About Neurosurgery & Spine

Neurosurgery + Spine aim to provide a comprehensive patient-centric journey, helping patients understand their condition and treatment choices. Making the most of recent advances in technology and surgical techniques for your complete care. 


A multi-disciplinary team of a Neurosurgeon, Spinal and Sports Doctors, Physiotherapists and Psychologist work to together to ensure that you are well informed around the options available to you regarding your condition. Based at the Calvary Adelaide Hospital, Adelaide, Australia. 

Calvary Adelaide Hospital have a dedicated Neurosurgical Ward and Theatre team. The operating theatre has the latest technology and equipment and is supported by a large Intensive Care Unit. The hospital has the only 24-hour private Emergency Department in Adelaide along with onsite rehabilitation for those patients who require extra help after surgery. All patients have private rooms.

Meet The Team


Prof. Matthew McDonald  |  Neurosurgeon 

Prof Matthew McDonald is an Australian Trained Neurosurgeon & Spinal Surgeon. He completed his FRACS in 2000 and did a further Complex Spine and Spinal Trauma Fellowship in Miami, USA 2001.  

Prof McDonald treats all common neurosurgical conditions but has special interest in managing patients with brain tumour. These patients are closely managed in a multi-disciplinary team to ensure the best and latest treatment for each condition.  


Prof McDonald has subspeciality interest in Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) surgery for patients with Parkinsons disease and essential tremor.  He has now completed over 250 DBS operations with excellent results. DBS can significantly improve quality of like for patients suffering from these conditions.   


He spent 19 years as a Visiting Medical Specialist in the Department of Neurosurgery at Flinders Medical Centre as well as previously working at the Royal Adelaide Hospital in the Department of Neurosurgery and Spinal Department. 


Prof McDonald holds a position with University of South Australia as a Clinical Professor of Neurosurgery and has a keen interest in improving medical education. Through his work with University of South Australia, he has established the Calvary Adelaide Grand Rounds and Academic Hour. Along with undertaking several research projects with researchers from University of South Australia and Clinicians at Calvary Adelaide Hospital to bring researchers and clinicians close together. 


In 2018 and 2019, Prof McDonald has held the position of Calvary Wakefield Hospital, Medical Advisory Committee (MAC) Chair as well as the inaugural Calvary Adelaide Hospital, Medical Advisory Committee (MAC) Chair in 2020 and 2021. 


Prof McDonald is a board member of the Neurosurgical Research Foundation (NRF) and has held that position for the last 15 years. 


He is passionate about ensuring country patients have access to the best quality healthcare and has been consulting in Naracoorte in the South East, South Australia for well over 10 years and has recently began practicing in Barossa, South Australia over the last 2 years as well. Along with that he is establishing a DBS service in Townsville, Queensland to increase the access to the patients of Northern Queensland. 


Rachel McAlister  |  Physiotherapist 

Rachel is a senior physiotherapist who graduated from the University of South Australia in 1991 and has worked predominantly in private practice. Rachel completed a Masters degree in Sports Physiotherapy in 1996 allowing her to become a Titled APA Sports and Exercise Physiotherapist.

In over 25 years Rachel has worked extensively with sporting teams and athletes both recreational and elite. Rachel was the physiotherapist for the Opals (Australian Women’s Basketball Team) for 8 years and has represented in this role at World Championships, the 2012 London Olympic Games and the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. 

Rachel has worked with Prof Matthew McDonald for 7 years at Neurosurgery and Spine assessing and treating complex spinal problems and pre and post surgical conditions. Rachel currently consults at Neurosurgery & Spine in Adelaide as well as Physioactive at The Injury Hub in Willaston. She also works in conjunction with Prof McDonald in Northern Spine at the Injury Hub. 

Rachel’s clinical interests include management and rehabilitation of spinal conditions (including neurosurgical rehabilitation),  hip and groin injuries, lower limb injuries, Pilates and Orthopaedic rehabilitation. 

In her spare time, she loves spending most of her time with family and being outdoors.


Jo Twelftree   |  Physiotherapist 

Jo graduated from the University of South Australia in 2003 and has since focussed her clinical skills on treating patients in private practice. 


Jo enjoys treating patients with back and neck pain as well as patients with neck related headache or migraine. Jo has undertaken additional training in Pilates, dry needling and the assessment and treatment of vestibular disorders.


Outside of work Jo keeps herself very busy with a young family, walking her dog along Goolwa beach as well as tending to the vegie garden.


Lucy Gale  |  Practice Manager

Lucy graduated from the University of South Australia in 2017 with a Health Science Degree. This helped in her clinical understanding of patient conditions, she is undertaking further study in Business Management. 

She has a passion for helping patients and ensuring they are well informed.  Along with providing a calm and caring environment for each patient that comes into the clinic. 


Receptionists: Marnie, Abby and Charlotte

Are always available to help.