Home Version 21


Sydney Spine Surgery

Dr Michelle Atkinson is an Orthopaedic Surgeon subspecialising in Spinal Surgery

dr michelle atkinson

My Philosophy

I am an orthopaedic surgeon who has subspecialised in spinal surgery. I mobilise all patients immediately after surgery and I encourage everyone to play an active part in their own postoperative progress. I utilise minimally invasive techniques to decrease painful muscle dissection and wounds are numb with local anaesthetic so rolling out of bed and walking in the corridor on the day of surgery is enabled and will decrease the postoperative complications. Day only surgery is performed for discectomy, foraminotomy, laminectomy and early discharge home at one to two days for spinal fusions. Those requesting further input can transfer to rehabilitation hospitals.

Recent Posts

  • New bone cell discovery
    A team of researchers at the Garvan Institute have discovered a new type of bone cell, which could result in new approaches for the treatment of osteoporosis and other sk...
  • World Sepsis Day 2021
    World Sepsis Day is happening on September 13th, and is celebrating its 10th anniversary of this event. This cause is of great importance to Dr Atkinson, who is currently...
  • Orthopaedic oncology and bioengineering – podcast with A/Prof Claudia Di Bella
    A/Prof Claudia Di Bella was recently interviewed for the Orthopod, a podcast held by the University of Melbourne’s Student Orthopaedic and Musculoskeletal Association, or...


The neck region of the spine is known as the Cervical Spine. This region consists of seven vertebrae, which are abbreviated C1 through C7 (top to bottom). These vertebrae protect the brain stem and the spinal cord, support the skull, and allow for a wide range of head movement.


Beneath the last cervical vertebra are the 12 vertebrae of the Thoracic Spine. These are abbreviated T1 through T12 (top to bottom). T1 is the smallest and T12 is the largest thoracic vertebra. The thoracic vertebrae are larger than the cervical bones and have longer spinous processes.


The Lumbar Spine has 5 vertebrae abbreviated L1 through L5 (largest). The size and shape of each lumbar vertebra is designed to carry most of the body’s weight. Each structural element of a lumbar vertebra is bigger, wider and broader than similar components in the cervical and thoracic regions.

Spine Regions

The spine is made of 33 individual bones stacked one on top of the other.
sydney spine surgery northern beaches


The Sacrum is located behind the pelvis. Five bones (abbreviated S1 through S5) fused into a triangular shape, form the sacrum. The sacrum fits between the two hipbones connecting the spine to the pelvis. The last lumbar vertebra (L5) articulates (moves) with the sacrum.


Immediately below the sacrum are five additional bones, fused together to form the Coccyx (tailbone).