Academic Hospital Cologne-Merheim

location_on Cologne, Germany
8.9/10 from 23 Votes

Department of Abdominal, Vascular and Transplant Surgery (274442)

Markus Heiss

Prof. Dr. med.

Markus Heiss

Specialized in: abdominal, vascular and transplant surgery

About the Department of Abdominal, Vascular and Transplant Surgery at Academic Hospital Cologne-Merheim

The Department of Abdominal, Vascular and Transplant Surgery at the Academic Hospital Cologne-Merheim offers the full range of surgical treatment in its areas of specialization. The department is a maximum care clinic, so its surgeons successfully perform all types of classic open and sparing minimally invasive operations. Since February 2013, the department enjoys the status of the Center of Excellence in Minimally Invasive Surgery (certificate of the German Society for General and Abdominal Surgery). Of particular interest to the surgeons of the department are surgical treatment of gastrointestinal cancers, hernia repair surgery, vascular interventions, liver, kidney and pancreas transplantation, as well as bariatric interventions for morbid obesity.

The Chief Physician of the department is Prof. Dr. med. Markus Heiss. The specialist was repeatedly included in the ranking of the best surgeons in Germany by the Focus magazine.

The focus of abdominal surgery is responsible for the surgical treatment of diseases of the esophagus, stomach, colon and small intestine, spleen, liver, gallbladder, as well as endocrine organs – thyroid gland, parathyroid glands, adrenal glands and pancreas. A key role is given to the treatment of cancer of all of the above organs.

A team of vascular surgeons performs operations to treat diseases of the arteries, veins and lymph vessels. The service spectrum also includes interventions to restore the patency of cerebral vessels in order to prevent stroke (for example, in case of atherosclerosis).

The specialists in the field of colorectal surgery provide the diagnostics and comprehensive treatment of colon, rectal and anal diseases. The department's doctors have to deal with pathologies such as diverticulitis, Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, functional digestive disorders, hemorrhoids, fecal incontinence, etc. The focus is on patients with colon malignancies. To achieve the best treatment results for such a complex pathology as colon cancer, the doctors maintain close cooperation with the Department of Gastroenterology, the Section of Endoscopy, as well as experts in the field of radiation therapy and oncology. To make an accurate diagnosis, all modern test are available, including colonoscopy, rectoscopy and proctoscopy, endosonography, rectal manometry, as well as imaging studies. The treatment regimen for each patient is developed individually. If possible, the surgeons also perform sparing surgical interventions, which allow the patient to recover after the operation as soon as possible.

It is worth noting that the department successfully treats peritoneal carcinomatosis (metastatic spread of tumor cells in the peritoneum in case of the stomach, intestinal, pancreatic cancer, etc.). Today, there is no standard therapy to combat this pathology, but there are innovative therapeutic procedures that can significantly improve the quality of life of patients and extend their life. The department's specialists have extensive experience in the field of intraperitoneal immunotherapy with antibodies and hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC) with peritonectomy. The essence of the first treatment option is that when using a special mechanism, the cells of the immune system begin to more actively destroy tumor cells in the peritoneum. This type of treatment demonstrates much higher success rates compared to classical chemotherapy. Hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC) is usually combined with a total surgical removal of the tumor. HIPEC is used to destroy microscopic metastases or individual tumor cells that cannot be removed surgically. The basis of therapy is hyperthermia (heating tissues above 40 °C), which is complemented by the introduction of chemotherapy drugs. If the procedure is carried out correctly by the experienced doctors, this treatment method provides good results.

The department has at its disposal high-tech operating rooms equipped with the most advanced equipment for minimally invasive interventions. Such operations have several advantages, in particular, a better aesthetic result, minimal pain, speedy recovery of the patient after surgery and a shorter period of hospitalization. The department's surgeons use minimally invasive techniques even for operations on the stomach, liver, spleen, small and large intestine, rectum (for both benign and malignant diseases). It is noteworthy that such a sparing treatment option is absolutely not inferior to classical open surgery according to the results. 

The department successfully practices natural orifice transluminal endoscopic surgery (NOTES). The operations on the abdominal organs are performed with access through the oral cavity or anus to avoid visible scars. At the moment, this technique is used to remove the gallbladder in women with access through the vagina.

The range of services is complemented by liver, kidney and pancreas transplantation. Prior to the surgical procedure, the patient undergoes the necessary diagnostic tests. The transplantation is preceded by careful preparation, while after the operation the patient is provided with responsive care to avoid rejection of the transplanted organ.

The department's range of surgical services includes:

  • Abdominal surgery
    • Laparoscopic surgery (appendix removal, interventions on the gallbladder, esophagus, stomach, colon, spleen)
    • Esophageal, stomach and pancreatic surgery
    • Large and small bowel surgery, interventions to treat Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis
    • Rectal surgery
    • Hepatobiliary surgery (interventions on the gallbladder, bile ducts and liver)
    • Bariatric surgery (gastric banding and gastric bypass surgery)
    • Hernia repair surgery, including minimally invasive techniques (inguinal, umbilical and incisional hernias)
    • Endocrine surgery
      • All thyroid interventions, including resection of malignant tumors with radical lymphadenectomy (including urgent histological diagnostics and neuromonitoring)
      • All parathyroid interventions
      • All adrenal interventions (laparoscopic and classic)
      • All pancreatic interventions (enucleation, pancreatic segment resection), including operations using intraoperative sonography
    • Abdominal cancer surgery
      • Surgery to treat colorectal cancer
      • Surgery to treat anal canal cancer and precancerous conditions
      • Surgical treatment of metastases
      • Surgery to treat liver, pancreatic, and biliary tract cancer
      • Treatment of peritoneal carcinomatosis (intraperitoneal antibody immunotherapy and hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy, HIPEC)
      • Surgery to treat esophageal and stomach cancer
  • Vascular surgery
    • Interventions on the abdominal aorta (including interventional procedures – stent placement)
    • Carotid interventions
    • Interventions on the peripheral arteries (obliterating endarteritis)
    • Interventions on the veins (varicose veins)
    • Pacemaker implantation (in collaboration with the Department of Cardiology)
    • Installation of port systems (also on an outpatient basis)
  • Transplant surgery
    • Liver transplantation
    • Kidney transplantation
    • Pancreas transplantation
    • Donor kidney surgery, including laparoscopic interventions
  • Other medical services

Curriculum vitae of Prof. Dr. med. Markus Heiss


  • 1975 - 1976 Study of Computer Science, Technical University of Darmstadt.
  • 1976 - 1977 Study of Medicine, University of Antwerp, Belgium.
  • 1978 - 1979 Study of Medicine, Ruhr University Bochum.
  • 1979 - 1980 Study of Medicine, University of Frankfurt.
  • 1980 - 1983 Study of Medicine, Technical University of Munich.
  • 15.03.1983 State exam in Medicine.
  • 11.05.1983 Admission to medical practice.
  • 07.09.1983 American State Exam (Visa Qualifying Examination).
  • 1983 - 1984 Philosophy courses at the University of Munich.
  • 14.05.1986 Doctoral thesis defense, Technical University of Munich.


  • July 1977 Scholarship of the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Antwerp for gifted students.
  • March 1981 Scholarship to support talented students of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation.
  • March - June 1991 Scholarship of the German Research Foundation, Department of Surgery, National Cancer Institute, National Institute of Health, Bethesda, USA.
  • February 2000 Scholarship of the German Society of Surgery, advanced training in several American hospitals.

Professional Career and Qualifications

  • Alternative civilian service, Institute of Immunology, Munich.
  • 1984 - 1985 Young scientist at the Institute of Immunology, Munich.
  • 01.08.1985 Assistant Physician, Department of Surgery, University Hospital of Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, Campus Grosshadern, Munich.
  • 31.10.1991 Theoretical foundations of the specialty in Emergency Medicine.
  • 16.12.1992 Board certification in Surgery.
  • 26.05.1995 European Diploma in Intensive Care.
  • 01.05.1996 Senior Physician, Department of Surgery, University Hospital of Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, Campus Grosshadern, Munich.
  • 14.01.1998 Habilitation, Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich.
  • 16.02.1998 PD in Surgery.
  • 15.08.1998 Specialization in Abdominal Surgery.
  • 22.09.1998 Certification of the European Board as a Vascular Surgeon.
  • 01.12.1998 Specialization in Vascular Surgery.
  • 16.10.1999 Fellow of the American College of Surgeons (FACS).
  • 29.11.2001 Leading Senior Physician, Department of Surgery (focus on abdominal and minimally invasive surgery), University Hospital of Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, Campus Grosshadern, Munich.
  • 01.01.2003 Leading Senior Physician, Department of Surgery, University Hospital of Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, Campus Grosshadern, Munich.
  • 02.03.2004 Extraordinary Professorship.
  • 01.05.2004 Head of the Department of Surgery I, Witten-Herdecke University.
  • 01.05.2004 Head of the Department of Abdominal, Vascular and Transplant Surgery at the Academic Hospital Cologne-Merheim.

Photo of the doctor: (c) Kliniken der Stadt Köln gGmbH 

Department of Abdominal, Vascular and Transplant Surgery.
Academic Hospital Cologne-Merheim:

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