Information About Prof Dr Ralph Hertel

Prof Dr Ralph Hertel
Practice owner
Specialist in Shoulder and Elbow Surgery
Bern, Switzerland

Treatment Focus

  • Shoulder surgery
  • Elbow surgery
  • Endoprosthetics of the shoulder and elbow joints
  • Conservative and operative care of fractures of the shoulder and the elbow
  • Conservative and operative treatment of degenerative diseases of the shoulder and the elbow
  • Conservative and operative treatment of instabilities of the shoulder and the elbow

Medical Range

Range of Diagnostic services

  • Clinical examination, ultrasound, and arthroscopy of the shoulder and elbow joints
  • In cooperation with our X-ray institute: X-ray, MR, and CT of the shoulder and elbow joints


Range of Therapeutic services

Operations of the shoulder joint:

  • Rotator cuff ruptures
    Combined arthroscopic and open seam techniques
  • Shoulder joint instability
    Arthroscopic and open capsulo-labral refixation (Bankart OP); glenoid build up
  • Subacromial pain syndrome
  • Arthroscopic subacromial decompression (ASD); arthroscopic removal of calcification
  • Arthrosis of the shoulder joint
    Endosprosthetics of the shoulder joint (all variants from anatomical to inverse prosthesis)
  • Fractures
    All treatment options from minimally invasive to fracture prosthesis
  • Treatment of sport specific shoulder injuries
    Gleno-humeral internal rotation deficit disorder (GIRD); thrower’s shoulder

Operations of the elbow joint:

  • Arthroscopy of the elbow joint
    Arthroscopic removal of free joint bodies; treatment of cartilage lesions
  • Restricted movement of the elbow
    Arthroscopic or open arthrolysis
  • Ligament plastics
    As part of a postero-lateral rotational instability (PLRI)
  • Arthrosis and arthritis of the elbow joint
    Implantation of elbow joint prostheses
  • Tennis elbow/epicondylitis
    Treatment of Nirschl lesion

About Prof Dr Ralph Hertel

Prof Dr Ralph Hertel specialises in shoulder and elbow surgery and is owner of the Shoulder & Elbow Centre in Bern.

Professor Hertel and his team have in-depth knowledge in the field of shoulder and elbow surgery and operate in accordance with the latest standards of care.

Conservative treatment

In addition to surgical treatment options for shoulder and elbow disorders, Dr Hertel offers his patients a full range of conservative treatment options. The decision for treatment is always individualised and depends on the medical options and the patient’s wishes. Joint conservation has priority over joint replacement.

Shoulder surgery

The shoulder is a complex joint, the control of which is comparatively vulnerable. The individual elements (e.g. bones, muscles, tendons, cartilage, and ligaments) are linked by complex joints, bursae, and sliding layers. Planning therapy therefore requires great accuracy and precise knowledge of the functional effects. In contrast to the hip joint, the shoulder joint does not have a joint socket surrounding the joint head. The joint surface is relatively small and flat. The advantage: Movements in almost all directions are possible. The disadvantage: The stabilisation of the joint is critical. It is ensured by the fine interplay of the labrum, ligaments, tendons, and muscles. If a structure is impaired, the overall function of the shoulder is limited.

The rotator cuff tendons are frequently affected. A tear of the rotator cuff can be caused by both wear and accidents. In the case of a rotator cuff rupture, different treatment options are available. These must be customised to the individual patient.

Joint replacement (endoprosthetics): For arthrosis of the shoulder joint, there are innovative treatment options with anatomical and inverse prostheses. Prof. Dr Hertel has made a scientific and recognised contribution with respect to the design and clinical application of endoprosthetics.

In the treatment of instability, it is essential to recognise and treat bone damage. Prof Dr Hertel also achieves an improved long-term prognosis in this area, particularly with regard to the development of secondary osteoarthritis.

With respect to the clarification, division, and treatment, complex fractures of the proximal humerus and the glenoid are one of the specialties of Prof Dr Hertel. His classification proposal received international approval.

Elbow surgery

The elbow joint is vulnerable and exposed to high loads when practising sports and performing physical labour. Dislocations and fractures are common. Fractures close to the joint, that result in displacements, must be addressed accordingly and stabilized surgically.

In addition to the traumatic injuries of the elbow joint, diseases are often caused by malfunctions. Tennis elbow (epicondylitis) is one of the most well-known diseases. Nerve damage is also not uncommon: In the region of the elbow, the Ulnar nerve runs relatively unprotected under the skin in direct contact with elbow. Because of this, it is very susceptible to injury from pressure and traction. Constant stress or repetitive movements can thus lead to nerve damage (Ulnar’s syndrome).

Guiding principle: Professionalism and unconditional commitment for the benefit of the patient

In addition to his diagnostic and therapeutic practice, Prof. Dr Hertel is also recognised as a thinker in his field in teaching and research. With inventions and patents in the field of artificial joints and surgical suture, he is one of the leading physicians of his subject area. In recognition of these and many other medical services, Prof. Dr Hertel has received numerous awards.

The website of Prof Dr Hertel can be found here.

Curriculum Vitae

1963–1976 Primary and secondary school in Lugano, A-levels in Lugano
1976–1982 Medical studies in Geneva (2 semesters), Sydney (2 semesters), and Zurich (8 semesters)
1982 State examination at the University of Zurich
1984 Doctorate (University of Bern)
1999 Habilitation (University of Bern)
2004 Appointment as extraordinary professor at the University of Bern

Further education and training

1983 Basic research in bio-mechanics, Institute of Experimental Surgery, Davos
1984–1989 Training in surgery, orthopaedics, and introduction to clinical research in Bern, Geneva, and Paris
1988 Basic anatomical research, Laboratoire d’Anatomie des Saints Pères, Paris (SGO Scholarship)
1991–1996 Animal studies at the Research Institute in Davos (AO Grant)
1990 FMH title for orthopaedic surgery and promotion to senior physician, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, University Hospital, Bern
1992 Promoted to Team Leader of Upper Extremity, Department for Orthopaedic Surgery, University Hospital, Bern
1992 Appointment as lecturer at the University of Bern
1995 Promoted to Chief Physician, Department for Orthopaedic Surgery, University Hospital, Bern
1999 Awarded Venia Docendi, University of Bern
2001 Election to the Board of the Department of Orthopaedics, Plastic, and Hand Surgery
2004 Private medical activity at the Lindenhof, Bern

Medical Team

  • Prof Dr Ralph Hertel
    FMH for orthopaedic surgery and traumatology of the motion apparatus
  • Dr Petra Waldherr-Marty MD
    FMH for orthopaedic surgery and traumatology of the motion apparatus


The Lindenhof is a medium-sized multi-disciplinary hospital with the best infrastructure. A new €100 million surgical facility with recovery room and intensive care unit, a well-developed, state-of the-art radiology unit, and the willingness of multi-disciplinary specialists to intervene immediately if necessary guarantee optimal treatment procedures. The treatment team has the necessary experience: with 1200–1300 new patients and 500–600 procedures per year, the Shoulder Centre of Dr R. Hertel is one of the largest private shoulder surgical providers in Switzerland.


Bern Train Station 3 km
Bern Airport 22 km
Zürich Airport 127 km
Geneva Airport 154 km

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Prof Dr Ralph Hertel
Practice owner

Director of Shoulder & Elbow Centre
Bremgartenstrasse 117, CH-3012 Bern

T: +41 31 511 83 36
F: +41 31 318 81 81


8:00 am – 1:00 pm and 2:00 – 5:00 pm

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