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News News from the AO Spine Center at the Schulthess Klinik

Spine Surgery at Schulthess Klinik is one of four certified «AO Spine Centers» in Switzerland alongside the University Hospitals of Basel and Bern and the St. Gallen Cantonal Hospital. It is headed by Prof. Dr. med. Dezsö J. Jeszenszky, PhD. This certification is granted to only very few highly specialised centres in the field of spinal surgery. A commitment to education and training is a key area for the AO Spine Centers. Below you can see some of the highlights from 2021.

Zertifikat AO Spine Center Schulthess Klinik
The Schulthess Klinik has been certified as an AO Spine Center since 2019.

Guest doctors from all over the world

As part of this certification, AO Spine primarily assessed the number of operations, the existing infrastructure in the context of patient care and research, as well as the commitment to education and training. As an AO Spine Center, it is also our privilege to welcome spine surgeons from all over the world as guests for shorter or longer fellowship stays.

Last year, our department for Spine Surgery, Orthopaedics and Neurosurgery was visited by guest doctors as AO Spine Fellows from all over the world: Dr. Ghazwan Hasan from Baghdad, Dr. Manuela D’Ercole from Rome and Dr. Denis Naumov from St. Petersburg.

Gastärzte als AO Spine Fellows
Left to right: Dr. Ghazwan Hasan, Dr. Manuela D’Ercole, Dr. Denis Naumov

The feedback that they provided on their experiences and what they learned was wholly positive:

«I will now pay greater attention to biomechanical aspects in my clinical practice. Above all, I appreciated the outstanding efficiency in the organization of the operating theater.»
Dr. Manuela D’Ercole

«I am grateful to have gained all of this experience with complicated cases and with such advanced infrastructure. I've learned a great deal.»
Dr. Ghazwan Hasan

«I've seen a huge number of operations, a variety of spinal conditions and absolutely outstanding surgical techniques from all of the doctors. I would like to thank the Schulthess Klinik and AO Spine for this fantastic opportunity.»
Dr. Denis Naumov

AO Spine courses in Switzerland

Two AO Spine courses took place in Switzerland in 2021 at which the Schulthess Klinik was well represented, both as host and with regard to participants. 

On 17/18 May, the «AO Spine Principles Level Specimen and Simulation Course – From Freehand to Navigation» took place in Bern with PD Dr. med. Markus Loibl, Senior Consultant Spine Surgery, Orthopaedics and Neurosurgery as course supervisor. 

Prof. Dr. med. Dezsö J. Jeszenszky, PhD, Head of Spine Surgery, Orthopaedics and Neurosurgery, demonstrated to participants the surgical technique of transforaminal lumbar intersomatic fusion (TLIF), which is performed around 450 times a year at the Schulthess Klinik. The TLIF procedure involves the stiffening of two or more lumbar vertebrae. 

AO-Spine Fortbildung im grossen Hörsaal und im OP
AO Spine advanced training in the lecture hall of University Hospital Bern (left); the TLIF surgical technique (right) © AO Foundation, Communications & Events

This was followed on 22/23 October by the AO Spine Advanced Level Specimen Course «Challenging Spine Conditions in the Elderly: Evidence in Decision Making and Surgical Treatment» in Bern, this time with PD Dr. med. Martin Stienen of St. Gallen Cantonal Hospital as course supervisor. In this course, Dr. med. Tamás Fekete, PhD, Head Physician Spine Surgery, Orthopaedics and Neurosurgery, teaches the participants the surgical technique of stiffening the first and second cervical vertebrae. The procedure, which is performed around 25 times a year at the Schulthess Klinik, is particularly challenging due to the complex anatomy of the upper cervical spine.

PD Dr. med. Markus Loibl, Chairperson of AO Spine, University Hospital Bern.

September marked the beginning of the term of office of PD Dr. med. Markus Loibl as the new Chairperson of AO Spine Switzerland. He has been elected to this office for three years. For the previous three years, Loibl served as ‘Ortho Officer’ on the Country Council of AO Spine Switzerland. In this role, he was committed above all to bringing together the various specialisations (traumatology, orthopaedics and neurosurgery) within spinal surgery in Switzerland. «After three years as a representative of the orthopaedic department, I am now looking forward as Chairperson of AO Spine Switzerland to continuing to contribute to orthopaedic and neurosurgical training in Switzerland and to specialising in the treatment of spinal diseases,» says Loibl.

The first meeting of the Country Council of AO Spine Switzerland took place in St. Gallen on August 19 2021 on the occasion of the election of the chair. Among other activities, the three members will work together to encourage greater interaction between the members of AO Spine and to promote cooperation between spine specialists in Switzerland.

Dreierbild AO Spine Council Schweiz
The current AO Spine Switzerland Country Council from left to right: PD Dr. med. Christoph Albers, University Hospital Bern (Ortho Officer), PD Dr. med. Markus Loibl, Schulthess Klinik (Chairperson) and PD Dr. med. Martin Stienen, St. Gallen Cantonal Hospital (Neuro Officer).
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