possible treatment and outcome. His friendly nature and sense of humour is welcomed by all international visitors to the SC21 clinics.
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Dr. Gibbins

Scientific Director
Stem Cells 21

Speciality:
  • Neuroscience
  • Medical Engineering
  • Molecular Biology (iPSCs & Organoids)
Dr. Nicholas Boyd Gibbins is the Scientific Director for SC21 Group in Bangkok, Thailand. He is an experienced bioengineer specializing in human iPS cell culture, neural organoids, cancer organoid modelling, tumour microenvironment, and CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing.

His placements included Queen Mary University in London, University College of London, and CiRA, Kyoto University, Japan – trained by noble prize winner Shinya Yamanaka.
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Dr. Joyce

M.D. Attending Physician
Stem Cells 21

Speciality:
  • Stem Cell Therapy
    (Orthopaedic Conditions)
  • Immunotherapy
  • Ophthalmologist
Dr. Pornpatcharin Wongsaisri (Dr. Joyce) is the attending physician at SC21 and oversees all patient general treatments and care.

As a Doctor of both Medicine and Opthalmology, Dr. Joyce calls upon a wide scope of skills when assisting patients receiving regenerative therapies. She as keen interests in anti-ageing, nutrition and hormone replacement. Dr. Joyce designs personalised IV and take-home nutrition programs to support stem cell functions.
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Dr. Wichitrat (Wi)

M.D. Attending Physician
Stem Cells 21

Speciality:
  • Stem Cell Therapy
  • Facial Aesthetics (Anti-Ageing)
  • Qualified Physiotherapist
Dr. Wichitrat Champian (Dr. Wi) is a new addition to the SC21 team and her warm and friendly personality is welcomed by all patients. She has specialist training in cell based regenerative therapies and is a qualified physiotherapist and Medical Doctor. She received additional education in regenerative therapies in South Korea, Greece and the USA.

Dr. Wi brings a broad scope of knowledge, with memberships in the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine, Stem Cell Society of Singapore, Medical Council of Thailand, and Physiotherapy Council of Thailand.
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