SSL Certificate

Dr James Tan Siah Heng

Consultant Spine Neurosurgeon


  • MBBS (Singapore)
  • FRCS (Edinburgh)
  • FRCS (Glasgow)
  • FRCS (Neurosurgery)


Dr James Tan graduated with an MBBS from the National University of Singapore in 1989 and obtained his Fellowship from the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh and the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow in 1995. In that same year, he commenced his neurosurgical training at Tan Tock Seng Hospital. In 1997, he was awarded a Ministry of Health HMDP Scholarship to attend a two-year specialist training programme in London, UK at The National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery (Queens Square) and the Charing Cross Hospital. In 1999, he completed his training and obtained his specialist Neurosurgical Fellowship in Neurosurgery from the Intercollegiate Board of UK.

Upon his return to Singapore, Dr Tan instituted and was the Director in charge of the Spine Programme at National Neuroscience Institute. Dr Tan’s interest in spinal disorders led him to become the first surgeon in Asia to successfully use artificial cervical discs implants in spinal surgery. He has since performed over 300 of such cervical spinal operations.

In 2003, Dr Tan was awarded a Ministry of Health HMDP fellowship to further his sub-specialist training in spinal surgery at the Schulthess Clinic, Zurich, Switzerland, where he further developed his interest in minimally invasive spinal procedures as well as spinal injections for treatment of neck and back pain. Upon his return, he is one of the first surgeons in Singapore to use facet and medial branch injections in the treatment of neck and back pain.

Dr Tan has participated actively as an invited speaker and instructor at conferences in the Singapore and Asian. He is a member of the AO Spine (East Asia) Committee and is active in teaching and training young spine surgeons in the region. He is also a Clinical Lecturer at Faculty of Medicine, National University of Singapore as well as part time lecturer at Nanyang Polytechnic. Presently, he is also a visiting consultant to Department of Neurosurgery, National University Hospital. His main surgical interest is in the treatment of degenerative spinal disorders of the cervical and lumbar spine. Dr Tan’s other sub-speciality interest is in pituitary tumours where he performs minimally invasive endoscopic transphenoidal surgery.

Achievements and Awards

  • 1981 :  Distinction Award (Anglo-Chinese School)
  • 1997-1999 : Human Manpower Development Plan (Ministry of Health, Singapore) - London, United Kingdom
  • 2003 : Human Manpower Development Plan (Ministry of Health, Singapore) - Zurich, Switzerland

Area of Interest

  • Prospective Randomized Trial on Cervical Artificial Disc to start Q3 2007.
  • Use of Bryan Disc in Cervical Spine Surgery. First to use this new joint replacement in South East Asia 2002. Implanted the first Prodisc C in Singapore 2005.
  • National Co-ordinator of CRASH Trial (Corticosteroid Randomization After Significant Head Injury) - MRC sponsored Multicentre Trial
  • Setting up of Spinal Database for NNI.
  • Cervical laminectomy in patients with predominantly anterior compression – pre and post op MRI imaging study.
  • Initiated a prospective study on the outcome of hypertensive intracerebral hemorrhage with or without surgical intervention. (Surg Neurol 2001 Nov;56(5):287-92)
  • Retrospective study on the department’s operative experience in spinal tumors (published - Singapore Med J. 2005 Feb;46(2):74-7
  • Retrospective analysis on outcome after hemorrhagic strokes (Presented at 34th Singapore-Malaysia Congress of Medicine).