About us Prof. Dr. med. Beat Müller, FEBS, MBA
The demands on modern medicine have increased enormously in recent years. In Basel, the development of high-performance medicine is now being advanced: The Clarunis University Abdominal Centre in Basel is a novel competence centre of the Claraspital and the Basel University Hospital, treating patients with diseases in the entire abdominal area. No fewer than three designated specialists are available to help people with pancreatic problems: Prof. Dr. med. Beat Müller, PD Dr. med. Martin Bolli and Prof. Dr. med. Otto Kollmar, all of whom have excellent expertise in treating pancreatic diseases – they help make the Pancreas Centre a top international destination for patients seeking treatment.
The pancreas is a large gland in our upper abdomen, whose main function is to release digestive secretions and hormones: Thus, the pancreas, with its central position in the body, supplies needed substances to the intestines and to the blood. But as soon as this small gland experiences functional impairment, things in our body can go suddenly wrong. If that happens, it is important to seek expert assistance quickly – preferably from certified specialists. A special problem with this gland is that it is hidden away between the stomach and the spine. This makes any operation a complex procedure that requires tremendous mastery.
Anyone who turns to the Clarunis University Abdominal Centre in Basel in such a situation is definitely on the right track to get help for their condition. In the local pancreas centre, highly specialised physicians are available for all diseases of the abdominal area, and they have proven themselves able to meet the strictest demands of state-of-the-art medicine, and win over patients not only with their experience and expertise, but also with targeted diagnostics and individual treatments, as well as with verifiable long-term results. Whether your needs lies in gastroenterology, hepatology, or innovative techniques for visceral surgery – here is where interdisciplinary collaboration takes place at a scientific level.
Pancreatic treatments: Three internationally renowned chief consultants
Regardless of whether the problem concerns functional impairments or, for example, pancreatic cancer, Prof. Dr. med. Beat Müller, PD Dr. med. Martin Bolli and Prof. Dr. med. Otto Kollmar are the right people to contact for help. From pancreatitis to complex surgery for tumours: All three of these physicians have substantial experience in all matters relating to the pancreas, and they guarantee that patients receive high-quality care.
One of the most common conditions that specialists encounter is inflammation of the pancreas - acute pancreatitis. Besides excessive alcohol consumption, pancreatitis can often also be triggered by gallstones, which in turn are usually caused by excessive cholesterol content in the bile, a fluid that flows through the pancreatic duct to the duodenum. If the gallstones migrate into the bile duct, they can clog the common opening to the intestine – resulting in a backup of fluid that can lead to inflammation of the pancreas. The result is severe abdominal pain. Those who turn to the Basel Pancreas Centre for acute pancreatitis can rely on first-class treatment – generally without any complications or adverse long-term consequences.
Stents are often inserted to treat constrictions in the pancreatic duct in chronic pancreatitis. For chronic inflammation, in individual cases it may also be useful to remove part of the pancreas or to surgically improve the outflow of pancreatic secretions in order to alleviate chronic pain and improve quality of life.
Pancreatitis can cause complications, especially when the disease is already well advanced. Often the pain radiates into the back and is accompanied by a fever. In this happens, the patient must not put off seeing the doctor under any circumstances. Patients can then always rely on the expertise at the Clarunis Pancreas Centre, where the classic standard of basic care is greatly exceeded in all areas. Here, treatment is always based on the latest scientific findings.
The high quality for which the entire Clarunis University Abdominal Centre in Basel is known begins with a comprehensive diagnostic workup. With their expert team, Prof. Müller, PD Dr. Bolli and Prof. Kollmar can precisely image the pancreas by means of endoscopic ultrasound – and can, if necessary, take samples directly by using modern endosonographic methods. In the treatment of cysts, plastic drains are often also placed in the growths. The endoscopic procedures performed in Basel can almost invariably remove pancreatic cysts without the need for surgery.
However, if a patient has a pancreatic tumour, then surgery is inevitable. Recent studies have also shown that surgical precision directly determines the patient’s prognosis and has long been regarded as a decisive factor for success. That is why, for the treatment of pancreatic cancer, it is essential to consult a highly specialised physician who has developed his expertise over many years and has extensive experience in his field. Only then can we ensure that the primary goal of each operation is achieved: Whenever possible, complete removal of the tumour and the regional lymphatic drainage area. The reason for this is that a cure is only possible if the cancer is completely removed.
Prof. Dr. med. Beat Müller, PD Dr. med. Martin Bolli and Prof. Dr. med. Otto Kollmar have spent many years familiarising themselves with the most complex types of tumour operations. A surgeon’s true skill becomes particularly evident when the patient is severely ill. In this cases, the possibility of resection, if any, only becomes apparent after abdomen is opened. Precisely because the surgery on the pancreas is extremely challenging, the Clarunis Pancreas Centre wins patients over with their chief consultant’s trend-setting concept: The many tumour operations carried out here are distributed amongst a small number of surgeons, all of whom have an above-average level of experience. This explains the fact that the excellent quality of the operations at Clarunis ensures a very low rate of complications when compared with other institutions internationally. Scientific studies confirm the wisdom of this basic philosophy, as does the positive feedback from patients.
The Centre's specialists are always keeping two things in mind: To ensure or at least significantly prolong the patients’ survival – and to ensure the best possible quality of life. To this end, they employ the most modern forms of efficient chemotherapy, which are used as effectively as necessary and as gently as possible, in interdisciplinary consultation with other specialists who are also exceptionally competent and experienced at the Clarunis University Abdominal Centre in Basel. If local tumour progression has already occurred, the specialists will perform a palliative procedure to at least permit drainage of the bile or the passage of food, or relieve jaundice with a stent placed into the bile duct. These procedures provide at least a measure of relief. Jaundice is another common symptom of pancreatic disease.
In fact, all diseases of the pancreas can be treated at the highest level in the Clarunis Pancreas Centre. These three certified specialists are to thank for the Centre’s high quality of service:
As chief consultant of visceral surgery, Prof. Dr. med. Beat Müller has not only focused on the comprehensive treatment of the pancreas, but is also an internationally recognized specialist for the oesophagus, the entire gastrointestinal tract, and colorectal surgery. His expertise in Germany and abroad is particularly in demand in the field of cancer treatment, as evidenced by his memberships in important specialist societies. He is a member of, among other, the American Society of Surgery of the Alimentary Tract (SSAT) and the International Society of Surgery (ISS). As a member of the Executive Board at Clarunis University Abdominal Centre in Basel, he is one of the leading figures in that innovative institution.
As a physician, he has long had close ties to the Claraspital and the University of Basel. He studied in Bern, worked as an speciality registrar in Lucerne, and came to Basel in 1989, where he took over as head of the surgical clinic and chief consultant for visceral surgery at the Claraspital in 2003. In order to ensure the highest standards of treatment at all times, he is also involved in teaching and research – for example, by giving ground-breaking lectures. His many publications have also drawn repeated attention.
PD Dr. med. Martin Bolli, as Deputy Chief Consultant in Visceral Surgery at the Claraspital location, is committed to the speciality of pancreatic surgery and is regarded as a pioneer in robotic surgery. He completed his studies in Zurich and came to the Basel University Hospital in 1999 as a speciality registrar. After several positions as a senior consultant and chief consultant, including further training in the USA, in 2015 he returned to Basel once again – as the head consultant for surgery at the Claraspital. Besides the pancreas, in his medical practice he also focuses on liver and gallbladder surgery.
PD Dr Bolli has authored several pioneering publications and lectures, as well as being a member of several important professional societies – such as the Swiss Medical Association (FMH), the German as well as the Swiss Societies for Visceral Surgery, and the International Hepato-Pancreato-Biliary Association (IHPBA).
Prof. Dr. med. Otto Kollmar is a Deputy Chief Consultant working at multiple locations – and as Head of Hepatobiliary Surgery he has a high level of expertise in the treatment not only of pancreatic diseases, but in other areas as well. This doctor, who was born in Kassel, is a renowned expert in the field of tumour surgery. He studied in the German capital of Berlin, at the Free University of Berlin and at the Charité in Berlin. His surgical training was the occasion for his first move to Switzerland – at the Clinic for Visceral and Transplantation Surgery at the Inselspital Bern. After a long tenure at the University Hospital of the Saarland, where he was appointed an Extraordinary Professor of the University of the Saarland in 2011, he deepened his enormous knowledge at the University Medical Centre of Göttingen as managing senior consultant with a professorship in tumour surgery, and finally as director of a clinic for general and visceral surgery in Wiesbaden.
When the Clarunis Abdominal Centre was looking to find a head for its hepatobiliary surgery section and wanted to further develop its expertise in visceral tumour surgery, he was the ideal solution – and not only because of his enormous range of sparing techniques for open and minimally invasive surgery. He has held this position since 2019. Patients with bowel conditions and problems with the thyroid, parathyroid glands and adrenal glands also benefit from his expertise.
Prof. Dr. med. Beat Müler, PD Dr. med. Martin Bolli and Prof. Dr. med. Otto Kollmar thus jointly represent the high-quality care that all patients who come to the Clarunis University Abdominal Centre Basel with diseases of the pancreas can expect. With their high requirements in all matters of medicine and nursing, they also guarantee that quality is constantly optimised.
One of the drivers for that is that all areas here are competently staffed – from highly trained specialised nurses, to those working in administration, who guarantee a smooth process with very short waiting times. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that the Claraspital and the Basel University Hospital are two traditionally sought-after key centres for visceral surgery and gastroenterological basic care according to international standards!