Particularly given the rapid development in the field of medicine today, the advantage of proven experts can be traced back to a clear trend: medical specialists that focus fully on one area of their enormous range of services can achieve a degree of specialisation that patients could only dream of in the past. In Dr. med. Andreas Ottersbach, the Upper Valais Hospital Centre has a passionate hips and knee specialist who is specialised even further in minimally invasive care with prostheses. It thus comes as no surprise that the hospital in Brig has an excellent reputation in this area in particular, which can be backed up by figures.
As an important part of the Valais Hospital clinic group, the Orthopaedic Clinic at the Upper Valais Hospital Centre enjoys a first-class patient care reputation. For the people in the border region between Switzerland, France and Italy, it has made its mark far beyond the canton since its foundation in 2004.
The orthopaedic practices in Brig are particularly well known and have all set themselves clear goals: three cornerstones stand for a quality of treatment that sets standards in every respect, even when compared internationally. Specialisation, process optimisation and innovation constitute the basis for the success of orthopaedic care at the hospital centre. For senior consultant and clinic director Dr. med. Andreas Ottersbach, the three principles not only constitute the essential foundations of daily work at the centre – the success of this modern philosophy can be clearly documented.
Endoprosthetics: specialisation as the basis for best results
The specialisation that has led to senior consultant Dr. Ottersbach’s internationally renown benefits all patients with hip or knee problems. Thanks to the passion that has been driving the experienced specialist since the time of his medical studies, he is familiar with the smallest details of these two joints in particular. It is therefore not surprising that people with complex diseases as well hip and knee injuries in particular turn to him, especially when it comes to a new joint.
After all, patients who need an artificial joint for their hip or knee are in exactly the right place with this specialist. Dr. Ottersbach not only focused on endoprosthetics early on, but also on minimally invasive surgical techniques for hip and knee joint replacements.
Patients considering a prosthesis today are often surprised, as a lot has happened here in the last few years. This also has to do with the fact that medical specialists are fully specialised in the fitting of artificial joints. Thanks to arthroplasty experts like Dr. Ottersbach, patients’ expectations regarding mobility after surgery have changed fundamentally: people who receive a new hip or knee today not only want to be able to walk better again. For example, Dr. Ottersbach has often seen patients with a new joint not only take up their accustomed everyday life activities again, but also sporting activities – sometimes even with a healthy dose of ambition.
From the very start: passion for joint replacement
Of course, the medical achievements that distinguish Dr. med. Andreas Ottersbach did not come by chance. Although he was inspired by orthopaedics and musculoskeletal system traumatology even during his medical studies and also focused on the topic of endoprosthetics early on, this still does not explain Dr. Ottersbach’s preeminent standing in the field of joint replacement.
Even though Dr. Ottersbach has additional qualifications in sports medicine, physical medicine and chirotherapy that underline his broad range of services, it is his high degree of specialisation that sets the senior consultant of the Clinic for Orthopaedics in Brig apart. This is documented by figures from the Swiss Implant Register (SIRIS) confirming the Upper Valais Hospital’s good results in comparison with the rest of Switzerland. This register, which publishes surgeon reports and overall evaluations on a yearly basis – including for the hip and knee – shows that Dr. Ottersbach and his team have achieved very good results with hip prostheses and artificial knee joints.
Swiss Implant Register: above-average results
The Brig Hospital Centre was already accredited with providing above-average initial surgery quality in the very first two years of documentation: the Brig Orthopaedic Clinic was significantly below the Swiss revision surgery average, especially regarding initial operations, even though it performed an above-average number of surgeries. This means that patients who receive an artificial hip or knee joint at the Upper Valais Hospital Centre have a much lower risk than the rest of the country of having to undergo revision surgery in the first few years after their surgery. And the results that SIRIS publishes are continuously improving – another consequence of the extraordinary degree of specialisation. The chart below illustrates this:
Given the centre’s three thousand initial knee and hip arthroplasty surgeries, such figures are a logical consequence. This clearly makes Dr. Ottersbach one of the most experienced specialists in the entire German-speaking region. It is thus not surprising that he is often in demand when it comes to particularly complex problems.
There are nevertheless further reasons why the clinic fares so well in terms of knee and hip arthroplasty under his leadership. After all, specialisation is only one of the cornerstones of success – alongside the ongoing optimisation of processes and intensive pioneering work. When digitalisation was introduced into Swiss operating theatres a few years ago, Dr. Ottersbach was one of the leading lights in the modernisation of high-performance medicine. For example, all surgical steps in hip and knee arthroplasty are regularly put to the test – and digitally standardised. These high standards are reviewed time and again and as soon as new findings crop up they are improved.
For example, Dr. med. Andreas Ottersbach has long since been operating not only with intraoperative imaging and navigation, he also uses a “digital process manager” controlled via voice or pedal, in order to leverage all the aids he considers as effective and modern as well as capable of improving the result of surgery. All team members act according to clearly set standards, which in turn is confirmed by a meticulous operation protocol. The orthopaedics clinic in Brig was clearly an absolute pioneer in intraoperative digitalisation using the SPI system.
High expertise: implantation of artificial joints under navigation control
The dedicated senior consultant also secured his clinic’s leading position by making consistent use of navigation systems for knee arthroplasty: infrared-based calculations of prosthesis sizes allow him to take into account individual positioning of leg axes and ligament tensions (alongside his own expertise) during operations. Dr. Ottersbach introduced this technique, which also functions as the basis for bone cuts made with robotic assistance, as soon as he took over management of the clinic in 2005.
Two years later, in 2007, he added another worldwide innovation to the already innovative endoprosthetics concept in Brig. In order to ensure a direct, more anterior point of access in artificial hip joint replacement surgery, Dr. med. Andreas Ottersbach had a revolutionary idea: RotexTable® was invented based on his ideas – a new type of leg positioning unit that for the first time enabled an electrically operated ergonomic positioning aid with independent adjustment of the leg position. This helped him optimise the orthopaedic surgical procedures in a lasting manner – while of course also improving the verifiable results. About three hundred RotexTables® are in use worldwide today. And the clinic in Brig is of course considered an international reference centre.
Patient-oriented research: high-performance medicine pioneer
For Dr. Ottersbach and his team, pioneering work is thus part of the daily clinical routine. Another example of the innovative spirit at the Orthopaedic Clinic is the “Rapid Recovery™” concept introduced back in 2011, which also revolutionised hip and knee arthroplasty. The senior consultant leveraged this evidence-based concept to optimise all treatment pathway processes and thus ensure his patients standardised and optimised clinical improvements from an interdisciplinary environment. This once again resulted in a measurable optimisation of treatment – especially for the affected patients. Faster recovery after surgery was particular important in this case – and thus how surprisingly quickly patients regained the mobility that many of them had long been deprived of.
The fact that Dr. Ottersbach does everything he can to make his patients’ hospital stay and rehabilitation measures as short as possible is one of the foundations of his patient-oriented specialisation. His vast knowledge of the latest minimally invasive surgical techniques alone enables him to implant prostheses with extremely small incisions and as little surgical intervention as possible. This positively affects both the shortness of healing time and regeneration. Another advantage is the surprisingly minor scarring even after a new hip or knee joint has been implanted. On top of this comes the efficiency of individual processes, which is strictly observed by everyone in Brig.
Dr. med. Andreas Ottersbach thus draws attention to himself time and again with innovations that help him lead his speciality into the future. As he has long focused on hip and knee replacements in combination with minimally invasive techniques, the medical community keeps looking to the Upper Valais Hospital Centre – and asking: Is there another innovation with which this outstanding specialist will take endoprosthetics to the next international level? The answer has often been clear: the rather inconspicuous clinic in Brig is home to international cutting-edge medicine that leads the way into the future.