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ATOS Clinic Heidelberg

Department of Adult and Pediatric Spinal Surgery (341693)

Bernd Wiedenhöfer

Dr. med.

Bernd Wiedenhöfer

Specialized in: adult and pediatric spinal surgery

About the department

The Department of Adult and Pediatric Spinal Surgery at the ATOS Clinic Heidelberg offers the full range of services in this medical focus. It offers a variety of therapeutic options, ranging from functional conservative treatment, incl. extensive medical pain therapy, to microscopic surgical treatment of herniated intervertebral discs, installation of prostheses to preserve mobility and other surgical interventions to stabilize the entire spine. The department is headed by Dr. med. Bernd Wiedenhöfer, who, according to the FOCUS magazine rating, ranks among the top German doctors. 

The department has excellent diagnostic devices, such as CT, MRI, X-ray, etc. It is equipped with the cutting-edge X-ray system EOS, which is available only in 12 German hospitals. This system is able to reduce the required dose of radiation to 90% compared with standard X-ray diagnostics. In spinal surgery, a very important role is given to the planning of the operation. Therefore, the surgeons of the department use special imaging technologies that allows for planning the course of the intervention down to the smallest detail, and thereby guarantee the patient the excellent treatment result. In addition, the department has the latest medical equipment to ensure the most effective and safe treatment: special microscopes, intraoperative navigation system, neuromonitoring system, etc. 

The department is staffed by experienced doctors specializing in the treatment of spinal diseases in children and adolescents. A common clinical picture is scoliosis - S-shaped spinal curvature. This pathology can be treated by either conservative functional treatment therapy or by using special therapeutic corsets, but in some cases surgery is inevitable. As a rule, children and adolescents recover very quickly after surgical treatment.

The most common complaints among adults and the elderly are herniated intervertebral discs and spinal stenosis. In acute phases of the diseases, the department takes all the necessary measures to relieve inflammation and pain. The patient may be prescribed medication, sleep on a functional bed, physiotherapy, manual therapy, local heat exposure and other treatment methods. All these methods can be effective for relieving pain. Nonetheless, surgical treatment is often required. Surgeons of the department have at their command the very latest equipment and modern surgical techniques. Many operations are minimally invasive. The imaging systems are used to plan surgical interventions in detail, which ensures their high accuracy and effectiveness. 

The range of medical services of the department includes:

  • Surgical and conservative treatment of diseases related to the degeneration of the spinal structures, for example, herniated discs, spinal stenosis, wear of the intervertebral joints and instability of all parts of the spine
  • Surgical and conservative treatment of local spinal deformities, for example, displaced vertebrae (spondylolisthesis)
  • Surgical and conservative treatment of spinal curvature disorders (scoliosis and kyphosis) in children, adolescents and adults, including spinal curvatures due to degeneration
  • Surgical and conservative treatment of spinal pathologies due to age-related changes and osteoporotic changes in the spine
  • And treatment of other diseases

The department offers the following surgical techniques:

  • Minimally invasive interventions with the use of a microscope to remove a herniated disc (nucleotomy), dilatation of the spinal canal (spinal decompression) and radicular pocket (foraminotomy)
  • Minimally invasive stabilization (spondylodesis) of the cervical, thoracic and lumbar spine with special screws, rods and intervertebral disc fixators (cages). The interventions are performed through access from the back, side and front
  • Installation of implants to preserve mobility (replacement of intervertebral discs with special prostheses)
  • Complex equalizing and stabilizing corrections of vertebral deformities (scoliosis and kyphosis) with screws, rods and intraoperative neuromonitoring (control of nerve functions)
  • And other interventions

Curriculum vitae

  • 1990 - 1996 Study of medicine at the Friedrich-Wilhelm University of Bonn.
  • 1993 - 1994 One year education abroad, Medical Faculty, University of Montpellier, France.
  • 1996 - 1998 Internship, Department of General Surgery and Traumatology, Clinic in Bonn (Chief Physician: Prof. Dr. med. D. W. Schröder) and the Department of Orthopedics, St. Joseph's Clinic, Bonn (Chief Physician: Dr. med. N. Moos).
  • 1998 - 2002 Assistant Physician, Department of Orthopedics, St. Joseph's Clinic, Bonn (Chief Physician: Dr. med. N. Moos).
  • 2002 - 2004 Assistant Physician and Research Fellow of the Department of Orthopedics and Orthopedic Surgery of the Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangan-Nuremberg, Waldkrankenhaus St. Marien, Erlangen (Chief Physician:  Prof. Dr. med. R. Forst).
  • 2004 - 2005  Medical Specialist in Orthopedics, Section of Cerebral Palsy and Technical Orthopedics, Orthopedics Foundation of the Heidelberg University Hospital, Department of Orthopedics II (Director: Prof. Dr. med. H. J. Gerner).
  • 2005 - 2007 Senior Physician at the Orthopedics Foundation of the Heidelberg University Hospital, Department of Orthopedics II (Director: Prof. Dr. med. H. J. Gerner).
  • 2007 - 2008 Chief Physician of the Orthopedics Foundation of the Heidelberg University Hospital, Department of Orthopedics II (Director: Prof. Dr. med. H. J. Gerner).
  • 2008 - 2015 Head of the Section of the Center for Spine Surgery, Department of Orthopedics, Traumatology and Parapleology, Heidelberg University Hospital (Director: Prof. V. Ewerbeck).
  • 2009 -2015 Spokesman of the interdisciplinary Spine Center at the Heidelberg University Hospital.
  • 2015 -2017 Chief Physician of the Department of Spine Surgery at the Schön Clinic,  Lorsch.
  • Since 2018 Chief Physician of the Department of Adult and Pediatric Spinal Surgery, ATOS Clinic Heidelberg.

Membership in Professional Societies

  • German Society for Spinal Surgery (DWG).
  • AO Spine.
  • Association of Orthopedic and Trauma Surgeons of Southern Germany (VSOU).
  • German Society of Orthopedics and Traumatology (DGOU).
  • German Society of Sports Medicine (DGSP).

Department of Adult and Pediatric Spinal Surgery.
ATOS Clinic Heidelberg:

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