Chirurgische Orthoädie Schweizer Paraplegiker Zentrum

Spinal Surgery and Spinal Cord Surgery

Spinal surgery and spinal cord surgery for everyone

The main focus of the Swiss Paraplegic Centre (SPC) is on the treatment of patients with a spinal cord injury sustained after a serious injury to the spine or associated with a disease. In line with the centre's approach, the Spinal Surgery and Spinal Cord Surgery department at the SPC also guarantees to provide life-long care for secondary diseases of the spine and spinal cord. Over the years, our department has acquired in-depth experience of dealing with complex problems of the spine and the spinal cord. It goes without saying that this expertise is available to all patients, irrespective of whether they have a spinal cord injury or not.

The interdisciplinary team under the joint management of the Head of Department, Dr. med. Tobias Pötzel, provides treatment for virtually all diseases and injuries of the spine and spinal cord, with the exception of paediatric diseases. Our patients are treated non-surgically and surgically in interdisciplinary cooperation with the Radiology department, the Centre for Pain Medicine, the Sports Medicine department, and the Physiotherapy department.

The majority of diseases of the spinal column are associated with degenerative (caused by age and/or wear and tear) changes (such as spinal canal stenosis and herniated discs). Our aim is to provide our patients with individual and problem-based treatment. Wherever possible, we apply non-surgical measures (e.g. physiotherapy and training therapy) at the beginning of treatment. If required, treatment can be progressively intensified. Options in our centre include interventional and multimodal pain management, sports medicine, and physiotherapy. Chief consultants are always involved in the care of our patients. During outpatient appointments and inpatient ward rounds, we always leave enough time for our patients’ concerns.

If non-surgical measures do not provide a satisfactory result, surgical measures are considered. In some cases, a surgical procedure is the only way to guarantee sustainable treatment success. Occasionally an emergency arises that requires immediate surgical intervention. If, together with the patient, we decide on a surgical procedure, we have access to modern intraoperative 3D imaging with computer-assisted navigation, neuromonitoring (monitoring of nerve functions) and minimally invasive techniques. This ensures that the treatment we offer is based on currently valid standards with optimum levels of safety as well as personalised and innovative treatment concepts.

We look forward to welcoming you to the Swiss Paraplegic Centre.

Our treatment portfolio

Our specialists

  • Tobias Pötzel

    Dr. med. Tobias Pötzel

    Head of Department of Spinal Surgery

    Specialist medical qualification

    Specialist in Orthopaedic Surgery and Traumatology of the Locomotor System

    Professional background

    since 2019
    Joint Head of Department of Spinal Surgery, Swiss Paraplegic Centre, Nottwil, together with Dr. med. Raoul Heilbronner

    2015 – 2019
    Senior Consultant in Spinal Surgery and Orthopaedics, Swiss Paraplegic Centre, Nottwil

    2012 – 2015
    Specialty Registrar in Spinal Surgery and Orthopaedics, Swiss Paraplegic Centre, Nottwil

    2010 – 2012
    Junior Doctor in Spinal Surgery and Orthopaedics, Swiss Paraplegic Centre, Nottwil

    2003 – 2010
    Junior Doctor, qualification as a Specialist in Orthopaedics and Accident Surgery, Berufsgenossenschaftliche Unfallklinik (clinic for trauma surgery), Murnau (D)

    Training and further education

    2019
    Shadowing of Dr. med. Gerd Bordon, Hospital de Manises, Valencia (E)

    2015
    Shadowing of Dr. med. Gregory M. Mundis, Scripps Memorial Hospital, San Diego (USA)

    2015
    Recognition of Diploma in Medical Professions and title of Specialist in Orthopaedic Surgery and Traumatology of the Locomotor System (FMH)

    2014
    EUROSPINE Diploma

    2013
    Specialist in Orthopaedics and Accident Surgery (D)

    2012
    Shadowing of Prof. Dr. med. H. Halm, Schön Klinik Neustadt, Holstein (D)

    2003
    Conferment of title of Doctor of Human Medicine

    1996 – 2003
    Degree in Human Medicine, Technical University of Munich (D)

    Membership in professional associations

    SGS
    Swiss Society of Spinal Surgery

    SSoP
    Swiss Society of Paraplegia

  • Michael Fiechter

    Dr. med. Dr. sc.nat. Michael Fiechter

    Deputy Head of Department of Spinal Surgery

    Specialist medical qualification

    Neurosurgery

    Professional background

    since 2020
     Senior Consultant in Spinal Surgery, Swiss Paraplegic Centre, Nottwil

    2018 – 2020
    Specialty Registrar in Spinal Surgery, Swiss Paraplegic Centre, Nottwil

    since 2017
    Teaching and scientific advisor in functional neurovascular imaging / gender medicine, Department of Nuclear Medicine, University Hospital Zurich

    2016 – 2017
    Junior Doctor in Neurosurgery, Department of Neurosurgery, Cantonal Hospital St. Gallen

    2016
    Junior Doctor and Spinal Surgery Fellow, Department of Orthopaedics and Traumatology, Cantonal Hospital St. Gallen

    2013 – 2015
    Junior Doctor in Neurosurgery, Department of Neurosurgery, Inselspital Bern

    2009 – 2012
    Junior Doctor and Research Associate, Department of Nuclear Medicine and Radiopharmacy, University Hospital and ETH Zurich

    Training and further education

    2019
    Post-Traumatic Spinal Cord Surgery Fellow under Dr. med. S. Falci, Swedish Medical Center/Craig Hospital, Englewood/Denver (USA)

    2019
    EUROSPINE Basic Diploma

    2018
    Certificate of qualification in Interventional Pain Management (SSIPM)

    2018
    Specialist in Neurosurgery

    2012
    Conferment of title of Doctor of Sciences

    2011
    United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE/ECFMG)

    2010
    Conferment of title of Doctor of Human Medicine

    2003 – 2009
    Degree in Human Medicine, University of Zurich

    Membership in professional associations

    EUROSPINE
    Spine Society of Europe

    SGS
    Swiss Society of Spinal Surgery

    SGNC
    Swiss Society of Neurosurgery

    FMH
    Swiss Medical Association

    VZAG
    Medical Association of the Canton of Lucerne

    VSAO
    Verband Schweizer Assistenz- und Oberärzte (association of Swiss junior doctors and specialty registrars)

  • Denis Bratelj

    Denis Bratelj

    Deputy Senior Physician Spinal Surgery

  • Susanne Stalder

    Dr. med. Susanne Stalder Edelmann

    Physician in Spinal Surgery

    Professional background

    since 2017
    Physician in Spinal Surgery, Swiss Paraplegic Centre, Nottwil

    2011 – 2017
    Junior Doctor in Neurosurgery, Department of Neurosurgery, Cantonal Hospital St. Gallen

    2001 – 2007
    Junior Doctor in Orthopaedics and Spinal Surgery, Swiss Paraplegic Centre, Nottwil

    2000 – 2001
    Junior Doctor in Neurosurgery, Department of Neurosurgery, Cantonal Hospital St. Gallen

    1998 – 1999
    Junior Doctor in Orthopaedics and Spinal Surgery, Swiss Paraplegic Centre, Nottwil

    1997 – 1998
    Junior Doctor in Internal Medicine, Swiss Paraplegic Centre, Nottwil

    1996 – 1997
    Junior Doctor in Surgery, Bezirksspital Herzogenbuchsee

    1995
    Junior Doctor in Internal Medicine, Bernische Höhenklinik Heiligenschwendi

    Training and further education

    1994
    Conferment of title of Doctor of Human Medicine

    1987 – 1994
    Degree in Human Medicine, Berne

    1984 – 1987
    Qualification as a certified psychiatric nurse, Münsterlingen

Contact for referring physicians and patients

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