Back to the Homelands for a ‘whistle stop’ teaching tour of South Africa


Early March saw Charity Director, Evert Smith return to his roots to teach surgeons in South Africa the minimal access Direct Superior Approach (DSA) technique for hip replacement. This special approach is a muscle sparing technique which usually results in a faster recovery for patients.


The tour began in Cape Town at 2 Military Hospital, Wynberg where Evert demonstrated the DSA technique to Orthopaedic Surgeons Dr Cecil Reid and Dr Mourad Hanna and their team. The patient had avascular necrosis of both hips and underwent bilateral surgery during the same operation. By the time the surgeons had got to operating on this patient’s second side, they had really warmed to the procedure.


During the afternoon of Evert’s first day he transferred to Groote Schuur Hospital. This was a special part of the trip as it was the hospital where he undertook his Orthopaedic Surgical Rotation in South Africa. Evert met with Dr Marc Nortje, Head of the Arthroplasty Unit, to review revision procedures.


On the second day, Evert demonstrated the technique to Dr Tom Hilton, a fellow graduate of the University of Cape Town where Evert undertook his Bachelor of Science Degree. Evert found the surgeons to be perceptive and they thoroughly enjoyed the interaction with Evert. Tom Hilton commented how great it is to have visitors who add value to their orthopaedic practice.


The next stage of the trip was a journey to George Hospital on the east coast. Here Evert had a meeting with Dr Tom Barrett where he went through the DSA approach.


From George he travelled to Stryker Headquarters in Johannesburg where there was a day of lectures and x-ray reviews with surgeons and Stryker staff.



Finally, on to another hospital that evoked some powerful memories for Evert - Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital, Soweto - which is one of the teaching hospitals affiliated with the University of the Witwatersrand Medical School where Evert undertook his undergraduate medical degree. Evert was a House Officer and Senior House Officer at ‘Bara’. This is the biggest hospital in South Africa and the 3rdlargest in the world. The annual admission statistics are astonishing, with approximately 70% being classified as emergencies and 60,000 patients travelling through the Maternity Hospital.


Evert operated on two patients with Dr Richard Greeff and Dr Nabeel Moosa who instantly warmed to the procedure. Evert tweeted that it was great to be back at Groote Schuur and Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital.



The surgeons to whom Evert demonstrated the DSA procedure had never before seen the special DSA kit in South Africa, so it was a surgical first and very worthwhile. The Stryker Representatives that accompanied Evert at various points throughout the trip did a great job.    


Evert returned home in time to catch the Six Nations rugby matches feeling fulfilled at having passed on his skill and knowledge to professionals who would use this to improve patient outcomes in South Africa.