Spine Orthopedics

Spinal surgery is one of the Department of Orthopedics and Trauma Surgery's traditional areas of specialization. Our state-of-the-art diagnostic procedures and innovative treatment methods enable us to provide the best medical care and treatment possible to patients with all kinds of spinal conditions.

Our strengths

Interdisciplinary treatment and care

Our department provides comprehensive treatment and care to patients with complex conditions or injuries, congenital anomalies and infections through cooperation with the University Hospital's other departments and clinics.

Multidisciplinary care

Our close collaboration with experts from other disciplines also allows us to treat patients with multiple internal conditions. Patients with severe heart and lung conditions, for example, are thoroughly assessed with regard to their personal risk regarding anesthesia and surgery, and consulted regarding treatment options.

Highly experienced specialists

We are pioneers in the area of intraoperative 3D navigation and offer European residencies for DePuy Synthes, on which our specialists are regularly asked to lecture. Prof. Dr. Peer Eysel, the Director of the Department of Orthopedics and Trauma Surgery, holds the German Spine Society's Certificate of Excellence and PD Dr. Gregor Stein, a specialist for orthopedic and trauma surgery, holds the society's Master Certificate.

Postoperative rehabilitation

Our close collaboration with our internal Rehabilitation Department (UniReha) allows us to provide our patients with interdisciplinary postoperative care as well as physiotherapy, manual and occupational therapy, all of which are provided in close consultation between the treating physician and therapists.

Our diagnostic procedures at a glance

  • MRI scans – including for patients with pacemakers – with field strengths of 1.5 and 3.0 Tesla
  • Upright MRI scans
  • Special diagnostic procedures for children: MRI scans under general anesthetic
  • High-resolution Computed Tomography (CT) scans, multislice CT scans and CT scans with myelogram
  • PET/CT scans (Positron Emission Tomography)
  • Scintigraphy
  • Conventional diagnostic radiology and functional X-ray imaging
  • Inpatient infiltration diagnostics
  • Special scoliosis center diagnostics

Our treatment procedures

  • Surgery performed using Brainlab (Curve) navigation systems in conjunction with Siemens 3D image converters (Arcadis Orbic)
  • High-definition operating microscope
  • Microsurgical nucleotomy
  • Microsurgical and open decompressions
  • Spinal fusion surgery (dorsal) using TLIF and PLIF
  • Spinal fusion surgery (ventral) using a cage or iliac crest bone graft
  • Motion-preserving, dynamic procedures
  • Prosthetic intervertebral disc replacement
  • Three-dimensional spondylodesis with deformity correction
  • Complex deformity corrections
  • Pedicle subtraction osteotomy in adults

Spinal Surgery Specializations

This section contains information on some of the spinal conditions that are most frequently treated at our department. However, this information is not exhaustive and we also provide treatment for other spinal conditions.

Degenerative Spine Conditions

University Hospital Cologne offers treatment for a large number of degenerative spine conditions, including slipped discs (prolapsed discs), nerve compression (spinal stenosis) and degenerative spinal changes such as defective bone formation (osteochondrosis) or age-related changes in disc space and vertebral joints, which, among others, can cause vertebrae to slip out of position (spondylolisthesis). 

All spine conditions are associated with back pain, some of which can be severe and significantly impact patients' quality of life. Degenerative spine conditions are often the result of long-term, inappropriate and excessive mechanical stress, and are also increasingly affecting younger people. 

Our patients benefit from our extensive experience in the surgical treatment of degenerative spine conditions. We furthermore offer a full range of surgical interventions, which ranges from microsurgery for treating slipped discs and relieving pressure or freeing nerves that are being compressed, as well as TLIF and PLIF fusion surgery using cages and iliac crest bone grafts, to prosthetic intervertebral disc replacements, all of which are performed by our interdisciplinary surgical team, which also collaborates with the Hospital's neurological department when required.

Congenital Deformities of the Spine

Congenital spine deformities include lateral and three-dimensional curvatures and rotations (scoliosis) as well as convex curvatures (kyphosis), which can have serious effects, in particular, in children and adolescents. When severe, these static deformations of the musculoskeletal system can impede respiratory function, and cause right ventricular strain and damage to organs, but are also often perceived as a cosmetic problem. Congenital spine deformities are far more frequently seen in females than males. 

We are very aware that actively involving patients and their relatives in all of the processes and decisions relevant to these treatments, which are often complex and take a long time, significantly improves treatment outcomes and hence puts a lot of effort into facilitating caring and supportive relations. All of our spinal treatments, both conservative and surgical procedures, which include physiotherapy, the use of corrective orthopedic corsets and the spinal fusion surgery, are furthermore planned with the utmost care and precision.

We furthermore offer patients interdisciplinary consultations in our Scoliosis Center, where we also regularly perform clinical and x-ray checkups. Complex deformity corrections such as, for example, three-dimensional spondylodesis and pedicle subtraction osteotomy, are also key to the surgical interventions we offer. 

Our long-standing collaboration with network partners, which include the orthopaedic specialists who adapt our patients' corsets as well as our highly competent and experienced doctors, means that we can offer patients effective and safe treatment strategies in line with the latest scientific evidence. This makes us a highly reliable and specialist medical service provider concerning all issues related to scoliosis and kyphosis.

Spinal Injuries

Our department offers treatment for all kinds of spinal injuries such as those caused by road accidents, sports injuries and falls from great heights. This includes fractures and dislocations in all sections of the spine with and without neurological symptoms, post-traumatic spinal misalignments and a narrowing of the spinal canal due to fractures.

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