Center for Paraplegiology Bad Wildungen (Hesse): Dr Axel Hempfing

Dr Axel Hempfing
Head Physician
Specialist in Paraplegiology
Bad Wildungen, Germany

Werner Wicker Klinik - Logo

Treatment Focus

  • Initial treatment for new paraplegia
  • Paralysis-related deformities and instabilities of the spine
  • Orthopedic complications (joint contractures, deformities, bone fractures, spasticity)
  • Pain therapy for neuropathic and somatic pain
  • Pressure ulcers (decubitus) with surgical and conservative treatment
  • Neurogenic bladder or intestinal emptying disorder (e.g., colon management in colon paralysis, artificial anus)

Medical Range

Range of Diagnostic Services

  • X-ray department
  • MVZ with MRI/CT/bone densitometry
  • MVZ with neurology (EEG, electrophysiology)
  • Swallowing diagnostics (FEES)
  • Sleep apnea diagnostics (polygraphy)
  • Spirometry and PCF (peak cough flow measurement)
  • Ultrasound
  • Laboratory
  • Own hygiene department
  • Neuro-urological function diagnostics (video endoscopy, video urodynamics, uroflowmetry, cystoscopy)
  • Endoscopy (gastroscopy, colonoscopy)
  • Intestinal incontinence diagnostics
  • Contrast imaging of the intestine
  • Occupational therapy with sitting pressure measurement
  • Lifelong aftercare treatment
  • Traffic medical evaluation

 

Range of Therapeutic Services

  • Conservative complex treatment for all forms of spinal paralysis and a comprehensive range of spinal-specific surgical therapies
  • Physiotherapy and physical therapy (respiratory therapy, functional electrical stimulation, myofeedback training, sling table, fascia therapy, Kinesio tape, mindfulness, movement trainer, pelvic floor treatment, gait therapy with robotic gait orthosis (Lokomat exoskeleton), Manual therapy, osteopathy, neurophysiological methods (Vojta, PNF, Bonath), movement therapy in water, virtual reality therapy (Cureosity), manual lymph drainage and edema therapy, lymph-tape, thermotherapy, scar treatment, electrotherapy, heat therapy, colon massage, classic massage)
  • Occupational therapy (individual aids and seat cushion adjustment, wheelchair workshop, environment control, communication aids, hand positioning, everyday life-oriented training, environmental adaptation, design therapy)
  • Psychology
  • Social service
  • Speech therapy
  • Sports and exercise therapy (wheelchair training, medical training therapy/strength training, archery, hand biking, upper body ergometer training, water therapy, according to Halliwick)
  • Orthopedic technology company in the clinic building (orthotic fitting, brace construction, aids, seat shells, corsets)
  • Highly specialized care of paraplegic patients (wound treatment, mobilization, positioning, conservative bowel management, nutritional counseling)
  • Pain therapy for neuropathic and somatic pain (multimodal treatment, acupuncture, baroreflex training, pain pumps, SCS - spinal cord stimulation, infiltration treatment, thermocoagulation, diagnosis and therapy of perianal pain)
  • Intensive care therapy (ventilation / respiratory therapy / tracheal cannula management/weaning)
  • Multimodal spasticity treatment (medication, physiotherapy, electrostimulation)
  • Conservative decubitus treatment (unique beds, vacuum treatment, wound cleaning with ultrasound, wound dressings, extracorporeal shock wave treatment)

 

Surgical Focuses:

  • Osteosynthesis for fractures
  • Plastic surgery for decubital ulcers (plastic covering, skin grafting, flap plastic surgery)
  • Visceral surgery for neurogenic intestinal paralysis (artificial anus)
  • Bariatric operations
  • Placement of gastric fistula (PEG)
  • Correction and stabilization of the spine
  • Shoulder surgery
  • Reconstructive surgeries for contractures and deformities
  • Removal of ossifications near the joint (POA)
  • Urological surgeries (including cystoscopy, sacral deafferentation, Brindley surgery, cystectomy, suprapubic catheters, ileum conduit, artificial bladder sphincter)

About Dr Axel Hempfing

Dr Axel Hempfing is a specialist in paraplegiology and head of the Department for Paraplegiology at the Center for Paraplegics at the Werner Wicker Klinik in Bad Wildungen. Previously, Dr Hempfing was head of the Department of Spine Surgery / German Scoliosis Center at the hospital.

Under the direction of Dr Hempfing, the clinic treats paraplegic patients, acute and for the rest of their lives for all consequences of paraplegia in the specialist hospital recognized as a paraplegia center by the German-speaking Society for Paraplegiology.

A competent and experienced team of physicians with different specialties works closely with a highly qualified team of therapists, including nurses, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, psychologists, and social workers.

Initial Care and Treatment of Paraplegic Patients at the Bad Wildungen Center for Paraplegics

The diagnosis of paraplegia means a massive impact on the patients' and their relatives' lives. The abruptness and severity of such an incident require intensive and multifaceted treatment and care for those affected. A serious sports or work accident, but also tumors and circulatory disorders, can damage the spinal cord with varying degrees of paralysis. The paralyzes depend on the extent of the spinal cord damage; complete and incomplete paralyzes occur with possible preservation of residual motor functions.

Damage to the spinal cord caused by an accident has such serious motor, sensory and vegetative consequences that intensive acute treatment is required. Usually, affected patients are initially cared for in the intensive care unit because essential physical functions must be stabilized. Many highly paralyzed patients have to be ventilated initially. Following acute care in the intensive care unit, specific initial treatment also takes place in an inpatient context.

Dr Hempfing's team at the Department of Paraplegiology in Bad Wildungen attaches utmost importance to an intensive interdisciplinary exchange with colleagues from other treating medical specialties and to a patient-centered approach that includes the patient's relatives. Intensive communication and space for questions and concerns are emphasized in the hospital.

The many years of experience in the treatment of paraplegia make the problematic and intensive therapy and the implementation of the individual requirements of each patient possible. Much attention is paid to attentiveness, sensitivity, and empathy, and in this way, a trusting atmosphere is created by the complete treatment team.

The hand-in-hand work of nursing staff, medical team and physiotherapists, and occupational therapists provide a multi-layered and individual treatment concept, making the Center for Paraplegics in Bad Wildungen a unique treatment location.

Spinal Problems in Paraplegia: State-of-the-art Therapy for Paralysis-Related Deformities and Instabilities

Due to immobilization and the corresponding loss of muscle mass, the lack of stabilization by the back muscles can lead to deformities and instabilities of the spine. Deformities can result, along with fractures and spinal canal narrowing, which can cause problems.

The team at the specialist hospital works closely with the Department of Spinal Surgery / German Scoliosis Center to diagnose and treat spinal problems. A joint treatment concept is designed, and the need for surgical therapy is weighed.

Orthopedic Complications of Spinal Paralysis: Spasticity, Contractures & Bone Fractures

After the initial spinal shock with flaccid paralysis has subsided, almost all patients experience spasticity, which other associated complications may accompany. Spasticity means that the musculature has an increased fundamental tone, and muscle groups can cramp. This cramping occurs because of interrupted central control mechanisms of the brain due to spinal cord damage.

Conservative spasticity treatment includes passive exercise by experienced physical therapists and antispasmodic medications. The Center for Paraplegics also offers the option of infiltration therapy, which allows the spasming muscles to relax temporarily. Among the surgical treatments available is the implantation of a programmable drug pump to treat the spasticity.

The increased risk of fractures causes other orthopedic complications due to decreased bone density. In this regard, the risk of fracture is compounded by the risk of falls from a wheelchair when spasticity suddenly occurs. Such eventualities are discussed in detail with the patients to keep the risk as low as possible.

Pain in Paraplegia: Highest Expertise in Pain Therapy of Paraplegic Patients

A critical issue in treating spinal cord-injured patients is pain and paresthesia in the paralyzed areas of the body. This paradoxical pain below the level of paralysis can significantly limit the patient's quality of life and must therefore be addressed intensively and in many ways.

Pain therapy in Bad Wildungen is interdisciplinary and multimodal. It is carried out by the treating team of physicians, pain therapists and physiotherapists, and psychotherapists to address all facets of pain optimally. The broad team of different specialties brings with it many years of experience so that patients with their pain will always find a sympathetic ear and competent help.

Preventing the development of a pronounced chronic pain profile is of great importance. In addition, much attention is paid to the risk of depression and pain-related withdrawal from the social environment, and attempts are made to motivate the patients to socialize as part of their treatment.

Surgical and Conservative Treatment of Pressure Ulcers

People with paraplegia spend a lot of time sitting and lying down due to the situation. The prolonged pressure on the tissues with decreased blood flow can quickly lead to pressure ulcers.

The informing and handling of pressure ulcers and the necessary decubitus prevention are crucial and are given to the affected persons and relatives by the team around Dr Hempfing. Due to the lack of sensitivity of the affected body regions, the pressure points are not perceived by the patients and, for this reason, must be closely monitored by nurses and relatives.

Regular changes of position and positioning techniques, padding, and necessary aids to protect the soft tissues in the wheelchair are of utmost relevance. A pressure sore that has already developed requires a high level of experience and is treated by specialized staff at the Center for Paraplegics in Bad Wildungen.

The specialized treatment team takes care of proper wound management, checking and optimizing the provision of aids, and planning any surgical measures that may be necessary.

Bowel Management in Paraplegia: Holistically Coordinated Therapy for Patients Affected by Paraplegia

A significant problem in the care of people with spinal cord injuries can be the issue of incontinence. Many patients experience intense feelings of shame, so in some cases, participation in social life is avoided or severely restricted for this reason.

The colon in paraplegia can show both a flaccid symptomatology with involuntary defecation and a spastic disorder, which causes constipation and difficult defecation. The disturbed intestinal passage can lead to further complications, which must be kept in mind. These include flatulence, malnutrition, and also the risk of intestinal obstruction. In some cases, an artificial anus is created. The colleagues from proctological surgery correct possible problems with a lot of fine-tuning and close consultation.

Independent Department for Neuro-Urology in the Center for Paraplegics

Under the direction of head physician Dr Marcus Nehiba, the independent Department of Neuro-Urology in the Center for Paraplegics offers differentiated clarification and therapy of neurogenic urinary bladder dysfunctions that occur, for example, as a result of paraplegia, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's syndrome, or other neurological diseases, using modern surgical and conservative procedures.

Please, visit the website of the Werner Wickler Klinik Bad Wildungen for more information.

Curriculum Vitae

Since January 2023 Head Physician, Werner Wicker Klinik, Center for Spinal Cord Injury, Bad Wildungen
March 2020 – December 2022 Head Physician, Werner Wicker Klinik, Center for Spine Surgery/German Scoliosis Center, Bad Wildungen
Since July 2015 Senior Physician in Charge
October 2007 – June 2015 Senior Physician
August 2006 – September 2007 Representative Senior Physician
February 2006 – July 2006 Assistant Physician, Werner Wicker Klinik, Center for Spine Surgery/German Scoliosis Center, Bad Wildungen
25 January 2006 Advanced Training: Specialist in Orthopedics (State Medical Association of Baden-Württemberg)
July 2004 – December 2006 Assistant Physician, Foundation Orthopedic University Hospital Heidelberg Head Physician: Prof. Ewerbeck
June 2001 – June 2004 Assistant Physician, Werner Wicker Klinik, Center for
October 1999 – May 2001 Spine Surgery/German Scoliosis Center, Bad Wildungen Head Physician: Dr Metz-Stavenhagen
May 2000 Dissertation: The Importance of General Sonographic Newborn Screening for the Prophylaxis and Effective Early Therapy of Hip Dysplasia - a Study of 10,064 Hips.
1997 – 1999 First Year Resident, Clinic for Orthopedics, University Hospital Eppendorf, Hamburg Head Physician: Prof. Rüther
October 1997 Medical Exam (3rd Section)
February 1997 – May 1997 Selected Subject Orthopedic Surgery, Inselspital Bern, Switzerland
1996-1997 Practical Year: Internal Medicine and Surgery, Albert-Schweitzer Hospital Northeim
August 1996 Medical Exam (2nd Section)
April 1994 Medical Exam (1st Section)
March 1992 Preparatory Medical Exam
1990 Matriculation for Human Medicine, Georg-August-University, Göttingen
1988 – 1990 Civilian Service: Community Nursing (Eschwege)
1988 General Qualification for University Entrance (Eschwege)

Medical Team

  • Uwe Riess
    Senior Physician in Charge, Focus on General Paraplegiology and Upper Extremity, Medical Director Physical Therapy
  • Dr Cornelia Wolf
    Senior Physician, Focus on Intensive Care Medicine/Ventilation
  • Jens Schmücker
    Senior Physician, Focus on Plastic Surgery
  • Dr Alfred Cassebaum
    Physician in Charge, Visceral Medicine
  • Dr Indira Rakshit
    Senior Physician, Focus on Internal Medicine
  • Dr Christian Pilkahn
    Senior Physician Focus onTraumatology / Spine
  • Dr Ulf Schmidt
    Senior Physician, Focus on Traumatology / Foot Surgery
  • Dr Robert Flieger
    Senior Physician, Focus on Plastic Surgery

Extras

  • Therapy swimming pool with hydraulic lifting floor
  • Gym (table tennis, badminton, archery, air rifle shooting, wheelchair field hockey, kayak training)
  • Outdoor course for wheelchair users
  • Recreational facilities
  • Research department (decubitus, gene analysis)
  • DMGP certified center
  • Participation in register work (data base for the survey of the care quality of paraplegic patients)
  • Accommodation of an accompanying person
  • Accommodation with comfort service
  • Interpreter service
  • Large number of nursing staff with additional qualifications (specialist nursing for paraplegiology, experts for neurogenic intestinal dysfunction, wound experts, pain management specialist assistance)
  • Training center of the international registered Vojta Association

Location

Bad Wildungen Train Station 6 km
Kassel Airport 62 km
Frankfurt/Main Airport 151 km

Information About Bad Wildungen

specialized physicians and medical centers in Bad Wildungen

Bad Wildungen is a small German town in northern Hesse known as a spa center and health resort. Surrounded by lots of forest and nature, the "feel-good town" offers its guests many opportunities for recreation and a wide range of cultural and leisure activities. The Edersee, with its impressive water dam, is nearby.

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Contact

Dr Axel Hempfing
Head Physician

Werner Wicker Klinik
Center for Paraplegic Patients, Department for Paraplegiology
Im Kreuzfeld 4, D-34537 Bad Wildungen

T: +49 5621 902 3005

Clinic:

Monday - Friday
8:00 AM till 4:30 PM
By arrangement

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