Prof. Dr. Juergen Toft is a knee surgeon practising in Munich, Germany and a Professor at the University of Milan in Milan, Italy.
Toft was born on 4 May 1943 in East Berlin where he grew up as the only child of Herbert Toft and Erna Toft. He studied medicine at Humboldt University of Berlin from 1965 to 1971. From 1971 to 1972 he served as an assistant researcher at the Berlin Institute of Industrial Medicine.
In 1972 he escaped to West Germany where he started his postgraduate training as an Orthopedic surgery at Biberach an der Riß. Following further training in Tailfingen and Ratingen, as well as in the U.S. (ECFMG in 1975), he obtained board certification as an orthopedic surgeon in 1976. In the same year he completed his doctoral thesis at the Saarland University and accepted a post as an orthopedic consultant at the municipal hospital of Ingolstadt. In 1980 he moved to North Rhine-Westphalia where he joined the medical team of the Fabricius Klinik in Remscheid, Germany's largest orthopedic hospital run by consultants, specialising in arthroscopic knee surgery and becoming one of the pioneers in Germany.
When he founded Germany's first outpatient knee surgery center in Munich in 1984, he had 600 patients on his waiting list in Remscheid scheduled for arthroscopic knee surgery. In 1989 he recruited the Dutch spine specialist, Dr. Thomas Hoogland, to join him and in 2000 another spine surgeon, Horst Dekkers, joined what had now expanded and been renamed in 1997 as the Alpha Klinik. After gaining international recognition with 50,000 surgical patients from 70 countries, the Alpha Klinik was brought down by media coverage on one of its spine surgeons, Horst Dekkers, who was faced with charges of malpractice. These media reports created the impression that the entire Alpha Klinik was under accusation, although neither Dr. Hoogland nor Prof. Toft had anything to do with that affair. After Drs. Dekker's dismissal and patients being scared away from Alpha Klinik, it was impossible for the remaining two surgeons to keep the hospital going and on August 1, 2008, insolvency was declared and the institution taken over by another hospital, in spite of its excellent reputation at home and abroad. As a consequence of these events, Toft founded his own Knee Center in the summer of 2008, known as Professor Toft Knee Center. He now serves as a consultant knee surgeon at the Starmed Klinik, a nearby and very modern private hospital.
Prof. Toft has made his name in two areas. The first is the arthroscopic replacement of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) which he was first to perform in Europe in 1983, thus instituting a revolution in cruciate ligament surgery. The other highlight in his work is abrasion arthroplasty, a technique introduced by his teacher, Professor Lanny L. Johnson of the Michigan State University in Lansing, which Prof. Toft has developed into a very useful tool for "regeneration" of severely arthritic knee joints in order to prevent knee replacement surgery. In recognition of these developments Prof. Toft was offered a professorship at the University of Milan in 2005. Together with Prof. Walter Pascale of the University of Milan, Prof. Toft founded the International Association for Biologic Joint Reconstruction in Munich in October 2006.
In Germany Prof. Toft has become known through numerous television interviews as well as newspaper and magazine articles. In 2003 TIME magazine highlighted his abrasion technique as the new hope for arthritis patients. His patients include world-famous personalities from the realms of politics, sports and business.
Knee Arthritis Herbig, January 1999 ISBN 3-00-006520-2