About Operation Straight Spine (OSS)

Operation Straight Spine (OSS) was conceived in 2002 by spinal surgeons Jeffrey McConnell MD and Ujjwal Debnath, MD, FRCS, who shared a vision to establish a medical aid project for children and adults with spinal disorders.

Funded by SERF in the US and SPIRIT (Spine and Paediatric Injuries Rehabilitation Trust) in India, the OSS mission is to:

  • Provide spinal surgery and medical services to socially deprived and underprivileged individuals who cannot afford or who do not have access to such services.
  • Raise the standard of patient care in spinal surgery and orthopaedics across the region.
  • Create a self-sustaining center of excellence in spinal care at a well-known and respected charity hospital facility.
  • Create an infrastructure to provide specialist training in orthopaedic and spinal surgery for local medical professionals and trainees.


Operation Straight Spine is the first ever charitable project of its kind in India, consisting of outpatient clinics, major spine surgery, interventions, ward rounds and teaching seminars for local support staff, orthopaedic residents and physicians.

OSS offers a holistic approach, both medical and developmental. It provides practical medical and surgical interventions, followed by comprehensive rehabilitation to maximize the recovery process. Follow-up services include outpatient clinics, ongoing medical therapies and access to social services to maximize each patient’s ability to become self-sufficient and independent.

The origin of Operation Straight Spine

While training together at the Centre For spinal Studies and Surgery in Nottingham, England, their passion for spinal surgery and their desire to donate their time and services to those less fortunate in the global community grew further. in 2005 the first trip to India took place to conduct a feasibility study and establish local support. The aim was to create a recognized spinal correction service at an established charity hospital in India. The service would provide comprehensive medical and state-of-the-art surgical care to children and adults from surgically deprived areas who would not otherwise have access to or could not afford such treatment. The Spine Education and Research Foundation (SERF) was started in the U.S. to help raise funds for the project. After much planning and acquiring needed equipment and spinal instrumentation, the first OSS  mission trip was launched in 2006.

OSS_02-750x582Each year a team of volunteers including surgeons, nurses, anaesthesiologists, neuromonitoring specialists and spinal equipment technicians travel to Kolkata, India to carry on the work of OSS. Operation Straight Spine has partnered with the Ramakrishna Mission Seva Prastisthan (RMSP) , a well-respected charity hospital and orthopaedic residency training center in Kolkata. The RMSP provides OSS with storage space, clinic facilities, operating theatres, and the support staff necessary to facilitate our mission work.

OSS present and planned services include:

  • Diagnostic referral service / clinic appointment
  • Surgical procedures
  • Postoperative rehabilitation program
  • Follow-up monthly clinic
  • Vocational training and placement scheme
  • Ongoing support and assistance for patients to maximize their personal potential

Check out the photo gallery of OSS mission trips.

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