Spring Newsletter 2016 – Editorial – Georg W. Hagmüller

Review and outlook from one of the founding fathers Georg Hagmüller:

Georg Hagmüller (on the right) with Toni Meile
Georg Hagmüller (on the right) with Toni Meile

On the occasion of the 25th anniversary of VASCULAR INTERNATIONAL, the executive board with Afshin Assadian, Vienna, Hans-Henning Eckstein, Munich, Lorenz Gürke, Basel, Hanspeter Kiser, Fürigen (Chairman of the Board), Klaus Klemm, Stuttgart, Toni Meile, Grabs, Jürg Schmidli, Bern (President of the Board of Trustees), and Hardy Schumacher, Zurich, invited their guests to a gala dinner at the magnificent banquet hall at Hotel Kronenhof in Pontresina, Switzerland.


Numerous European employees and tutors (John Wolfe, London; Peter Lamont, Bristol; Jonathan Beard, Sheffield and many more) attended the dinner. The three founding fathers, Jens Allenberg, Georg Hagmüller and Jon Largadièr, were also present and honoured for the idea of teaching vascular surgery on lifelike models.

Jens Allenberg, who was unfortunately unable to attend, was broadcast via skype all evening. The event was hosted by famous Swiss actor Hanspeter Müller-Drossart.


In 1990, the birth of our teaching methods was heralded in Zermatt as “Zermatt Vascular” premiered. From this point to today’s perfection of the teaching models used by VI, there was a long way of detail work and development by experts of model-making, plastics technology and imaging techniques.

Because of the better infrastructure and accessibility for the participants, the courses were transferred to Pontresina, Engadin, in January 2000. Surgeons from all over the world attend our basic course and “Masterclass”, tutors from all over Europe teach 60 to 80 participants every January during the “Pontresina vascular surgical course”, which is known all over the world. Our technical equipment was initially modest, but our enthusiasm was as big as today.

We first trained on table models with calf arteries and veins made from stripped varicose legs. Shortly after that, the plastic leg was designed at the Anatomic Institute Zurich, which enabled us to train vascular surgical skills and operation methods in the strip region, the popliteral and crural artery segments on nearly life-like models.

The model development has always been and still is one of our most urgent endeavors. The first climax of this development process was the abdomen model for abdominal aorta surgery with aortic replacement of the aneurysm or occlusive aortic-iliacal diseases and is still unsurpassed in terms of abdomen models with exchangeable silicon aortic and pulsatile flow. At the same time, new models for endovascular procedures on the thoracic and abdominal aorta were developed and used.

The last development I was personally involved in was a life-like head model for training surgical interventions on the carotid bifurcation.

Every training intervention is checked by a tutor team from all over Europe and every operation step is broadcast live from the tutor desk. The latest theoretical considerations as well as each technical progress are presented and discussed in daily workshops.

Personally, it was a great and very emotional experience to attend the anniversary of this important part of my professional life in this festive scope.

In 2009, we, the three founding fathers, handed over VASCULAR INTERNATIONAL to the present executive board, which even includes some of our former students.


It was a pleasure and an honour.

Georg W. Hagmüller


Emeritus Executive Board, Vascular Surgery, Wilhelminenspital Vienna


Read the Spring Newsletter 2016