Mr Aquilina graduated from the University of Malta in 1995. He completed his neurosurgical training in Bristol in 2010 including original research on intraventricular haemorrhage and hydrocephalus in premature babies, leading to a doctorate in medicine from the University of Bristol. He also completed a one-year clinical fellowship in paediatric neurosurgery, with particular focus on brain tumours in children, at St Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, one of the largest paediatric brain tumour clinical and research programmes in the United States. He was appointed Consultant Adult and Paediatric Neurosurgeon at Frenchay Hospital in Bristol in 2010. In November 2012 he was appointed Consultant Paediatric Neurosurgeon at Great Ormond Street Hospital where he is surgical lead for neuro-oncology. Mr Aquilina’s principal clinical and research interests include the management of spasticity in cerebral palsy, including SDR, brain tumours in children, hydrocephalus and neuro-endoscopy.
Mr Aquilina spent time with Dr TS Park at the Center for Cerebral Palsy in St Louis in 2009 and 2010 and was the first neurosurgeon to undertake SDR in the UK. He launched the SDR service in Bristol in May 2011, followed by Great Ormond Street Hospital for Sick Children in 2013 and subsequently at The Portland Hospital for Women and Children in 2014.
Mr Aquilina specialises in the single-level approach for SDR and has to date performed over 60 cases. The single-level procedure, developed by Dr Park in the 1990’s, allows rapid recovery and early return to intensive physiotherapy. It also reduces the long-term risk of spinal complications. This technique, with careful patient selection and post-operative therapy by an experienced multidisciplinary team is the key to successful SDR, a life-changing difference to the child with cerebral palsy spasticity.