Dr. Rainer Gruessner is an American surgeon of German descent who was appointed Chairman of the Department of Surgery at the University of Arizona in 2007. He has many “firsts” in both general and transplantation surgery to his credit. Amongst other innovative procedures, he performed the first preemptive living donor liver transplant in an infant with oxalosis in 1998. The patient enjoyed good kidney function for over a decade and did not require a renal transplant.
Dr. Gruessner is highly respected for his leadership of the University of Arizona’s Department of Surgery, which he brought into national prominence with his focus on many new divisions and clinics devoted to providing patients with the most noninvasive surgery options available. He also emphasized the use of robotics in general and transplantation surgery. He performed the first total pancreatectomy and islet auto-transplant with robotic assistance in 2012 in a patient with chronic pancreatitis. During his tenure as the chair of the Department of Surgery, he has made the University of Arizona one of the leaders in robotic surgery programs in the country.
Dr. Rainer Gruessner began his career in Germany, when he received his medical degree from the Johannes Gutenberg University School of Medicine in Mainz in 1983. He completed his professorial thesis at the Philipps University in Marburg, Germany in 1991. In between, Dr. Gruessner moved to the United States to complete a two year fellowship in transplantation immunology at the University of Minnesota. He received additional training in live donor liver transplantation at Kyoto University in Japan. Dr. Rainer Gruessner served as Vice-Chair of the Department of Surgery at the University of Minnesota before accepting the position as the Chair of the Department of Surgery at the University of Arizona.
Notable Accomplishments at the University of Arizona
Dr. Rainer Gruessner completely overhauled the Department of Surgery and focused on minimally invasive and robotic procedures in general and transplantation surgery. Under his leadership, the University of Arizona boasted one of the most comprehensive surgery departments in the nation. His addition of 70 new faculty members to the University of Arizona’s Department of Surgery included six nationally renowned physicians who grew the program’s national reputation.
Dr. Rainer Gruessner has taken a leadership role in surgery for over 15 years. He serves on the editorial board of several major medical journals and is a member of over 20 professional societies. He has written over 600 manuscripts, abstracts, and book chapters, in addition to his editorial work on two standard textbooks, with a third on the way.
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