Founding Pioneer of VR Surgery visits Vitreq

27 January, 16

In December, Vitreq was honored to welcome Dr. Relja Zivojnoviç, one of the world’s founding pioneers in VR surgery, as a visitor to its new premises.

In December, Vitreq was honored to welcome Dr. Relja Zivojnoviç, one of the world’s founding pioneers in VR surgery, as a visitor to its new premises.

Now 84 years old, Dr. Relja Zivojnoviç, has dedicated his career to advancing VR surgery in the posterior segment of the eye. He has spent many years honing his expertise at Rotterdam Eye Hospital in the Netherlands and established the Netherlands’ first department for retinal surgery, which was also one of the first in Europe. In the late 1970s, Dr. Zivojnoviç pioneered the use of silicon oil in complex VR surgery cases with badly-scarred or damaged retinas, by introducing a combination of a new technique of retinal repair surgery and silicone oil with bimanual pars plana vitrectomy. During his time in the Rotterdam Eye Hospital he has also invented together with Mr. Ger Vijfvinkel a great number of surgical instruments and systems, including silicone oil injection/extraction devices, retinal brushes and soft tip cannula's, backflush instruments, end-gripping forceps, curved forceps and scissors etc.for advanced VR surgery. Dr. Zivojnoviç has taught VR surgery all over the world, and has been the recipient of many prestigious awards. In 1984, he established the R. Zivojnoviç Foundation for advanced VR surgery to encourage and stimulate young VR surgeons to excel.

Dr. Zivojnoviç toured Vitreq’s new offices and factory during his visit, and was very interested to learn more about the philosophy of the new company and its focus on innovation. Comparing today’s surgical instruments with those of the past, he concluded that there are still many basic similarities, with developments that support more effectiveness and minimal invasive techniques.

He was delighted that Vitreq will help continue his work to make complex surgery more accessible for VR surgeons globally and encouraged Vitreq to continue focusing on addressing the imperfections of today’s VR surgery to find more innovations that make surgery more effective, also for almost inoperable eyes.

“Seemingly small improvements can make a world of difference,” he said. “There is a big difference between blindness, in which the patient needs extended support during their daily life, and the case of minimal vision, in which the patient can be for a big part self-supporting.”