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aali sheen

Aali Sheen


Aali Sheen was appointed Consultant Surgeon in 2005 at Manchester Royal Infirmary and specialises in both Hepatopancreatobiliary & hernia surgery.

Aali qualified from was born and raised in London and went to Medial School in Dundee qualifying in 1993. He trained to be a Surgeon in London, Manchester and Leeds with a short time in Sweden. Aali has an honorary personal chair with MMU awarded for his academic interests and has now set up a ‘hernia lab’ investigating both biomarkers and inflammatory responses in hernia occurrence and repair with mesh. His publications in the field of Hernia surgery include the world’s first sportsman’s hernia consensus statement which redefined the symptomatic groin in athletes as ‘inguinal disruption’ as well a the first randomised controlled trial in sports hernia comparing open v lap techniques. In Manchester Aali has a hernia team and sees many patients from the UK and further afield for chronic groin pain, mesh problems, inguinal disruption and complex abdominal wall reconstruction.

Aali has served on the board of the BHS since 2010 and was congress organiser in 2012 in Manchester and also represented the UK on various subcommittees of the European Hernia Society as well as the ACCESS committee and their subsequent publications on the development of specialised hernia centres for Europe. Aali has also been involved in the authorship of hernia guidelines in the UK & Europe. He is also a member of the American Hernia Society and sits on their awards and scientific committee. He regularly attends hernia meetings and has been a guest speaker in both national and international conferences over the last 10 years. Aali is on the Editorial board for both Hernia and Frontiers in Oncology as a Section Senior Editor.

Aali is the Congress chair for the EHS 43rd Congress to be held in Manchester 2022 in March and is hoping to create a largely educational event aimed at increasing trainee attendance.

Aali has help positions on the board including ordinary member, secretary as well as President elect and becoming President he considers his greatest honour in his professional life, one that he will take head on to support hernia surgery, education and science in the UK along with the other excellent board members.

Aali has interests including mainly sport as a keen fitness fanatic but mainly enjoys time with his family and is an avid Crystal Palace fan.

Liam Horgan

Past President and Chair of the BHS Registry Sub-Committee

Liam Horgan is a laparoscopic upper gastro-intestinal surgeon working in Northumbria Healthcare Trust with a special interest in day case hernia and gallbladder surgery.

Liam qualified from University College, Cork in 1985. He moved to NE Thames for his higher surgical training and was a research fellow at the Royal Free Hospital. London. He joined Northumbria Healthcare NHSFT as their first dedicated Laparoscopic Surgeon in 1999.

He formed the NUGITS group in 2000 and is its Director. The NUGITS group is one of the leading teams of laparoscopic surgeons in the UK and is recognised as a centre of excellence in Teaching and Training. The NUGITS group are also recognised as a leading unit in the UK by the NHS Institute of Innovation and Improvement in day case laparoscopic gallbladder surgery. NUGITS was a finalist in the Hospital Doctor of the Year Awards 2006.

Liam was a council member of the British Association of Day Surgery and is a Clinical Lecturer in Surgery for the Medical School, Newcastle. He was the first national tutor in patient safety for theatre teams at the Royal College of Surgeons in England.

His main interests include all forms of hernia, simple to complex recurrent incisional hernias, laparoscopic gallbladder and bile duct surgery, laparoscopic anti-reflux surgery, emergency laparoscopic surgery, laparoscopic training and proctoring, human factors and patient safety and operating theatre efficiency. He has spoken at meetings nationally and internationally and published on these areas.

Liam has been a board member of the British Hernia Society since 2014, organised the 2016 Newcastle Hernia Conference, and was the president of our society from 2018 to 2020. His main focus during his time as president was laying the groundwork for a national UK BHS hernia registry, collaboration with our Irish colleagues, increasing the diversity of the board and increasing the membership of the society. He is continuing his work for the society as the chair of the BHS Registry Sub-committee. He also represents the BHS as the UK representative on the Chapters Committee of the EHS.

He also leads a long term voluntary commitment to support general surgery and hernia surgery and has established a laparoscopic training program and service provision in Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Center, Moshi, Tanzania since 2003. Liam and his team won the prestigious BMJ Surgical Team of the Year 2014 for this work.

David Sanders

Secretary/President Elect

David Sanders is a consultant upper GI surgeon and clinical lead for Upper GI Surgery and the Abdominal Wall service at North Devon Hospital in Barnstaple. He completed specialty laparoscopic upper GI training in the South West of England and a trauma fellowship in South Africa. His doctorate thesis was on the influence of mesh and fixation techniques on infection in abdominal wall hernia repair and is an internationally recognized expert in the field with over 70 publications in the field of hernia surgery and several book chapters. He has given numerous invited lectures on the topic both nationally and internationally. David Co-Chaired the National Institute for Clinical Excellence approved commissioning guidance for groin hernia, was involved in developing the RightCare patient decision aid for inguinal hernias and is on the European working group that developed the Abdominal Wall Closure Guidelines and the International Hernia Guidelines. He is the co-chair of the European Hernia Society Incisional Hernia Guidelines Group

Stella Smith


Stella Smith is a Consultant Emergency and General Surgeon in Manchester with a colorectal
background. She has a dedicated interest in abdominal wall reconstruction (AWR). During her post- CCT fellowship in Trauma in Nottingham, she developed decision-making and technical skills in AWR. Whilst undertaking a Trauma Fellowship in Groote Schuur Hospital, Cape Town, she gained a wealth of experience managing patients with penetrating abdominal trauma who had damage control surgery resulting in an open abdomen.

In August 2018, Stella founded the Greater Manchester Abdominal Wall Reconstruction Forum; a
multidisciplinary group, including general and plastic surgeons, that discusses complex and
interesting cases as well as to share tips and tricks, promote research and undertake audits. There is an open-door policy for anyone wanting to attend.

Stella has a humanitarian interest and, in 2019, has been on call for the UK Emergency Medical Team to deploy to areas of natural disaster on behalf of the Department for International Development (DfID). She also has an active interest in major trauma and education. She has developed and convened bespoke trauma courses in Manchester for multi professionals. She is an Academic Advisor for the University of Manchester Medical School.

Alastair Windsor

Abdominal Wall Reconstruction Secretary and Chair AWR Sub-Committee

Alastair Windsor trained at St Mary’s Hospital in London. Having spent three years working in sepsis and organ failure research at the Medical College of Virginia, USA, he returned as Lecturer and then Senior Lecturer and Honorary Consultant Surgeon to the Academic Surgical Unit at St James’ University Hospital, Leeds. A continued research and clinical interest in sepsis and nutrition provided an opportunity to join the staff at St Mark’s Hospital in London as colorectal surgeon and surgeon to the intestinal failure unit.

He has now moved to join the staff as Consultant Surgeon to University College Hospital London, and Honorary Senior Lecturer at the University College London. Since moving from St Mark’s he has retained an expertise and busy tertiary referral practice focused on the management of the surgical abdominal catastrophe, which includes to a large extent the management of enterocutaneous fistulae, open abdomens and complex inflammatory bowel disease. With the emerging subspecialty of Abdominal Wall Reconstruction he has also developed a national referral practice for the management of complex abdominal wall hernias. In addition, in 2016 he organised the first international abdominal wall conference, in Europe ‘AWR Europe’, a successful three day meeting dedicated to the global management of abdominal wall defects. As an active member of the BSG, ECCO, a founder member of Surgical ECCO he has been involved in development of both UK and European guidelines on the management of IBD. He has over one hundred and twenty publications and book chapters and remains a committed surgical trainer. His research now focuses on improved abdominal wall reconstruction techniques, surgical outcomes and enhanced surgical recovery.

Toby Hammond

Scientific Secretary/London Representative

Toby Hammond is a Consultant General & Colorectal Surgeon at the Mid & South Essex NHS Foundation Trust.

He performs open & laparoscopic surgery for groin and abdominal wall hernias, inflammatory bowel disease and diverticular disease. He has a subspecialty interest in abdominal wall reconstruction (AWR) for complex and recurrent abdominal wall hernias.

He trained in London & Essex, and during this period completed a thesis on the role of biomaterials in the management of parastomal hernias and anal fistulas. This culminated in a research MD, awarded by the University of London, as well as the Colon & Rectal Disease Research Foundation Prize, by the Association of Coloproctology of Great Britain & Ireland (ACPGBI).

In addition to the British Hernia Society, Toby is also on the Education & Training Board of the European Hernia Society, and the Abdominal Wall Subcommittee of the ACPGBI.

Toby leads a nationally recognised cadaveric AWR training course, and has presented at national and international hernia meetings.

Duncan Light

Education secretary

Duncan Light is a Consultant in benign upper GI and hernia surgery in the Northumbria Healthcare Trust. He trained in the North East of England and undertook a post CCT fellowship in the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh. He has published a number of papers in the field of hernia surgery and has presented at the AHS, EHS and BHS meetings.

He recently undertook an EHS supported travel fellowship to Berlin and Hamburg in 2018.

Duncan has an interest in surgical education and has recently completed a postgraduate MSc in medical education. He has been involved in teaching hernia surgery in charity missions to India and Tanzania

Oroog Ali

Trainee Representative

Miss Oroog Ali is a specialist registrar in general and colorectal surgery based in the North East of England. She has a keen interest in education and training conducting national surgical courses, conferences and training days. She is a surgical mentor to students and trainees and has obtained the NHS Leadership Academy Award with a completed degree in medical education. She is part of the executive committee for the Association of Surgeons in Training and has detailed experience of the surgical training environment.

Oroog has been involved in laparoscopy and hernia surgery training as part of charity trips in Tanzania. She also has presented work in the management of complex abdominal wall hernia in meetings.  In her role as the BHS trainee representative she hopes to promote views of trainees around hernia care and develop training resources on operative techniques.

Harsha Jayamanne

Website, Membership and Communications/Wales representative

I qualified from University of Kelaniya in Sri Lanka and after basic training there, I moved to the UK where I continued my higher surgical training In South Wales. I currently work as a SAS doctor in General Surgery in Aneurin Bevan University Health Board, Newport. I have a heavy commitment to emergency surgery and am an enthusiast of abdominal wall repair and groin hernia surgery, an interest that I developed over many years.

I have presented at both National and International meetings and have a number of publications in the field of hernia surgery. In 2016 I organised a successful local anaesthetic Hernia workshop for Sri Lankan surgical trainees, collaborating with the charity Hernia International and the College of Surgeons Sri Lanka.

Outside of medicine, I enjoy many aspects of music production, audio engineering and website development.

Praminthra Chitsabesan

Education and Training/North East Representative

Praminthra Chitsabesan is a Laparoscopic Colorectal and General Surgeon with specialist experience in Cancer, Pelvic floor disease and Abdominal wall reconstruction. He completed his training in the North-Eastern Deanery and then a fellowship in Basingstoke as a Laparoscopic and Advanced Malignancy Open Colorectal Fellow. He is currently the Colorectal Lead for Humber Coast and Vale Cancer Alliance.

He did his PhD on clinical training and served as a Core training Facilitator for the Yorkshire and Humber Deanery for five years. He is joint  Co-Director for the Yorkshire Colorectal and Abdominal wall reconstruction Cadaver Courses.

He is interested in enhanced recovery as well as prehabilitation and the identification of frailty phenotypes and their impact on surgery.  He is an Honorary Senior Clinical Lecturer at Hull York Medical School and a reviewer for the journal Hernia.

He is part of the York Abdominal Wall Reconstruction team, who have presented in various international meetings. The team includes plastic surgeons and a MD thesis student who is currently investigating the quality of life in these complex patients and are conducting material science research with the University of York.

Dimitrios Damasakos

Scotland representative

Born and raised in Greece. Post graduate training at the General Hospital of Nikaia-Piraeus, Greece. Training in General and Emergency Surgery, rotation in ICU – Thoracic Surgery – Neurosurgery from 2007 to 2013. Emergency Medicine Consultant, Centre Hospitalier de Jolimont, La Louviere, Belgium, 2014-2015. Post CCT Fellow in Emergency General Surgery, John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, 2015-2016. Locum Consultant in General and Upper GI Surgery, NHS Lothian, Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, 2016-2017.

Appointed as substantive consultant in 2017. Interest in emergency surgery, abdominal wall surgery and perioperative care.

Dermot Hehir

Ireland Representative

Dermot received his undergraduate education at NUI Galway. Postgraduate training was in Ireland and UK with a fellowship in Boston MA. he is Adj Clin Professor of Surgery at Limerick University Medical School and Surgical Tutor  at Midlands Regional Hospital Tullamore.His surgical interests include laparoscopy, promoting excellence in hernia surgery, the introduction of a hernia registry and the encouragement of further collaboration between surgeons with an interest in hernia prevention and treatment. He has published on hernia and laparoscopy amongst others. He is the first Irish representative on the BHS board.

Brian Stephenson

Ordinary Board Member

Brian Stephenson has a wide experience in all aspects of elective and emergency surgery
having trained in London, Leeds and South Wales after spending sometime as a mission
surgeon in South Africa. He still works with the charity ‘Hernia International’.
He was appointed Consultant General and Colorectal Surgeon to the Royal Gwent
Hospital in Wales over twenty years ago and is Honorary Clinical Teacher in Surgery,
University of Wales College of Medicine, Cardiff. He is a past Examiner in Surgery
and Clinical Anatomy, Royal College of Surgeons of England and now sits on the
Intercollegiate Specialist Board as examiner in General & Colorectal Surgery. He is on
the disciplinary Panel of the Association of Coloproctology of Great Britain & Ireland.
He enjoys clinical research and spares no effort in helping his junior staff to audit and
He is the UK Chair to the National Institute Health Research (NIHR) “CIPHER” study to determine the risk factors for developing parastomal herniation.

Susannah Hill

Patient representative

Susannah required abdominal wall reconstruction surgery after suffering major complications from prior surgery. She describes how the abdominal reconstruction not only brought physical benefits, but having her tummy look beautiful again, has helped reduce her post-traumatic stress triggers. She hopes that with continued surgical advances that this surgery will become an option for more patients.

Susannah believes, that with the evidence of variation in hernia surgical practice in the UK, along with recent technical advances, that abdominal wall surgery now needs to become a speciality in its own right. The function of the abdominal wall being largely underrated and under studied. With the complexity of recurrent hernia surgery, major reconstruction surgery, and the high reoccurrence rates of parastomal hernias, she feels that this highlights the requirement for specialist centres utilising surgeons who have undergone the appropriate specialist training. She is concerned that without these specialist centres or regulation, patients with ‘routine’ hernias, as well as more difficult cases, risk consenting to inappropriate surgery, or surgery with a surgeon with inadequate experience for their needs (both within the NHS and the private sector).

Susannah recently retrained to be a registered nurse, as she wanted to use her experiences of surviving major surgical complications in a constructive way. She speaks openly about how psychologically she found it difficult to come to terms with her experiences, and the emotional support that she feels would have benefited her psychological recovery. Her presentations have included, involving patients in serious incident reporting, and how to support patient’s emotional needs if major surgical complications occur.

Jackie Bullock

Patient representative

Jackie’s interest in hernia stems from her own hernia journey. Following surgery in 2015 she was left with multiple incisional hernia which were repaired using mesh. Jackie is fully able to understand why patients associate post-operative pain with mesh as she did this herself for several years, however through discussions on social media with surgeons and further research she began to have doubts about this. After being invited to British Hernia Society Conference in Edinburgh in 2019 and speaking to the kind surgeons and mesh representatives Jackie realized her initial beliefs were incorrect and other surgical factors had caused her pain and not the mesh itself. Jackie is very excited to be one of the first patient representatives on the board of the British Hernia Society, she is a keen to help patients who have found themselves in similar situations and would like to see a patient pathway created to enable those who do need further treatment after surgery to access this. Although she still experiences pain following treatment this is now greatly reduced and she is again able to enjoy an active life and attends regular spin and pt sessions and would like

Having been impressed by the kind surgeons of the British Hernia Society and listening to how they take patient concerns seriously Jackie is keen to spread this message. For surgeons and patients to come together as they did in the recent patient Hernia Delphi group discussing what is important for future research opportunities for hernia surgery and by the launch of the new hernia data base Jackie is confident that any patient concerns can be addressed and together hernia surgery can be taken to a new exciting level.