Essen Pediatric Surgery: Prof. Dr Berger

Prof. Dr Michael Berger
Head of Pediatric Surgery
Specialist in Pediatric Surgery
Essen, Germany

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Treatment Focus

  • General pediatric surgery
  • Malformation surgery in premature and newborn infants
  • Pediatric tumor surgery
  • Pediatric urology and kidney transplantation in children
  • Complex liver surgery and liver transplantation in children
  • Special visceral, pediatric surgery
  • Thoracic surgery

About Prof. Dr Michael Berger

Prof. Dr Michael Berger is a specialist in pediatric surgery and head of pediatric surgery at the hospital for general, visceral, and transplant surgery at University Hospital Essen.

Prof. Berger's team treats congenital and acquired diseases in children from the prenatal and neonatal period, in infancy and toddlerhood up to adulthood. At University Hospital Essen, children are always operated on in a holistic, interdisciplinary treatment approach.

Modern Pediatric Surgery – Children Are Not Little Adults

The surgical treatment of the smallest patients is especially challenging because many anatomical and physiological conditions of the body differ significantly between children and adults. Thus, knowledge of the specifics of pediatric pathologies is a necessary key to successful treatment. In particular, the surgical treatment of children is very demanding due to their small size and unique metabolism.

A particularly gentle surgical approach is, for example, the minimally invasive keyhole surgery, which is highly modern and can also be used in children in many cases. Prof. Dr Berger is a proven expert in minimally invasive pediatric surgery. During his training in the U.S., he first specialized in surgical techniques using the keyhole method in children and then in hepatobiliary and transplantation surgery of the liver and kidney in children.

Liver Surgery in Children

Prof. Berger and his team have special medical expertise in liver and biliary diseases in children. For example, rare liver tumors are treated surgically there. However, the department mainly specializes in the clinical picture of biliary atresia, a congenital obstruction of the bile ducts requiring surgical treatment. At best, this can be accomplished by corrective surgery (hepatoportoenterostomy).

In addition, therapy for the rare Abernethy malformation is offered at University Hospital Essen. There is a connection between the portal vein and the inferior vena cava in this case, which causes blood from the gastrointestinal tract to partially or entirely enter the systemic circulation, bypassing the liver. Concomitant malformations, such as heart defects or liver tumors, are common.

In some instances, the course of the disease in young patients is severe to the extent that a liver transplant becomes necessary. The University Hospital has been established as a center for this and enables so-called SPLIT transplants to be carried out. In addition, parents can donate parts of their liver to their children.

Visceral Pediatric Surgery

Visceral surgery includes the treatment of diseases of the intestine (e.g., chronic inflammatory bowel diseases, circulatory disorders) and abdominal organs. These include the various stomach, liver and gall bladder, pancreas, and spleen diseases. Today, many surgical procedures can be carried out without opening the entire abdominal cavity, referred to as a laparoscopic approach (keyhole surgery).

One of the most common clinical pictures treated surgically in this way is appendicitis. However, University Hospital Essen specializes in clinical pictures, mainly in children and adolescents, requiring special expertise. These include, for example, necrotizing enterocolitis (inflammation of the intestine, an emergency in newborns) or a persistent omphaloenteric duct (the connection between the navel and the intestine, which usually regresses in the course of embryonic development).

Cancer Surgery in Children

Childhood cancers are fortunately rare but require safe and, at the same time, particular therapy due to their special status. In childhood, malignant and benign tumor diseases differ from cancer diseases in adult patients. In addition, specific clinical pictures such as hepatoblastoma (tumor of the liver), nephroblastoma (tumor of the kidney), or neuroblastoma (tumor of the nervous system) usually only occur in children and thus require unique expertise in treatment.

The University Hospital Essen enables the surgery of such tumors in interdisciplinary cooperation with specialists of the respective necessary fields. Other approaches such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy are also carried out there. The young patients are treated individually, from the diagnosis to the final therapy. Since receiving his doctorate, Prof. Berger has been working scientifically on the biological interaction at the interface between malignant tumors and the immune system. Prof. Berger's research is highly respected within academic pediatric surgery. His work is clinically relevant for innovative treatment strategies for various childhood tumors.

Pediatric Urology

Congenital and acquired diseases of the kidney, urinary tract, and genital organs represent another field of pediatric surgery. Malformations of the kidney such as double kidneys or a non-functioning kidney can be surgically removed if necessary. Diagnosis and treatment of urinary tract infections, urinary complaints, and malformations of the urinary tract are also possible in cooperation with specialists in urology.

Special malformations of the genitals, for example, a defective orifice of the urethra, phimosis, or undescended testicles, can also be treated. In many cases, pronounced anomalies are already visible prenatally on ultrasound and can thus be discussed at an early stage, and possible interventions can be planned in detail.

Some kidney diseases lead to kidney failure despite adequate treatment approaches. Dialysis represents a kidney replacement therapy. The necessary preparatory interventions, such as creating certain accesses, are regularly carried out. In addition, University Hospital Essen is a specialized center for kidney transplants in children.

Transition – Long-Term Concepts into Adulthood

The term transition covers the medical transition of children into adulthood with all its changes. For example, many congenital diseases require lifelong therapy, which must be adapted to the respective age and individual development. These include conditions such as spina bifida or short bowel syndrome. Comprehensive care is essential for such cases.

At the University Hospital, an exceptional treatment concept is created for this group of patients. The cooperation between areas of pediatric surgery and specialized adult surgery is a special feature. The transition takes place smoothly, avoiding an abrupt break with the care conditions patients have been accustomed to for years. The best possible medical care is just as important as patient satisfaction.

For more information, please visit the Department of Pediatric Surgery website.

 

Curriculum Vitae

Born in Essen, Germany, he studied medicine at Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich, Miguel Hernandez University in Elche, Spain, and Harvard Medical School at Harvard University in Boston, USA.

After completing his residency in pediatric surgery at Dr von Haunerschen Kinderspital in Munich, he moved to the United States for three years. He first specialized in pediatric surgical techniques using the keyhole method at Alabama Children's Hospital in Birmingham, Alabama.

He then successfully completed two years of training as a hepatobiliary surgeon and transplant surgeon (liver and kidney) at the renowned Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, and returned to the University Hospital in Munich. He initially worked as a senior physician in pediatric surgery, and further specialized in complex liver surgery and liver transplantation in children before taking over as head of pediatric surgery at University Hospital Essen.

Scientifically, Mr. Berger has been working on the biological interaction at the interface between malignant tumors and the immune system since his promotion, which was also the topic of his habilitation. In 2016, Mr. Berger received the Richard Drachter Award, the highest scientific award of the German Society for Pediatric Surgery. Mr. Berger is a father of two children and speaks German, English, and Spanish.

Medical Team

  • Dr Gabriele Krawzak Dr Gabriele Krawzak
    Representative Head
    Specialist Physician for General and Pediatric Surgery
  • Dr Abdulla Sahloul Dr Abdulla Sahloul
    Senior Physician
    Specialist Physician for Pediatric Surgery
  • Dr Univ. Jan Sabo Dr Univ. Jan Sabo
    Acting Senior Physician
    Specialist Physician for Pediatric Surgery
  • Ines Moraleda Ines Moraleda
    Specialist Physician for Pediatric Surgery
     
  • Christina Neuhaus Christina Neuhaus
    Specialist Physician for General Surgery

Location

Essen Main Station 2,5 km
Mühlheim Main Station 9 km
Essen/Mühlheim Airport 7 km
Düsseldorf Airport 27 km
Dortmund Airport 48 km

Information About Essen

Specialist doctors and medical centres in Essen

Essen is a city in the west of Germany, located in the middle of the Ruhr area. The fourth-largest city in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia is considered an important industrial and business location. Essen is located in the Rhine-Ruhr metropolitan region and was the European Capital of Culture in 2010.

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Contact

Prof. Dr Michael Berger
Head of Pediatric Surgery

University Hospital Essen
Department of Pediatric Surgery of the Clinic for General, Visceral and Transplant Surgery
Hufelandstr. 55, D-45147 Essen

T: +49 201 7199 9965
F: +49 201 723 5805

Clinic:

Monday and Wednesday 1:30 PM – 3:30 PM and by appointment

On referral from the general practitioner / pediatrician / specialist physician

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