Special Clinical Focus
- Minimally invasive, microsurgical disc surgery
- Intervertebral disc prosthetics
- Dynamic neutralisation
- Complex reconstruction for deformities
- Regenerative processes
- Invasive pain therapy procedures
The Upper Valais Hospital Centre has made a name for itself far beyond the canton as an essential part of the Valais Hospital. As one of only twelve hospital centres in Switzerland, it stands for patient care in the border region between France and Italy. One institution at the Brig site has contributed enormously to its good reputation and has repeatedly attracted attention with its medical successes: the Back Centre – and its head physician Dr Ferdinand Krappel.
It’s a clear trend in modern medicine: the difference in quality can be seen in the degree of specialisation. In view of this, it’s no wonder that the Back Centre in Brig has such an outstanding reputation – because with head physician Dr med. Ferdinand Krappel, it has an experienced specialist with an enormous recognition as a spinal specialist. Whether microsurgical interventions on the intervertebral discs,
minimally invasive surgery for complex vertebral fractures, or intervertebral disc prostheses: As a proven expert, Dr Krappel is a true asset to the Centre.
Dr Krappel knows exactly how varied back pain can be – and how fundamentally different the corresponding solutions are. Precisely because diseases of the spine have a particularly strong impact on our mobility and thus our entire social and professional life, Dr Krappel focused entirely on the treatment of the spine at an early stage.
Interdisciplinary – for operations as well as for integrated treatment pathways
That's where the specialist's approach fits in perfectly with the certified Back Centre in the Orthopaedics Clinic at the Upper Valais Hospital Centre: With Dr Krappel and his team, the hospital can offer the highest level of treatment for spinal diseases of all kinds. To ensure this high-class care, integrated treatment paths have been specially developed that optimally reflect the hospital's interdisciplinary spectrum.
This is not only true for the interdisciplinary surgical teams that cover both orthopaedic surgery and neurosurgery in the Back Centre at the highest level. Indeed, significant evidence of this interdisciplinary competence can be seen in a special feature of the Back Centre: Here, for the first time in Switzerland, the successful “Rapid Recovery Concept” has also been introduced for the spine area! “Rapid Recovery” is a holistic approach to achieve the fastest and safest recovery possible for joint replacement patients. This concept for improving patient satisfaction optimises clinical results – with an innovative method: “Rapid Recovery” improves the functionality of the prosthesis, allowing patients to walk bearing their full weight on the day of the operation, for example.
Multi-certified: innovative concepts in pain therapy
Before considering prosthetics or operating at all, however, Dr Krappel clearly focuses on avoiding surgical intervention if possible. The specialist uses the entire spectrum of conservative treatment methods – again with a holistic concept. In addition to physiotherapy and physical therapy methods, Dr Krappel uses modern injection techniques, which he also employs in diagnostics – often controlled by computer tomography. These include facet joint infiltration, injections into the spinal canal, into the nerve roots, into the intervertebral disc or into the iliosacral joint. Outpatient neuromodulations are also on the programme in Brig, as are new regenerative procedures such as PRP.
For Dr Krappel, however, the focus lies on a new concept of pain therapy. Here, too, the clinic in Valais was among the first of its kind to set new standards in Switzerland: As a clinic certified by the Swiss Society for Interventional Pain Therapy (SSIPM), the pain therapy department of the Upper Valais Hospital Centre has the designation “Pain Clinic”. This certifies that Dr med. Ferdinand Krappel, as a qualified pain therapist, not only works out the optimal therapy for his patients in the short inpatient interdisciplinary acute pain conference for clarification and treatment planning, but that he also has a lot of experience in multimodal pain therapy. Patients with chronic pain syndrome, who often already have a long history of suffering behind them before they end up in the hands of the designated specialist in Brig, benefit from this in particular.
Bone diseases: outstanding expertise in osteoporosis
Dr Krappel is also a renowned osteoporosis specialist in the three-country region between Switzerland, France and Italy. Here, the specialist is primarily concerned with avoiding bone fractures and preventing limitations that affect the quality of life and often even life expectancy. To do this, Dr Krappel and his team first assess the risk of bone fractures and falls – with a highly professional osteological assessment and fall assessment. Supported by standardised questionnaires, this enables a reliable diagnosis, which is accompanied by bone density measurements and specific laboratory tests if an increased risk of fracture exists. To clarify possible issues, Dr Krappel and his colleagues in the recognised osteological centre of excellence use all modern diagnostic tools. Together with the head physician of the radiology department, Dr Krappel is also actively involved in the Swiss Osteoporosis Platform.
If bones grow stronger through targeted medication, and if the musculature is also strengthened through appropriate concepts, falls can be avoided – another aim of the specific training programmes for osteoporosis patients at the Upper Valais Hospital Centre. Here, too, the interdisciplinary approach is paramount. If necessary, social services and occupational therapy will also improve the situation at home in the long term.
Traumatology speciality: focus on patient safety
Dr med. Ferdinand Krappel also cooperates with other disciplines in treating spinal column injuries. Together with the Traumatology Clinic and the Emergency Department in Visp, he follows guideline-based treatments for the injured. There is also a 24-hour service.
Whether it is a matter of the rapid treatment of injured patients or a second opinion, Dr Krappel's expertise can always be relied on. This was also confirmed by the
European Spine Society EUROSPINE, which thoroughly reviewed the Back Centre at the Upper Valais Hospital Centre, looking into all aspects of spinal surgery – and explicitly certified it. In addition to factors such as interdisciplinary cooperation, treatment in line with guidelines and structural transparency, the performance in terms of the number of treatments was also examined. As an award for special services for back health, Dr med. Ferdinand Krappel received the “Basic and Advanced Diploma” from EUROSPINE – and the “Spine Basic and Master Diploma” from the German Spine Society. Dr Krappel actively participates in the further development of spinal surgery, systematically passing on his high level of expertise. The certified Centre in Brig is also listed on the second-opinion portal “Worldwidemedical” for all spine-related questions – no wonder given the enormous quality in diagnosis and therapy.
Empathy as a medical advantage: the art of listening
What also distinguishes Dr Krappel is his enormous empathy. He always makes a point of discussing all aspects of the issue calmly and in no hurry – right down to stress factors in the family or professional environment, which he incorporates into his comprehensive diagnostics. And if, for example, the pain of a slipped disc cannot be eliminated by conservative methods, another of the specialist's areas of expertise comes into play: in microsurgical interventions on the intervertebral disc in particular, his patients benefit from his immense experience. In fact, patients can often leave the hospital shortly after the microscope-assisted operation. Often, even the complete operation is performed endoscopically. Here, too, the orthopaedic department in Brig set a medical-historical example with the first three-dimensional intraoperative imaging in the entire Valais. Another innovation will soon follow: An infrared-based navigation device will further reduce radiation exposure.
Dr med. Ferdinand Krappel is also a pioneer in many areas of spinal surgery: He is considered a pioneer of dynamic neutralisation, which stands alongside decompression for the efficient elimination of pain. A complex system of screws and rods is used, which leads the way to pain-free, ideally unrestricted mobility. Even the stiffening of a segment can be combined with this type of shock absorber. And in an emergency, patients can also rely on the expertise of the specialist when it comes to a disc prosthesis following a severe indication.
Innovative method for mobility: kyphoplasty
A modern minimally invasive procedure to treat painful vertebral body fractures, which Dr Krappel masters, is kyphoplasty. This involves inserting a balloon into the vertebral body and then filling it with bone cement, quickly eliminating the pain. Balloon kyphoplasty stabilises the thoracic or lumbar spine and also provides an increase in mobility.
Enabling optimal mobility – that is what Dr Krappel and everyone in the team of the certified Back Centre at the Upper Valais Hospital Centre in Brig are all about. That people always come first for Dr med. Ferdinand Krappel is also reflected in the activities beyond his medical work that make him so valuable for the hospital association in Valais and the entire region: As Vice-President of the Valais Medical Association and as President of the Upper Valais Medical Association, for example, he is committed to improving cooperation between specialists and general practitioners – and thus to optimising patient care. Because that is what is close to the heart of the high-class specialist: He always wants his patients to be in the best hands – from the first contact to aftercare.