Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Dr. Rainer Gruessner: Lifetime of Achievement

Dr. Rainer Gruessner is an exceptional surgeon who has made an ample amount of contributions in the field of transplantation and general surgery. He is credited with the development of many surgical techniques that are both innovative and progressive, aiding towards the advancement of the field of surgery.

Several breakthroughs stand out: In his early years, he was involved in the development of transanal endoscopic microsurgery techniques (TEM) and demonstrated the superiority of abdominal sonography vs. peritoneal lavage in blunt abdominal trauma. After specializing in transplantation surgery, he was the first to do a preemptive living liver transplant for oxalosis in a baby in 1998. Also, he was involved in the first split pancreas transplant in 1988; he performed the first laparoscopic pancreas transplant biopsy in 1995; the first laparoscopic living donor distal pancreatectomy and nephrectomy in 2000; and the first robot assisted total pancreatectomy with islet autotransplant in 2012. Because of his many “firsts”, he is considered to be a pioneer in the introduction of minimal invasive and transplant techniques.

Dr. Rainer Gruessner received his medical degree from the Johannes Gutenberg University School of Medicine in Mainz, Germany, in 1983. He was awarded a “summa cum laude” for his medical thesis by the same institution. He then completed his professorial thesis (“Habilitation”, the German PhD equivalent) at the Philipps University in Marburg, Germany, in 1991. In between completing his medical and professorial theses, Rainer Gruessner did his residency at the Johannes Gutenberg University before going on to complete a two-year fellowship in transplantation surgery at the University of Minnesota. He received additional training at the Kyoto University in Japan, where he gained valuable experience in liver transplantation using living donors. 

Due to his extensive training, Dr. Gruessner has been in surgical leadership positions as Chairman or Vice-Chair for over 15 years. Dr. Gruessner has made many scientific contributions that are documented in the medical literature. He has published over 600 book chapters, abstracts and manuscripts. His H-index according to Google Scholar is 55. He has edited two standard textbooks and has been an invited lecturer at over one hundred institutions. He also serves on many editorial boards of journals for general and transplant surgery and is a member of over 20 professional societies. He is viewed among colleagues, fellows, residents and medical students as an innovative surgeon who stands as a figure of progress in his field; and among his patients as a humble, accessible and highly professional doctor.

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