Since qualifying with honours from Newcastle Medical School in 1990, Mr O’Brien has pursued a career in orthopaedic surgery. Having trained as a specialist registrar in the northern region he developed an interest in knee surgery and trauma surgery, especially soft tissue injuries around the knee.
In order to pursue this interest further Mr O’Brien underwent a fellowship in knee and sports medicine at the Brisbane Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Centre in Brisbane, Australia. There he learned new techniques for arthroscopic knee surgery, including ligament reconstruction, meniscal repair and articular surface defect resurfacing. He also had the chance to look after several elite sportsmen while acting as part of the orthopaedic team for the Queensland Reds (rugby union), Brisbane Broncos (rugby league) and the Brisbane Bullets (basketball).
In conjunction with the physiotherapy department at the University of Queensland Mr O’Brien undertook research projects relating to ACL reconstruction, rehabilitation and shoulder stabilisation. He then completed a fellowship in trauma surgery at the Hospital of Special Surgery in New York under the trauma surgeon David Helfet.
Mr O’Brien has now taken up a consultant appointment at Sunderland Royal Hospital specialising in soft tissue knee reconstruction, knee arthroplasty, foot surgery and trauma surgery.