Since the launch of the Fisch International Microsurgery Foundation (FIMF) in 1990 (?), three generations of teachers have established the Zurich Otology and Skull Base Surgery School which has gained large international reputation. Throughout the years, numbers of surgeons from all over the world have visited us, to learn the principles and techniques of procedures that we have developed. Many of these doctors have established their own microsurgical units. The Fisch International Microsurgery Foundation (FIMF) promotes the exchange of information and teaching material among these various microsurgical centres.
- Production of multimedia documents of microsurgical
procedures for teaching and research purposes - Distribution of teaching material in microsurgery
to a network of international teaching and research centres
- Promotion of exchange of information and
establishing common teaching and research
programmes among the associated centres
Organization of practical courses in Otology and Skull Base Surgery
Provision of training fellowships
Distribution of microsurgical video tapes to associated centres
The FIMF organizes practical courses in "Microsurgery of the Temporal Bone and the Skull Base" on an annual basis in Zurich and Lucerne.
The Fisch International Microsurgery Foundation offers a three-months training fellowship at the ENT Department of the Kantonsspital Luzern (Head Prof. Thomas Linder). The FIMF provides free housing in Lucerne but is unable to pay for travel expenses or any additional costs during the stay in Switzerland. The fellows are welcome to observe in the OR, use the ENT library, the video-room and the temporal bone laboratory (under supervision of Prof. Th. Linder and Prof. A. Huber).
The three-months fellowship program takes place in Lucerne in cooperation with the ENT Clinic in Zurich.
Candidates should send their CV with a photograph and a letter of recommendation.
Associated Centres follow the FIMF philosophy and add new developments of the Fisch microsurgical techniques through:
Practical courses which are held annually in Lucerne or Zurich (January, June, and July)
Practical FIMF courses organized by each division in its own country
Teaching 3D-video tapes are available through membership of the FIMF Video Library
Associated centres may propose the names of capable young microsurgeons for a three-months fellowship at the ENT Department, Kantonsspital Luzern (Prof. Th. Linder).
One of the greatest surgeons of our time, the main founder and mentor of modern otoneurology and lateral skull base microsurgery, the founder of the “International Fisch Microsurgery Foundation", the winner of the Charles Balance Medal of the British skull base surgery society, Honorary Doctor of the University of Liège (Belgium), Honorary Fellow of the American College of Surgeons, Royal College of Surgeons of England and the Royal Society of Medicine in London, the founding member und former Chairman of the European Academy of Otology & Neuro-Otolgy (EAONO), Honary Member of the Swiss ENT Association (SGORL), Former Director of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery at the University of Zurich, Professor Ugo Fisch passed away at his home in Erlenbach, Switzerland, on December 12, 2019. Borne on March 3, 1931, he was 88 years old. On December 20, 2019, his family members and former friends held a farewell ceremony at the Protestant church near his hometown.
Professor Ugo Fisch had studied during his entire professional life all the technical details of otology and lateral skull base surgery with the most advanced technical means at that time. His family confirmed that there was almost no single day that he did not spend time on weekends or during vacations to make drawings for this books or papers, thinking of new ideas or reviewing papers written by himself or staff members. Following his residency training under the guidance of Luzius Rüedi in Zürich, he performed research in Baltimore, visited multiple times the House Ear Institute in Los Angeles and worked closely with Prof. Gazi Yasargil, the chairman of neurosurgery in Zürich as well as Prof. Anton Valavanis, the chairman of (interventional) neuroradiology in Zürich to understand and appreciate the difficulties and challenges of advanced otology and how to approach intra- as well as extradural lesions at the skull base, which were previously considered inoperable or did have a high morbidity or even mortality. Inventing the concept of subtotal petrosectomy, in 1967 he resolved the middle ear cleft as a potential danger to the subarachnoid space, as it has been mentioned by Charles Balance at the beginning of last century when dealing with CSF leaks. He also developed new concepts in middle ear surgery, including tympanoplasty techniques, mastoidectomy, stapes surgery and all types of ossiculoplasties and continuously evaluated and published his own results. He has developed and improved more than 30 types of surgical instruments with excellent performance and specially designed for otology and lateral skull base surgery. He worked very closely with the initial dental drill company (BienAir) and continuously improved the drills for temporal bone surgery, he worked with Swiss Airspace companies in the development of surgical microscopes being better balanced, operating tables rolling smoothly with the head at their center and the surgeon’s chair moving with ease by electric and not mechanical force. Initially with Leibinger company and later in close collaboration with Storz and Kurz, he invented the Fisch series of ossicular prosthesis based on the characteristics of acoustic conduction and vibration. It had formed a Fisch Surgical Technique Philosophy with distinct ideas and technical characteristics. He and his team have treated a large number of patients, especially those considered inoperable at that time. Due to its stable surgical results, repeatability and safety, Fisch instruments and prosthesis are still widely used by the otolaryngologists and neurosurgeons worldwide. Some of the technical aspects may change over time with the development of minimal invasive techniques and progress of equipment and instruments related to newer engineering technology. However, these new ideas have to stand the test to outperform the surgical philosophy contained in the Fisch philosophy and techniques and over 300 articles.
Professor Ugo Fisch established the Zurich temporal bone and lateral skull base surgery training courses almost 30 years ago and invented the recording and presentation of 3D clinical and teaching videos at a time when almost no one was interested in 3D for medical purpose. His idea was always to teach in small classes step by step, providing surgeon’s guidelines and manuscripts, books with lots of drawings highlighting every detail and to ensure that the tutors at his courses were enthusiastic sharing their own experience and teaching the younger participants. He personally lectured 25 training courses before he handed them over to Prof. Thomas Linder, one of his scholars.. The colleagues who have participated in the courses were all touched by Professor Fisch’s responsible attitude and working enthusiasm for 10 hours in a row. His two main surgery books, 《microsurgery of the skull base》 and 《tympanoplasty, mastoidectomy and stages surgery》, explain the key points of each operation step by step with an amazing accuracy and detailed surgical drawings. In 1998, he established the website www.fimf.ch and posted a large number of anatomical and clinical surgical videos free of charge and discussed current clinical cases with members of the FIMF family. Thousands of doctors from all over the world have received direct guidance from Professor Fisch, either during his active time at the University of Zürich, later in Luzern or by providing an ongoing 3 months training fellowship in Luzern since 2005. At the same time, FIMF training branches have been established in China, Brazil, the United States, South Africa and other countries. All these efforts have greatly reduced the learning difficulties, making the Fisch Surgical Technique System a technology that can be mastered and repeated by ordinary doctors, irrespective if they provide surgeries in well developed or poorly equipped third world countries throughout the world
Professor Fisch had a very noble and determined personality, which enabled him to gather the best equipment resources at that time, organize the best surgical team including residents and fellows, anesthesiologists, nurses, engineers and researchers at the University of Zurich, unite his colleagues in the Neurosurgery and Neuroradiology departments such as Prof. Yasragil and Prof. Valavanis to carry out multi-disciplinary cooperation or to define the proper responsibilities between the temporal bone surgeon and neurosurgeon in an effort to provide the best treatment to all patients at the University of Zurich hospital. Since 1970, Professor Fisch has been the director of Otolaryngology Department of University of Zurich hospital for 30 years; in 1970, the first European annual conference on internal auditory tract microsurgery, led by Ugo Fisch and participated by William house, was held in Zurich. In 1988, the first International congress of skull base microsurgery was held in Zurich and Ugo Fisch, M. Gazi Yasargil and Anton Valavanis established the International Skull Base Association. After his retirement from the University he joined Prof. Daniel Simmen and Hansruedi Briner at the Hirslanden-Center in Zürich and also collaborated with Prof. Thomas Linder in Luzern seeking to help patients for many more years. Professor Fisch’s outstanding work made the University of Zurich the center of neuro-otology and skull base surgery in the world at that time and the current Chairman, Prof. Alexander Huber is one of his previous student’s as there are many more chairpersons worldwide who had engaged with Prof. Fisch during his active time. A large number of colleagues and even patients contacted with him still after his retirement, asked for advice and were impressed by his fast and serious reply to every email. This habit has been maintained until one month before his death.
Professor Fisch was always very friendly to Chinese surgeons. Since the first Chinese fellows, Dr. Jincheng Zhao and Zhengmin Wang went to Zürich in the 1980s, many more Chinese otologists came to study in Zurich and Luzern supported by the FIMF foundation. Most of them have grown up to be the backbone of otology and skull surgery in China. Professor Fisch and his successor, Prof. Thomas Linder, have also visited China many times. Up to now, many universities and hospitals in China have maintained good cooperative relations with Zurich University and Luzern state hospital. FIMF has established many training centers in Shanghai, Jinan, Beijing, Weifang, Shenzhen and other places. In 2014, Professor Fisch was announced as an honorary professor of Peking Union Medical College, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences.
Professor Ugo Fisch’s death is a great loss to the world’s otoneurology and skull base surgery circle. We have lost a great mentor, sincere colleagues and dear friend. Doctors and academic organizations around the world have spontaneously organized various forms of memorial activities. His great achievements and noble personality are always worthy of our remembrance and always inspire us to meditate on the subject, perfect the surgical techniques and care for patients.
Professor Ugo Fisch’s spirit lasts forever!
Edited by Guodong Feng, Peking, China and Thomas Linder, Luzern, Switzerland
Being a non-profitable organisation, FIMF is entirely supported by private funds, and is grateful for any contribution in favour of its work.
Contributions may be sent to the following address:
Fisch-Internationale Stiftung für Mikrochirurgie
Züricher Kantonalbank, Bahnhofstrasse 9, Postfach, 8010 Zürich
IBAN: CH31 0070 0114 5000 4044 6
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us. We are looking forward to your message.