Richard Gullan qualified at St. Bartholomew’s Hospital, London and started his surgical career on the Professorial Surgical Unit there before continuing general training to obtain his Membership of the Royal College of Physicians and Fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons of England. He undertook neurosurgical training in Cambridge, Edinburgh and London prior to being appointed in 1988 as Consultant Neurosurgeon to the SE Thames regional Neurosurgical Unit at The Brook Hospital, which was amalgamated with the Guy’s/Maudsley Unit to create the King’s College Neuroscience Centre in 1995, where he is the senior neurosurgeon.
He developed a large practice in spinal and neurovascular surgery and created one of the first multidisciplinary Neuro-Oncology clinics in the NHS and the Private Section in the UK.
Within the field of spinal neurosurgery, he has established a reputation of being at the forefront of many techniques. He presented the first use of posterior instrumented stabilisation for malignant disease affecting the spinal column just prior to his appointment as a consultant neurosurgeon and was the first neurosurgeon worldwide to pilot the use of intervertebral fusion cages for cervical disc surgery and the first to introduce posterior lumbar interbody fusion to neurosurgeons in the UK. These techniques have since come commonly employed on an international basis.
He was amongst the first within British neurosurgical practice to employ the use of pedicle screw instrumentation, trans-oral spinal surgery for complex cranio-cervical disorders, percutaneous disc surgery, cervical disc arthroplasty and pioneered surgery under local anaesthesia for spinal decompressive procedures in high risk patients.
Work in these fields has been presented and published widely over 20 years of consultant practice. He continues to have a major interest in the management of brain and spinal tumours and is actively engaged in the introduction of the first Cyberknife Unit in the UK.
Teaching, especially operative technique and clinical decision making to young neurosurgeons has been a much cherished activity and he has been significantly involved in the training of over a dozen senior trainees who have gone on to take up consultant neurosurgical posts in the UK as well as trainees who have been appointed to senior positions abroad.