Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Dr Rainer Gruessner: Never Quit

Dr Rainer Gruessner has always been a believer in the idea that nothing is impossible, and that no challenge is too great or overwhelming to be overcome and conquered. An innovative and talented physician who consistently rises up to new challenges, Gruessner encourages people in every profession to never give up on the pursuit of their objectives, and to meet new obstacles head on and with enthusiasm. 

Surgery, particularly transplantation, is certainly not without a high degree of technical and intellectual difficulty, presenting many new and unique challenges to anyone in pursuit of a medical career. A well-qualified and established transplant surgeon with years of surgical experience, Dr Rainer Gruessner has had the opportunity to face many new and challenging hurdles throughout his career, though he has always managed him through difficult obstacles with diligence and tenacity. Working in an academic environment, as Gruessner knows, offers professionals the chance to not only work together to solve complex problems, but to also combine both creativity and methodology to develop improvements, if not solutions, to what may have seemingly been insurmountable obstacles.

Dr Rainer Gruessner was appointed Chairman of the Department of Surgery at the University of Arizona College of Medicine in 2007 and he has enjoyed numerous opportunities to meet difficulties head on, and to work with colleagues to discover and develop new techniques and methods that increase the chance for success during what can be complex surgical procedures. An expert in transplantation, Gruessner has directed teams that have successfully performed multiple organ transplants at once, overcoming what were previously daunting obstacles to provide patients a better chance at survival and good health.

Friday, 11 July 2014

Dr Rainer Gruessner: Helping Those in Need

As a renowned transplant surgeon, Dr Rainer Gruessner continues to provide the exemplary surgical care, treatment and service people deserve to live longer and healthier lives. 
Appointed in 2007 as the head of the Department of Surgery at the University of Arizona College of Medicine, Gruessner has provided years of expert surgical management; skills that are built on many years of high-quality education, experience and research.

Often known as a surgeon of “firsts”, Dr Rainer Gruessner has been fortunate to have directed or participated in many new and innovative surgical procedures. Amongst these are the first standardized technique for living donor intestinal transplants, the first preemptive living donor liver transplant for oxalosis in an infant,the first laparoscopic living donor distal pancreatectomy and nephrectomy and, most recently, the first robot-assisted total pancreatectomy with islet autotransplant. Rainer Gruessner was also involved in the world’s first split pancreas transplant.His experience in innovative procedures has earned him many accolades and much respect throughout his career, and has also established Gruessner as the number one source of transplant surgery in the entire region.

Though Dr Rainer Gruessner is considered one of the top minds in modern transplantation, he is also considered a fervent believer and advocate in patients’ rights to receive only the best-quality medical care. An approachable and humble surgeon, Gruessner approaches each new procedure with the care, diligence, concern and compassion of a medical professional truly invested in the health and comfort of the patient, and continually demonstrated a strong concern for the patient’s needs.

Dr Rainer Gruessner has received much of his medical education in Germany, though he has received high-quality medical training in the United States and Japan. 

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Dr Rainer Gruessner: A Nationally Accomplished and Respected Surgeon

Dr Rainer Gruessner is a humble and friendly man, and a casual encounter with him might leave the impression of a successful but rather ordinary man. Nothing, however, could be further from the truth.

Dr. Gruessner is a very accomplished surgeon who has performed many notable “firsts” in the fields of surgery and transplantation during the course of his career. He was involved in the world’s first split pancreas transplant in 1988, and he described and performed the first standardized technique for living donor intestinal transplants in 1997. In 2012, Dr Rainer Gruessner and his team performed the first robot-assisted total pancreatectomy with islet autotransplant.

Gruessner was appointed Chairman of the Department of Surgery at the University of Arizona’s College of Medicine in 2007, and served as the Surgical Director of the University’s Hepatopancreaticobiliary Program and the Surgical Director of the Abdominal Transplant Program. He is a tenured Professor of Surgery and Immunology. Dr Rainer Gruessner received his medical education in Europe, where he graduated in 1983. He was awarded a rare “summa cum laude “ for his Doctoral Thesis. At Philipps-Universit├Ąt in Marburg, Germany, he completed his Professorial Thesis (“Habilitation”, the German PhD-equivalent). 

He completed a transplantation fellowship at the University of Minnesota in 1989. He moved on to be the Professor of Surgery and Chairman in the Department of General and Transplant Surgery at University Hospital in Zurich, Switzerland, and a tenured Professor of General and Transplant Surgery at the University of Minnesota, where he was also Vice Chair of the Department of Surgery.

Gruessner is a member of numerous prestigious professional societies, including the American Surgical Association, the Halsted Society, the Society of Surgical Chairs, the Transplantation Society and the Society of University Surgeons. He is a Board member for many professional journals, including Pancreatic Disorders and Therapy, the Journal of Investigative Surgery, Clinical Transplantation and Transplant International. He is also a devoted family man, and the proud father of two medical students.

Monday, 23 June 2014

Dr Rainer Gruessner: Map Collector

Dr Rainer Gruessner is a surgeon who was appointed Chairman of the Department of Surgery at the University of Arizona’s College of Medicine in 2007. Dr Rainer Gruessner has been in surgical leadership positions or the last sixteen years, either as chair or vice-chair.

Gruessner is also a leading authority on diabetes mellitus, transplant immunology, and clinical transplantation.

Dr Rainer Gruessner has many interests outside of the discipline of medicine. He studies American Indian culture and contemporary art, and is also a collector of books and maps.

As Gruessner knows, a map must have been printed or drawn at least one hundred years ago in order to be considered an antique. Many antique maps include the date the map was published, either in the title or in other parts of the map where publication information is included. These dates usually refer to the first year the map was offered for sale or the year the right to print the map was obtained. Dates on maps are not entirely reliable. Many maps were issued for more than one year without any changes having been made. For example, many 19th Century mapmakers did not change the dates on their atlas maps. For these maps, collectors like Dr Rainer Gruessner look at the content of the map, or for other clues that will provide them with a more accurate dating.

Gruessner is specifically interested in maps of the Americas of the 16th and 17th century when very little was known about the New World. “These maps are completely inaccurate, but they give us an understanding of how cartography and the mapping of America has evolved over time.”

Dr Rainer Gruessner keeps fit by playing tennis, skiing, swimming, and by running. He is also a music lover who plays the piano and organ.

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Dr Rainer Gruessner: Native American Culture

Dr Rainer Gruessner was appointed chair of the Department of Surgery at the University of Arizona’s College of Medicine in 2007. It is a role that kept him extraordinarily busy, but he still manages to find time to pursue those things that interest him outside of medicine.

One of the things that interest Gruessner is American Indian culture and art. As a resident of Tucson, Arizona, there is much that Dr. Gruessner can learn about in his own back yard. Indigenous people have lived in present-day Arizona for thousands of years, and more than one fourth of the State’s area is reservation land.

Among the many Native American cultures indigenous to Arizona is the Navajo Nation, which, as Dr Rainer Gruessner knows, has the largest Native American reservation in the United States. Navajo culture and traditions were centered on family life. Navajo culture has always been centered on ceremonies and rituals. Some of their chants may last as long as nine days and require dozens of helpers.

It was of particular interest to Gruessner that the most important Navajo ceremonies are for treatment of ills, both mental and physical. The Navajo culture used sand painting as a spiritual way to heal the sick. When they sand painted, they made the painting in a smooth bed of sand, which was only temporary. Crushed yellow ochre, red sandstone, gypsum, and charcoal were used to create the images during their chants. The chants were for the Earth people and the holy people to come back into harmony, which provides them protection and healing.

Dr Rainer Gruessner has taken great pride in the fact that his department has trained a total of 7 Native Americans to become surgeons. All of them have gone back to the reservations and practice surgery there at the major hospitals. His is the residency program that has trained the most Native Americans in the last 10 years.

Dr Rainer Gruessner has been in surgical leadership positions for sixteen years, in either Chair or Vice-Chair positions.

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Dr Rainer Gruessner: Expert on beta-cell replacement therapies for Diabetes mellitus

Dr Rainer Gruessner was appointed chair of the Department of Surgery at the University of Arizona’s College of Medicine in Tucson. He is an authority on transplant options for patients with diabetes mellitus.

“Diabetes is usually considered a disease with a low quality of life,” he says. “But it really is a very crippling, life threatening and life-shortening disease.” Dr Rainer Gruessner states that diabetes is the most common cause of leg amputations, blindness, kidney disease, and other morbidities in the United States. Diabetes affects about ten percent of the population, over thirty million people.

“We have several different options to treat patients with diabetes through transplantation,” Dr Rainer Gruessner says. “The first one is kidney transplantation. Most of the patients with end-stage kidney disease, about forty to fifty percent, have non-functioning kidneys as a result of diabetes. If we do a kidney transplant, we correct the symptom of end-stage kidney disease and achieve dialysis-independence.” The trouble with this option, Gruessner continues, is that “a kidney transplant doesn’t do anything about the diabetes, and there is a good chance the diabetes will recur in the transplanted kidney later on and destroy it.”

To cure diabetes, Dr Rainer Gruessner says, surgeons have to transplant the insulin-producing cells. “We can do that through two mechanisms,” he says. “The first option is to transplant the entire pancreas and the results are very good: more than 4 in 5 patients after a successful pancreas transplant do not require any insulin and the progression of secondary diabetic complications is halted or reversed. Some patients have been off insulin for over 25 years after a successful pancreas transplant.”

Dr Rainer Gruessner says the other option is to transplant only the cells that produce insulin. “However, the results of islet transplantation trail those of pancreas transplantation and islet transplantation is currently not covered by Medicaire/Medicaid or private insurance companies.”