It is with deep sadness that we have learned of the passing of Prof. em. Dr. Alfred Karl Maria Berger, who died in October 2022 after a fulfilled life. With his passing, we are losing a pioneer of plastic surgery in Europe.
Alfred Berger completed his medical studies in Graz and, from 1966 to 1980, worked as a senior doctor under Professor Hanno Millesi at the Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery of the Department of Surgery at Vienna General Hospital. After spending international placements in Boston and completing his habilitation in Vienna, he was appointed full professor at the Department of Plastic, Hand and Reconstructive Surgery of Hanover Medical School in 1981. He continued to work there until 2000 as a dedicated and prudent clinic director, teacher and author of numerous standard works in plastic surgery.
Professor Berger was instrumental in the professional development of the discipline. When Alfred Berger was appointed president of the then Association of German Plastic Surgeons in 1988, Europe was about to enter a new epoch. In the three years of his presidency, he managed to lay the foundations for the standardisation of plastic surgery training in Europe. When it came to demarcating plastic surgery from neighbouring surgical disciplines, he applied sensitive diplomacy and used his good negotiating skills to successfully claim hand surgery and burn medicine for the specialty.
In 2006, he was awarded the Dieffenbach Medal by the DGPRÄC for his achievements in microsurgery. In 2011, the German Society for Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery awarded him honorary membership for all his political commitment to the profession.
We will always remember Alfred Berger as a kind and amiable colleague. We would particularly like to express our condolences to his family.
Department of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery