Thailand’s Bumrungrad International Hospital to host the Asian Full Endospine Training Center

July 11, 2011

Bumrungrad International Hospital has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with St. Anna Hospital in Germany, the largest German Spine Center, and Richard Wolf GmbH, a German manufacturer of advanced medical instruments, to establish the Asian Full Endospine Training Center at Bumrungrad. The agreement recognizes the capabilities and experience of Bumrungrad’s spine surgeons in advanced endoscopic techniques pioneered in Germany. Thai surgeons at Bumrungrad’s Spine Institute have trained doctors from Germany, America, Thailand and several other countries.


Thailand is already a leading destination for patients from all over the world. The new Training Center—the first such program outside Germany—is further evidence that Thailand’s top doctors rank among the world’s best. 


In addition to diagnosing and treating patients with back and neck problems, the Bumrungrad Spine Institute participates in clinical research and offers extensive training for spine specialists. With the formal addition of the Asian Full Endospine Training Center, the Institute becomes a regional leader in spine expertise and technology, benefiting both patients and medical professionals.


The Institute’s spine surgeons have collaborated with Dr. Sebastian Ruetten, a German physician and Director of the Surgical and Pain Therapy Center, St. Anna Hospital, Herne, Germany, a pioneer in endoscopic techniques for patients with degenerative disc disease. Together they have trained surgeons from Thailand, the US, Europe, Japan, Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Malaysia, Vietnam, China, Iran and India. In addition, the Institute’s surgeons have been invited by surgeons in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Bangladesh, Malaysia, and other countries to hold this same type of training overseas.


Dr. Chamaree Chuapetcharasopon, Bumrungrad’s Medical Director, said, “It’s something for Thai doctors to be proud of, especially in the private hospital sector. Becoming a regional training center is a sign of trust and confidence. And it has given us an important role in our country’s efforts to develop Thailand as a medical hub, especially in terms of forming a new pool of medical knowledge and teaching.”


Dr. Verapan Kuansongtham, a neurosurgeon, is Director of the Spine Institute and one of the physicians teaching the advanced techniques. “To merit the name “institute”, he said, “we need to be different from a typical hospital specialty clinic. It means more than simply gathering doctors in one specialty together. We combine experts in every field related to the spine. We study important new research. We have a unique system for controlling and assessing treatment results and setting standards for surgery.  We hold team meetings to review preoperative planning, so every patient can be confident they are receiving the most suitable treatment. For patients with complicated symptoms, our doctors will consult one another, and even doctors in Germany, to arrive at the best treatment method available before actually carrying out treatment.”


At the Institute, each patient is examined and diagnosed in comprehensive detail in order to find the best method of treatment for the cause of the symptoms, beginning with physical therapy, injections into the nerve chamber, minimally invasive endoscopic surgery and surgery by standard methods. Experts from a variety of fields, such as orthopaedic surgeons, neurosurgeons, medical rehabilitation physicians, neurological specialists, experts in radiation techniques for the spine, therapists in reducing pain and physical therapists specializing in the back and neck, work together on evaluation, diagnosis, treatment, and recovery.


With technological advances in modern medicine, the Spine Institute continues to provide treatment by microscopic surgical methods for many types of spinal disease, including complex spinal disorders, accidents, tumours, congenital disabilities, scoliosis and infections.


The Institute uses a new generation of advanced endoscope that requires only a small incision, while featuring a lens that provides a clear and precise view. This allows surgeons access to compressed nerves without typical surgical trauma to surrounding tissue. This technology was discovered, perfected and manufactured by the Richard Wolf Medical Instrument Company, a world class German manufacturer of high quality medical instruments. The technology has already been used with more than 10,000 patients at St. Anna Hospital in Herne, Germany.


Many types of spinal diseases are treated by endoscopic surgery at the Bumrungrad Spine Institute:

- Lumbar disc herniation in the waist area, which is a frequent cause of back pain in both men and women in every age group.
- Lumbar spinal canal stenosis which causes backache while walking, a symptom frequently encountered in the elderly.
- In addition to lumbar spinal canal stenosis, Bumrungrad's surgeons also insert a smaller endoscope for cervical disc herniation. Endoscopic surgery incisions are only eight millimeters, pain is minimal, patients recover more quickly, costs are reduced and patients can return home within 24 hours following surgery.


Apart from fusing discs for degenerative disc disease, the Institute is a pioneer in using ceramic prosthesis in artificial disc replacement surgery which also has minimal wear-down. This surgical technique allows patients to have mobility resembling their original natural neck movements.


Approximately 500 patients receive spinal surgery at the Institute each year. 


Dr. Martin Komp, Assistant Director, Center for Spine Surgery and Pain Therapy, St. Anna Hospital, Herne, Germany, the largest center for spine surgery in Germany, said, “Full endoscope spine surgery has been used to treat more than 10,000 of the hospital’s patients. Post-treatment follow-ups have yielded satisfying results and I have confidence in Dr. Verapan Kuansongtham and Dr. Sompoch Paiboonsirijit, expert surgeons in spine surgery at Bumrungrad Hospital, who are the first two Thai doctors to have been trained and possess sufficient expertise to effectively extend this knowledge and technology to other surgeons.”


Mr. Alfons Notheis, Chief Executive Officer of Richard Wolf Company, added, “I would like to extend my congratulations to the Bumrungrad Spine Institute, which has proven its medical prowess and readiness in becoming a training center for medical personnel in the Asian region.  This cooperation will open opportunities for the Institute’s physicians to take greater part in the development of the company’s endoscopic surgical technology.”

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