Pioneering endoscopic spine surgery

Richard Wolf has long been the leader in pioneering full-endoscopic spine surgery with the development of specialized instrumentation and standardized techniques, coupled with enabling technologies such as high resolution endoscopes and HD imaging systems.    

“Minimally invasive” has been the accepted trend in spine surgery for years, with the greatest challenge always being the visualization of the anatomy through ever shrinking incisions.  One incarnation of MIS spine surgery employs a tubular retractor in conjunction with various imaging modalities, including loupes, microscope and in some cases a small endoscope on the periphery of the tube. 

The next major step forward in MIS spine surgery occurred with the availability of an endoscope containing an integrated working channel.  This modern spine endoscope design allows instruments to pass through the body of the endoscope in immediate proximity to a high definition rod lens optic system. In 1998, Richard Wolf, in collaboration with Dr. Anthony Yeung, released a working channel endoscope with associated instruments and clearly defined techniques that represented the first comprehensive system for spine endoscopy: the YESS system. In subsequent years,

Dr. Sebastian Ruetten and his colleagues expanded the full-endoscopic concept with the development of new surgical approaches and specialized instrumentation, standardized techniques, clinical studies*, and educational programs.


(* citations available upon request)



The RIWOspine education program offers excellent opportunities to learn more about full-endoscopic techniques for spine surgery and interventional percutaneous spine pain therapy.

The program is a comprehensive training concept, consisting of different modules that progress physicians toward successful implementation of these innovative techniques in their hospitals or surgery centers.

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