Rainer Gruessner’s Worldly Medical Perspective Pays Off

Rainer Gruessner has traveled the world in search of cures to various illnesses that plague millions worldwide. Beginning his pursuit with a medical degree at the Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz, Germany, in 1976, Dr. Gruessner has worked with surgeons around the world to improve the quality of life for his patients.

After completing his Professorial Thesis at The Philipp University of Marburg, Germany, in 1991, Dr. Gruessner returned to the United States to serve as an Assistant Professor of Surgery at the University of Minnesota. There, over time, he mentored over 25 surgical fellows in his expertise of kidney, pancreatic, intestinal and liver transplantation. During his tenure at the university, he travelled to Japan to receive additional clinical training in living donor liver transplants. In 1997, he served as Professor and Chairman of the Department of Surgery at the University Hospital of Zurich, Switzerland. He then returned to the University of Minnesota the following year to serve as the Vice-Chair of Surgery and would remain there until 2007, when he was appointed as the Chairman of Surgery at the University of Arizona in Tucson.

Dr. Gruessner’s Japanese training in liver transplantation would immediately benefit him in 1996 when he performed Minnesota’s first liver transplant from a living donor. In 2012, while at the University of Arizona, he saved the life of terminally ill toddler Aliyah N. 1-year-old Aliyah’s liver was originally unable to secrete bile, causing severe cirrhosis when she was just two-and-a-half months old. Dr. Gruessner was able to use a small portion of the liver of Aliyah’s mother to save her daughter’s life. The innovative procedure was responsible for giving young Aliyah another chance at life, and Rainer Gruessner’s hope of curing terminal illness lives on. Two years later, Aliyah continues to do well.