Professor Brian Freeman

Professor Brian Freeman
 Position Co-Clinical Director COTR
 Org Unit Surgical Specialties
 Telephone +61 8 8222 4466
 Location Adelaide Health and Medical Sciences ,   North Terrace
  • Biography/ Background

    Professor Freeman graduated from medical school in 1988 and pursued higher surgical training in Orthopaedic and Trauma Surgery, obtaining Fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons in 1997 and Fellowship of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons in 2010. Professor Freeman has completed two internationally recognised Fellowships in Spinal Surgery; The British Orthopaedic Association National Fellowship in Spinal Surgery (1999) in Nottingham, UK and The Clinical/Research Fellowship in Spinal Surgery at the Royal Adelaide Hospital, Adelaide, Australia (2000). Research conducted during this Fellowship (2000) led to the award of a Doctorate of Medicine to Professor Freeman from the University of Nottingham, UK (2006).

    Dr Freeman commenced as Consultant Spinal Surgeon at Queen's Medical Centre, Nottingham, UK in 2000. In 2007, he was awarded the position of Special Professor of Spinal Surgery by the University of Nottingham, UK (2007-2010). In 2008 he was appointed Head of Spinal Services at the Royal Adelaide Hospital and Professor of Spinal Surgery at University of Adelaide (2008-present). He was appointed Research Director at the Adelaide Centre for Spinal Research in 2012 and Co-director of the Centre for Orthopaedic and Trauma Research, University of Adelaide in 2012. Professor Freeman is the senior clinician responsible for the management of traumatic spinal cord injured patients for Central Australia (South Australia and Northern Territories).

  • Research Funding

    In the last 5 years, Professor Freeman has been supported by AUD $2.3 million from peer review funding bodies and attracted an additional AUD $2.7 million from industry to support his research. Peer-review project grants include:

    • Immediate Cooling and Emergency Decompression (ICED); Involving WA in an Australian wide clinical trial for traumatic spinal cord injury 2012-2013. Western Australian Institute for Medical Research, Neurotrauma Research Programme AUD $165,451 [AI]
    • Assessment of the timing of decompressive surgery in spinal cord injury Institute for Safety, Compensation and Recovery Research (ISCRR) 2013,
      AUD $46,370 [CID]
    • ICED for the treatment of spinal cord injury; Pilot, safety and feasibility studies 2014-2016. NHMRC Project Grant APP ID 1066217 AUD $581,561 [CIC]
    • ICED for the treatment of spinal cord injury; Pilot, safety and feasibility studies. 2014-2019. Institute for Safety, Compensation and Recovery Research (ISCRR) AUD $971,000 [CID]


    Professor Freeman has collaborations outside Australia with Professor Tom Oxland (University of British Columbia), Assoc Professor Peter Cripton (University of British Columbia) and Professor Michael Fehlings (University of Toronto).

  • Publications

    Top 5 publications in the last 5 years

    1. Arun R, Freeman B J C, Scammell B E, McNally D, Gowland P, Cox E. 2009 ISSLS Prize Winner: What influence does sustained mechanical load have on diffusion in the human intervertebral disc: An in-vivo study using serial post-contrast magnetic resonance imaging. Spine 2009 Oct 1; 34 (21) 2324-2337.

    2. Meir AR, Freeman B J C, Fraser R D, Fowler SM. 2012 Outstanding Paper Surgical Science: Runner Up. Ten-year survival and clinical outcome of the AcroFlex lumbar disc replacement for the treatment of symptomatic disc degeneration. The Spine Journal. 2013 Jan; 13 (1): 13-21.

    3. Alexander W M, Smith M, Freeman B J C, Sutherland L M, Kennedy J D, Cundy P J. The effect of posterior spinal fusion on respiratory function in Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. European Spine Journal. 2013 Feb; 22 (2): 411-6.

    4. Cundy T P, Antoniou G, Sutherland L M, Freeman B J C, Cundy P J. Serum titanium, niobium, and aluminium levels after instrumented spinal arthrodesis in children. Spine (Phila Pa 1976) 2013; 38: 7: 564-570.

    5. Freeman B J C, Ludbrook G, Hall S, Cousins M, Mitchell B, Jaros M, Wyand M, Gorman J. A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of transforaminal epidural etanercept for the treatment of symptomatic lumbar disc herniation. Spine (Phila Pa 1976) 2013; 38: 23: 1986-1994.

  • Professional Associations

    • International Society for the Study of the Lumbar Spine (ISSLS); Executive Committee Member/Regional Representative Great Britain 2002-2007, Instructional Course Chairman 2005-2008, Fellowship Committee 2012-2014, Program Committee Ad Hoc Reviewer 2013-2014.
    • North American Spine Society (NASS); Corresponding Member 2012-2014
    • AOSpine Australia/New Zealand Council (; Member at Large 2009-2010, Chairman 2010-2014.
    • Spinal Cord Injury Network (SCIN) Australia and New Zealand. Clinical Trials Committee Member 2009-2012, Deputy Chair 2013-2015.

    International Standing

    Professor Freeman has published 77 peer-reviewed original publications, 19 book chapters, 143 published abstracts from 212 podium presentations and 94 poster presentations to national and international meetings. He has been awarded 34 national and international prizes for his research and teaching including: 2007 ISSLS Prize in Clinical Studies, 2009 Spine Society of Australia Spinal Research Award, 2009 ISSLS Prize in Basic Science/Biomechanics, The Spine Journal 2012 Outstanding Paper Award in Surgical Science (Runner Up) and 2013 Spine Society of Australia Spinal Research Award. Professor Freeman has acted as External Examiner for the Australian National University (PhD), the University of Capetown (Masters) and the University of Queensland (Masters).

  • Community Engagement

    Professor Freeman is an member of the Spinal Cord Injury Network (SCIN) and serves on the
    Clinical Trials Committee. SCIN actively engages the spinal cord injured community to facilitate more effective clinical trials in spinal cord injury.

    Supervision / Mentorship

    • Principle Supervisor to completion of 3 Doctorates of Medicine, 2 Masters, and 2 Bachelors of Medical Science
    • Current Principle Supervisor to 2 PhD and 1 M Clin Sci candidates
    • Mentor to Dr Claire Jones NHMRC Early Career Fellowship 2014-2016 APP ID 1072387, AUD $304,586

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Entry last updated: Thursday, 9 Aug 2018

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