Fellowship Testimonials

IGASS short-term Fellowship

made possible with the grant of :


December 2016

Rigshospitalet - The National University Hospital, Copenhagen, Denmark

First of all, I would like to thank the IGASS execom for selecting me for the fellowship. Working as a fellow at a IGASS host center in Chennai, India, I wished to apply and participate in the IGASS fellowship program which has an objective to allow promising young surgeons to interact with experts across the world and expand their knowledge and expertise.

I was offered at the center of my preference, Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen under the mentorship of Prof Martin Gehrchen. The referral center with over 1000 beds is Denmark’s leading hospital providing highly specialized care. I was welcomed by Prof Benny Dahl on my first day and introduced to the whole team. The spine team is comprised of orthopedic and neurosurgeons who work in close collaboration with the department of Orthopedics.

My day would start with attending the daily trauma meeting at 0750 followed by spine meeting where a virtual ward round and scheduling the day’s surgeries was done. This was followed by the radiology meet where scan images of patients referred from other centres were discussed. I should appreciate the effort of all team members who made sure they translated the case details to me in english as all documentation were usually in danish. I learnt a lot on decision making and planning for surgery during these meets.

I started scrubbing up for cases right from the first day and enjoyed assisting Prof Benny in adolescent scoliosis cases. I was mostly involved in assisting adult spine deformity corrections and en bloc ‘Tomita’ tumor resections with Dr Lars, an excellent surgeon who would make even the most complicated step in the surgery look easy. Considering the limited exposure to these cases in my practice, I thoroughly enjoyed them. I got opportunity to assist emergency trauma and decompressions in the night and Prof Martin was so kind to drop me back to my hotel once the case was over. Another new exposure to me was insertion of screws using O-arm navigation guidance.

Throughout the 4 weeks of my stay there, I was inspired by the amazing confidence of the young spine surgeons – Robert, Thomas and Viola and the committment and dedication of the seniors – Benny, Martin and Anders. All of them made their best effort to keep me occupied and teach me the tips and tricks of the trade.

Stay in Copenhagen was great. Its a colorful and vibrant place. My hotel was right across the lakes and morning walk to the hospital along the waters was refreshing. I had time to visit the palaces in the city and go around other landmarks. I even visited Sweden on a weekend.

My report would be incomplete without appreciating the efforts of Anke. From the time of selection for the fellowship till my arrival back in India, she made sure everything went on perfectly well and was in constant touch through whatsapp. The whole program including my stay and schedule was so well structured by Anke that I had no problems at any point of time. Thank you for the excellent coordination Anke, you are an asset to IGASS.

I thank Prof Martin and IGASS for the fellowship and hope to continue my association with the organization in the future.

Dr Pramod Sudarshan



November 2016

CMCR des Massues, Lyon, France

I was really happy when i got my IGASS fellowship.

It was an excellent opportunity for me to learn from the best in business Prof Roussouly, about whom we had been reading in books and papers.

Prof Roussouly is a very humble man and a great teacher. I could learn about his concept of spinopelvic balance and was able to attend his clinics and could assist him in theatre.

I learnt about various anterior approaches like OLIF and ALIF which i am sure are going to help me in my practice back at my home.

I will like to thank Prof Roussouly and his team in particular Dr Silvester, Dr Alice, Dr Sassi and my cofellows who made my fellowship a memorble one.

Dr. Rajat Mahajan


July 2016

Klinikum rechts der Isar, Technical University of Munich, Department of Neurosurgery, Munich, Germany

Dear Anke,

Thanks a lot to IGASS – Medtronics for giving such a wonderful opportunity. This fellowship helped me a lot in my professional as well as personal development.

Stay at Hotel Monaco was great. It is a small, tidy and nice hotel with very helpful staff. Hotel is just in the center of city and near to railway station. It was very handy to travel to Hospital from the hotel. It gave me a homely feeling at Munich.

Hospital environment was decent. Due to language problem, I had bit difficulty in conversation with hospital staff as I don’t know German language. All consultants were friendly and a good teacher. I had a good discussion regarding my quarries with them.

Thanks a lot again..


Denishkumar Makadia.


December 2014

Guy's and St. Thomas Hospital, London, UK

I had a wonderful learning experience with Dr Khai S Lam, at Guy's and St Thomas' Hospital, London, UK.

Over a period of one month, I got to see lot many new minimally invasive surgical (MIS) procedures, including Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion (ALIF), Extreme Lateral Interbody Fusion (XLIF) and many other spinal surgeries.

The experience of the surgical staff in handling all kinds of spinal pathologies was commendable. I attended the Multi-Disciplinary Meetings held on weekdays, and they helped a lot in strengthening my in-depth knowledge of the subject.

I got to scrub in operation theatres quite often, and had a rewarding first hand surgical experience. The behavior of the supporting staff was very good and they never let me feel away from home.

The stay arranged by the IGASS forum was wonderful, right in central London and was just five minutes walk from the hospital premises. In my free time in the evenings and on weekends, I enjoyed roaming around in London and got to see lots of fantastic places there.

Overall, my IGASS Fellowship conducted at Guy's and St Thomas' Hospital, London was a wonderful learning surgical exercise and it will definitely help me a lot in my future endeavors of Minimally Invasive Spine.

I am really grateful to Anke Huber, the Coordinator and the IGASS Team for organising such a fantastic fellowship program. 

Dr. Harsimrat Bir Singh Sodhi, Punjab, India


November 2014

Polyclinique Du Parc, Toulouse, France

In my 4 weeks experience in Polyclinique Du Parc, Toulouse, I was able to participated in lot of spine surgeries that gave me the opportunity to observed all kinds of spine afflictions. I was able to understand and learn complex spine surgeries. I was allow to understand sagittal alignment issues and treatment strategies; how to deal with  simple and complex cases of sagittal balance disorders. 

I´m very grateful to the Polyclinique Du Parc for receiving me in the Institution, and Dr. Charosky for giving me the chance to learn from his experience, and for his disposition to teach. I do not want to overlook Dr. Charosky´s team positive attitude with me.

Also, I want to thank IGASS and IGASS Coordinator Anke Huber Jerome for giving me this opportunity.

Dr Ignacio Yaven, Buenos Aires, Argentina


Sahlgrenska University Hospital, Department of Orthopedics, Göteborg, Sweden

I had a perfect organized, two weeks, spine fellow ship in Gothenborg, Sweden.

Since my application for this fellow ship and commitment, I had a very professional prearrangement. Igass organized my desired period of time and my accomodation. I only had to arrange my flight.

The hotel was recently renovated, only 15 minutes away from the hospital and only 25 minutes from city center, by walk. I had a large double room for single use, breakfast included.

Igass even donated a daily grant. Since my arrival, everything was well organized. Monday morning, the secretary picked me up in the main entrance and introduced me to my host, Prof. Hedlund. He was very friendly and funny. The every morning clinical conferences were held in perfect english. All cases were discussed and well introduced. I could select my surgical cases.

The whole team was very friendly, not only the surgeons, but also the entire staff. As promised, I took an active part during the operations. The spine center treats the entire spectrum of spinal disorders, trauma as well as degenerative and deformity. So, the fellow will see everything. Unfortunately, I only had a short period of two weeks. Time was running so fast. Besides the clinical education, I had enough time to get to know the beautiful city of Gothenborg.There are a lot of bars, pubs and clubs.

In summary I was very happy to perform this fellow ship in sweden. I definetely will recommend Prof. Hedlund and the entire team of the department of orthopedics of Sahlgrenska University hospital in Gothenborg.

Dr Mathias Spalteholz, Leipzig, Germany

April 2014

I have returned home to Delhi, after completing the 4 weeks IGASS fellowship at ISC, Istanbul.
I am very happy with the fellowship program with Prof. Azmi Hamzaoglu. 
It was a great learning experience and the whole team at ISC was very helpful and cordial.
The volume of spine surgeries at ISC is extremely high an it gives an excellent opportunity for fellows to observe all kinds of spine afflictions.
Prof Azmi is a wonderful person and an enthusiastic  teacher, and he takes great care to interact with the fellows.
Overall I found that ISC is a very good center for this fellowship program, and I would rate it among the best.

The whole team at ISC is also very hospitable and kind.

I thank the IGASS for giving me this great opportunity.

M.S. (Orth), M.B.B.S.,
M.R.C.S. ( U.K.)
Additional Professor -Orthopaedics
A.I.I.M.S., New Delhi.

2 weeks IGASS Fellowship program

... with the help of a few well-wishers I was able to arrange a training programme in Spine Surgery at the Group Hospital Pellegrin, Bordeaux, France under Prof. Jean Marc Vital. I would like to thank the International Group for Advancement of Spine Surgery (IGASS) for its help in identifying this spinal centre for my fellowship training. My special thanks to Anke Huber-Jerome, Co-ordinator, IGASS for meticulously arranging the training programme.

I was able to observe the following spinal surgeries which were very useful in furthering my knowledge in spinal surgery

  • Cervical disc replacement for cervical disc disease
  • Surgical decompression for degenerative spinal stenosis,
  • Lumbar micro discectomy,
  • Transoral odantoid biopsy,
  • Anterior cervical fusion,
  • Lateral mass stabilization –cervical spine,
  • Anterior deformity correction for scoliosis,
  • Posterior deformity correction for dorsolumbar scoliosis.
  • Spinal tumour surgeries.

In all my fellowship visit to Bordeaux, France was very memorable both academically and in experience.

Associate Professor of Spine Surgery,
Madras Medical College, Chennai 600003, India.


1 month IGASS Fellowship program

... the offer through IGASS, to visit some of the reputed spine centers in Europe was irresistible. The final push to go ahead, came in the form of the wonderful organizational work and coordination by the IGASS office, to whom I am very grateful.

The work schedule during two weeks in Bordeaux with Prof. Jean-Marc Vital was quite busy and interesting. During this period, I had the opportunity to watch some interesting surgeries like odontoid fixation, C1-C2 posterior stabilization, revision for pseudoarthrosis in scoliosis and numerous cases of TLIF / PLF for degenerative disease of the LS spine. My surgical armamentarium has been enhanced by the exposure to Dr. Pointillart’s anterior approach to the cervico-thoracic junction, which I observe at this center.

At the Guy’s and St Thomas’s hospital in London, Mr. Khai Lam was an amazing host and he had stream-lined all aspects of my visit. He had arranged for me to spend time with the senior spine consultant Mr. Johnathan Lucas, with whom I attended a clinical meet at the Queens Park National Center for Neurology and Neurosurgery. I also was allowed to actively participate in Mr. Lucas’s Scoliosis clinic at the Evelina Children’s Hospital, where I could see the entire gamut of scoliosis cases – predominantly neuromuscular scoliosis.

…third leg of my trip was at the Charite Hospital, in Berlin, where I spent a week with Dr. Putzier and his team. I assisted in a wide variety of cases like: a 4 level ACDF without plating for a spondylotic Myelopathy; ALIF; and hemi-vertebrectomy for congenital scoliosis. An interesting learning experience at this center was the augmentation of a pedicle screw with PMMA in osteoporotic bone, about which I had read and heard about and Dr Putzier gave a very good demonstration of the technique.

… at the Institut Calot, in Berck-sur–Mer, France with Dr Daniel Chopin I got the opportunity to watch an in-situ fixation for a spondyloptosis L5-S1, with the addition of iliac screws, and another case of revision scoliosis.

On the whole, the entire programme was a very good learning experience for a young surgeon like me. It gave me a good exposure to the happenings outside my country, the work culture, and their thought processes. It also exposed me to the latest developments in technology in terms of instrumentation, the use of BMP and hospital infra-structure.

Dr. K. Narayana Acharya
Consultant Spine Specialist,
Dwaraka Institute of Spine Care, BMA Road, Gandhinagar,
Bellary – 583013 Karnataka, India


1 month IGASS Fellowship program

... fulfilled in the CHU of Bordeaux, I attended the Prof. Vital's activities, where I acquired interesting concepts of the dynamical stabilization for lumbar spine, cervical discopathies treated with disc prosthesis, and the new trans spinous approach for lumbar economic decompression, previously described for Japanese authors.
I am grateful for the Vital Prof and his team for his disposition to teach, and to the IGASS, specially Dr Chopin and the IGASS Coordinator Ms. Anke Huber, for the possibility of this fellowship.

Dr. Santiago Balderrama, Spine surgeon, Argentina


6 months IGASS Fellowship program

I was granted a 6 month Clinical Fellowship with Prof.Rune Hedlund,at the Department of Spine Surgery,Sahlgrenska University Hospital, Gothenburg,Sweden, from 1-FEB-2012 to 31-july 2012.This is where well known Spine Surgeon Prof.Nechemson was working. This is the biggest teritiary care centre in this region. The Spine centre I was working is one of the biggest center for Spinal disorders in Sweden. All kinds of Spinal disorders are treated here. They see around 5000 out patients every year and around 1000 spinal surgeries.

My daily routine starts at 7:30AM in the morning. Each morning we have different kind of meetings starting from ward briefing, problem conferences, planning surgery, radiology and case discussions, followed by operations every day.

It is an honour working with Prof. Rune and his team as I was able to understand and learn complex spine surgeries. I was involved in  multiple operations with complex spinal surgeries. I spent around  250 hours assisting such surgeries. What impressed me is the methodical thinking as well as the innovative and advanced operative techniques of the team. I mainly concentrated on deformities and revision spinal surgeries. I was given an opportunity to do a retrospective study, which I was never exposed to before.

And last but not the least I made some wonderful friends and well wishers I will never forget in my life time.

I Thank Prof. Rune for giving me this opportunity and this gives me lot of knowledge and confidence in treating complex and complicated Spinal Disorders.

Feel free to contact me for further information:
Dr.Vamsi.K.Varma, Spine Surgeon, India


January 2014

With a grant from Zimmer GmbH, IGASS supported 2 Medium-term Fellowships during 2013.

The IGASS – ZIMMER Fellowship program is reserved for young surgeons from Europe, Middle East and Africa who strongly wish to enlarge and improve their knowledge and competencies in spine surgery. These fellowships allows the candidates to visit highly qualified teaching surgeons and recognized spine centers of IGASS for 7 months duration.

Monika Horanin, MD, Poland - report , poster

Corrado Lucantoni, MD, Italy - report , poster